There is no evidence that Twelfth Night was especially popular in Shakespeare's day, but it is now widely seen as his greatest romantic comedy. Among its fans is the American academic Stephen Booth, who judges it to be one of the most beautiful man-made things in the world. In this short book, the distinguished Shakespearian critic David Schalkwyk argues that in Twelfth Night Shakespeare achieved an unmatched blend of erotic lyricism and festive laughter, edgy satire and romantic melancholy. With its main plot involving unrequited desire and loss of identity, and its parallel sub-plot of household jealousy and cruel gulling, it is, says Schalkwyk, as multi-faceted as any well-cut jewel.
A summary of the plot What is Twelfth Night about?
What does Twelfth Night tell us about love?
Is Orsino a “narcissistic fool”?
What makes Viola so beguiling?
What makes the scene between Olivia and Viola so powerful and moving?
What does Twelfth Night tell us about the nature of identity?
What should we make of Antonio’s relationship with Sebastian?
Why does the taunting of Malvolio make us uncomfortable?
Does Feste embody the spirit of Twelfth Night?
Who does Orsino want to kill?
Where does Shakespeare leave us at the end of Twelfth Night?
Ten facts about Twelfth Night
Death and disease
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