Just some random thoughts on and questions about twins and Shakespeare:
Often, the philosophical or emotional situation of a comedy will move like an example of anti-entropy: from chaos to order, from sadness to happiness, from separation to marriage. Twelfth Night is no different. But looking at it through this perspective, I’m noticing that there is quite a bit of foreshadowing of future happiness, of future order, and re-birth.
We should not be surprised that there are a boatload of death terms used in Twelfth Night (death, dead, dying, etc.). But I was surprised by the birth references sprinkled throughout the piece:
[PART TWO OF OUR EXPLICIT CONTENT AHEAD… SKIP IF EASILY OFFENDED
Eric Partridge called Twelfth Night “the cleanest comedy except A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (Shakespeare’s Bawdy, Partridge, Eric. New York: Routledge Classics, 2001; page 57), as we saw yesterday, not exactly…]
As is my modus operandi, with every play, I like to take a little dive into that dirty little pool called bawdy… yesterday, we got our waders on and headed into Twelfth Night… today, let’s go a little deeper, a little harder, a little faster, and have a little bawdy thrust upon us…
(see what I did there?)
[EXPLICIT CONTENT AHEAD… SKIP IF EASILY OFFENDED
OK, let’s start off by saying that despite Eric Partridge calling Twelfth Night “the cleanest comedy except A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (Shakespeare’s Bawdy, Partridge, Eric. New York: Routledge Classics, 2001; page 57), the play is not completely clean… as we shall see…]
As is my modus operandi, with every play, I like to take a little dive into that dirty little pool called bawdy… so get on your waders, and let’s go on into Twelfth Night…
Yesterday, I wrote some on the different forms of love in Twelfth Night, including heterosexual, homosexual, and self-love. I ended the post with a quote from the old Seinfeld television series: “Not that there’s anything wrong with that,” which was used when the characters would talk about gay issues. I meant it as a snarky joke to cap the discussion yesterday, but it got me thinking:
Is there anything wrong within the world of the play in regards to these transgressive desires?
Short answer: no.
Ask the person on the street what type of play Twelfth Night is, and you’ll most likely get something along the lines of “romantic comedy” (granted that street might need to be Broadway, but I’m talking a person with a reasonable level of cultural literacy). And I’d agree with that assessment.
This week’s Shakespeare news review includes the announcement of 2015 Free Shakespeare in the Park Season, a Gwich’in Midsummer, the identity of the enigmatic ‘Mr WH’ to whom the sonnets are dedicated, and Kenneth Branagh doing The Winter’s Tale in October. PLUS our usual recap of this week’s daily highlights in Shakespearean history.
As I reread Twelfth Night, I find myself asking a seemingly simple question: What is the role of fate in the play? For the sake of argument here, I’m lumping together fate/fortune/stars/time. I say “seemingly simple” because I’m seeing two layers of this “role”: there is the actual role of fate, then there is the perceived role of fate.
This week’s podcast continues our two month-long discussion of Twelfth Night, with a look at the video versions of the play that are available for your perusal.
In Act Two, Scene Three of Twelfth Night, Sir Toby asks Sir Andrew, “Does not our lives consist of the four elements?” (II.iii.9).
What does Belch mean?
The four elements are the “component part(s) of a complex whole….In ancient and mediæval philosophy these were believed to be: Earth, water, air, and fire” (“element, n.; I.1.a.” Oxford English Dictionary Online. Oxford University Press, December 2014. Web. 30 January 2015.).
(have you ever had a belch that felt like it was comprised of all four elements? only after a long night of tequila, my friends…)