Twelfth Night Plot Summary: Act Two, Scenes One through Three–Brother Lost No More, a Realization, and a Crackdown on Uncivil Rule Leads to a Scheme

As we continue our Twelfth Night plot summary, entering Act Two, we’re now taken to an Illyrian lodging where we find Antonio and Sebastian, with the former pleading with the latter not to leave. Just as Olivia just a scene earlier said that “Fate (had) show(n) (its) force” (I.v.299), Sebastian fears that staying with Antonio would adversely affect him because of the “malignancy of (Sebastian’s) fate” (II.i.4).

And what’s so bad about what’s happened to Sebastian? He tries to explain:

Antonio, my name is Sebastian, which I called Roderigo. My father was that Sebastian of Messaline whom I know you have heard of. He left behind him myself and a sister, both born in an hour. If the heavens had been pleased, would we had so ended! But you, sir, altered that, for some hour before you took me from the breach of the sea was my sister drowned.
  • II.i.15-21

Sebastian had a twin sister, and while Antonio’s ship saved Sebastian from the ocean, Sebastian’s sister drowned. Interesting. Wait. You don’t think– This couldn’t be– Maybe– Nah, too coincidental.

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Twelfth Night Plot Summary: Act One, Scene Five–Clowns, Drunkards, Cruel Self-Lovers, and Quickly Catching Plagues

As we continue our Twelfth Night plot summary, the fifth and final scene of Act One takes us back to Olivia’s estate, where the scene begins much like the earlier scene at the estate, with Maria reprimanding one of the men of the house. In this case, it’s Feste the clown who has been “absent” (I.v.3) from the home and his entertaining duties, and Olivia is not happy about it.

So much so that when Feste greets the countess, she responds, “Take the fool away” (I.v.35). Feste then uses his foolish skills (and I mean that in a good way) to show Olivia the error of her (foolish) ways: Olivia’s brother is in Heaven, so if she mourns for him, then she‘s the fool. By the end of his dissertation, her respect for his skills overrides her earlier anger, as she asks her steward, “What think you of this fool, Malvolio? Doth he not mend?” (I.v.69-70).

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Twelfth Night Plot Summary: Act One, Scenes One through Four–Lost Brothers, Lovers Never Had, and a Bromance is Kindled

If you know the rough outline of the play’s plot, you might assume that the Twelfth Night plot summary would begin with the shipwreck that strands Viola in Illyria. And you’d be wrong to make that assumption. Instead, we get a ridiculously lovesick duke and one of the most famous opening lines in Shakespeare:

If music be the food of love, play on
  • I.i.1

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Upcoming: Sweet Tea Shakespeare and The Winter’s Tale

Just want to give a little shout-out to our friends at the Shakespeare Standard, whose Editor-in-Chief, Jeremy Fiebig, is Artistic Director of Sweet Tea Shakespeare in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Sweet Tea Shakespeare will be presenting The Winter’s Tale later this month at the Capitol Encore Academy.

They open this weekend, so… Break a leg!

The Bill / Shakespeare Project presents: This Week in Shakespeare news, for the week ending Monday, January 5th, 2015

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This week’s Shakespeare news review includes Shakespeare for the Elizabethan Impaired, the Macbeth curse, Shakespeare Unrehearsed, Cook Cafe, and Suddenly Shakespeare. PLUS our usual recap of this week’s daily highlights in Shakespearean history.

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Twelfth Night: Sources

If you dig deep enough into the possible source materials that Shakespeare used for Twelfth Night, you can find a whole slew of suspects.

You want to talk twins and the confusion that can arise from mistaken identity (like The Comedy of Errors)? Check out the old Greek play, Plautus’ Menaechmi, which actually was a source of that earlier play).

If, however, you want to talk about the concept of the female disguising herself as a young male, to work for a(nother) male, who tasks her/him to plead his suit to a(nother) female, who in turn falls in love with the first female, but as the young male, who–of course–has fallen for the male who has hired her (as a him)… well, then you’ve got quite the tangle coming up.

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Podcast 91: Julius Caesar: Directorial Concept and Wrap-Up

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This week’s podcast concludes our two month-long discussion of Julius Caesar, with a directorial concept, the winner of a contest, and a wrap-up of the play.

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A quick infographic

I know, I know… I should be reading Twelfth Night.

But you know me, always playing around the work.

So here’s my latest plaything, an infographic that visually represents the Collected Works of Shakespeare. Each pixel of the full size version represents a line of text. The histories are in shades of purple (royalty, baby), comedies in green (verdant), poems in yellow (no reason), tragedies in red (duh), problem plays in brown (murky, like their genre classification), and tragicomedies in blue (again, no reason, just a vibe).

Rectangle Tree chart of the Collected Works of Shakespeare, presented by the Bill / Shakespeare Project
Rectangle Tree chart of the Collected Works of Shakespeare, presented by the Bill / Shakespeare Project [updated with info supplied by William Sutton]
Enjoy!

UPDATE–1/4/15:
A shout-out and thanks to William Sutton, who gave me some information re: the sonnets that changes the legend/content of the graphic.

A New Year, A New Month, A New Play: Twelfth Night

So, with a new play–Twelfth Night–comes some new stuff for you…

The YouTube Channel now has a Twelfth Night playlist, including

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Happy New Year!

On a day when most are looking forward, I’d like to glance back over my shoulder.

It’s been a good year in this relaunch of the Project. While reader- and listener-ship is not what it was before we went on our three-year hiatus, we have been on a steady growth pattern:

2014 page views
2014 page views

 

And for that, I sincerely thank each and every one of you.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed the last six months as much as I have… but we’re not done yet. Heck, we’re not even two-thirds of the way done.

So… tomorrow:

The Pelican Shakespeare - Twelfth Night
The Pelican Shakespeare – Twelfth Night

 

Twelfth Night!

(but for today, just a New Year’s Thanksgiving)