Not Just Another Grouchy Grammarian

Musings about language, books, grammar, and writing in general

Review: Twelfth Night, by William Shakespeare

First, I must admit that Twelfth Night is one of my two favorite Shakespeare plays. That’s probably because it’s the first Shakespeare I ever studied and my high school English teacher, Miss Alma Doherty, chose to have us learn it by listening to the recording she hauled into class for each lesson.

So, while I was in a meeting today, I got a message that the next up in Hardcore’d Shakespeare read is Twelfth Night! Needless to say, I was delighted. I grabbed one of the recommended text versions and one of the Audible audiobook versions. Just listened to the Audible, and — while the actors are different — it was just as delightful as I remembered it.

For those of you who are not familiar with the play, it’s one of Shakespeare’s identity-change romantic comedies. Brother and sister, Sebastian and Viola are shipwrecked. Viola disguises herself as a man and finds employment with Duke Orsino. Orsino, of course, is in love with a countess, Olivia, who falls in love with the disguised Viola. This being a Shakespeare play, much chaos and silliness ensue.

Twelfth Night has been called “the perfect comedy” in theguardian‘s 21 April 2014 article “Best Shakespearean Productions,” as well as being “consistently ranked among the greatest plays ever written” (timeout, “The 50 Best Pays of All Time,” and theguardian 2 September 2015 article, “Michael Billington’s 101 Greatest Plays of All Time.”

If you want to start falling in love with the Bard, you could do far worse than plunging into Twelfth Night. It’s two hours or so that you won’t regret spending.

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