– Book Report Essay, Research Paper
By William Shakespeare (1600)
VIOLA- The sister to Sebastian, young, beautiful, and nobly born.
ORSINO- Duke of Illyria, Olivia is the nominal object of his affections, but she clearly and repeatedly
states that she does not love him.
OLIVIA- A countess who resembles Orsino in several ways. Like the duke, she is
wealthy, attractive, and nobly born.
MALVOLIO- Steward to Olivia, belongs to the servant class and he firmly believes that he is better than those he serves are.
SIR TOBY BELCH- Uncle to Olivia spends every night and most days getting drunk and seems completely unconcerned with what anybody thinks of him.
SIR ANDREW AGUECHEEK- is vain and often arrogant, “naturals” fool and is entertaining in
spite of himself.
ILLYRIA- Illyria’s coast allows Viola and Sebastian to be washed ashore.
12th Night- the Twelfth Day of the Christmas seasons, a traditional time for masquerades and revels.
OLIVIA’S RESIDENCE- The central part of the story is centered on her household.
Orsino, the duke of Illyria, is helplessly in love with the Countess Olivia. She, however, refuses to return his affections, preferring instead to mourn her dead brother. A shipwreck throws a stranger, Viola, onto the shore of Illyria and into the middle of this situation. She believes her brother was drowned in the same shipwreck. She disguises herself as a boy, calls herself Cesario, and presents herself to Duke Orsino. He immediately takes a liking to this “boy” and sends “him” as a messenger to Olivia. Viola/Cesario does what
Orsino asks, but she has a problem- she has fallen in love with Orsino herself!
Symbols and References:
FESTE- symbolizes the clown or allowed fool for Olivia. He is really wise and he has a perspective that the others all lack. Feste accurately evaluates the behavior of those around him.
SHAKESPHERE’S ILLYRIA- an actual Illyria on the coast of the Adriatic. Shakespeare’s Illyria is a fairy-tale land populated with dukes, ladies, knights, and jesters. You never meet any “average” citizens.
All the characters are either nobles or servants.
The characters in Twelfth Night speak the language of love-poetry. They seem less concerned with what they have to say than with how beautifully they express it. Even the characters who speak in prose
try to choose the most beautiful image.
Many elements of theme arise with the play. Themes such as Self- Deception, Appearance verses Reality, Love Madness, and Danger of Vanity. Each dealing with the different plot functions and surrounding philosophies of the play.
1.) “O, you are sick of self-love, Malvolio, and taste with a distempered appetite.” – Olivia (Act I, ScV) Lines (90-91) She knows that Malvolio is jealous of anybody who is considered clever.
2.) “But died your sister of her love, my boy?”- Orsino (Act II, Sc IV) Line (120) seeking to prove that women cannot love as deeply as men.
3.) “You do think you are not what you are,”- Viola (Act III, Sc I) Line (141) She tells Olivia that she may think that she’s in love but really she isn’t.
4.) “Will you help- an ass-head and a coxcomb and a knave- a thin-faced knave, a gull?”- Sir Toby (Act V, Sc. I) Line (206-207) Toby is drunk and he apparently been pushed to the breaking point, because he becomes honest.
Cliff Notes/ Own personal references and knowledge