Literature in the Renaissance Period: An Analysis of Twelfth Night (ca. 1601) by William Shakespeare
Shakespeare, W. (2010). Twelfth Night. Broadview Press.
Initial Reaction I enjoyed reading the play Twelfth Night or What You Will by William Shakespeare. Similar to his other works, the tone was cheerful and comedic, with elements of melodrama and suspense. The setting was a mythical kingdom, Illyria, and was based on the drama surrounding a love triangle. The play climaxed when Viola, the protagonist, and Sebastian, Viola’s twin brother were reunited. Sebastian was originally thought to be dead as a result of a shipwreck. Viola who disguised herself, and initially perceived to be a man was revealed as a woman. The interesting part of the drama was the spectacle surrounding the love triangle; Viola loved Duke, Duke loved Olivia, and Olivia loved Viola, disguised as Cesario. Malvolio, the antagonist of the story and Olivia’s household Steward also loved Olivia. Although it ended well for most characters, finding their love reciprocated somehow, Malvolio was arrested. Albeit interesting dialogues among characters and their well-defined traits, I was a little confused by the mistaken identities. Also, the play was secular and had little religious relevance to Christmas, despite it being performed during the period.
The play was performed during the Renaissance period, also known as ‘the rebirth’. This period which occurred between the