Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Twelfth Night, or What You Will” as Want to Read:
Twelfth Night, or What You Will
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview
Read Book* *Different edition

Twelfth Night, or What You Will

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  102,756 ratings  ·  1,962 reviews
In the modern theater, Twelfth Night is one of the most popular of Shakespeare's plays, and this edition places particular emphasis on its theatrical qualities in both the introduction and the full and detailed commentary. Where original music has not survived, James Walker has composed settings compatible with the surviving originals, freshly edited so that this edition, ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published February 1st 1995 by OUP Oxford (first published 1601)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Twelfth Night, or What You Will, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Christine That is an interesting question. I don't think so! If Olivia had a twin, she would not have been so naive as to mix up Sebastian and Viola. Twins know…moreThat is an interesting question. I don't think so! If Olivia had a twin, she would not have been so naive as to mix up Sebastian and Viola. Twins know that game of switching places (although it is not really possible with a male and female.) Still, I get the idea that Olivia was not a twin herself. (less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
I wish I could've seen what performances of this play were like in Shakespeare's time. Since women couldn't be on stage, men had to play the women's roles, which means that the guy playing Viola had to also dress up as a man while acting like a woman.
You have to wonder if the audience ever really knew what was going on. I'll bet you anything you like that some form of the following conversation took place in the Globe Theater at one point:
GROUNDLING 1: Wait, wasn't that guy playing a girl? Why'
Henry Avila
Now a strange, astonishing thing or two , happened, off the west coast of the Balkans, ( Illyria), in an undetermined age, aristocratic, identical twins, a boy and a girl, well around twenty, give or take a few years, were lost at sea, shipwrecked by a powerful storm. Presumed drowned by the other surviving sibling, both saw their relative in an untenable situation. But this being a play, the twins keep on breathing, reaching the beautiful, dry, glorious beach, with separate help from out of the ...more
A few years ago I read a review of some film that had come out and I was sure I would never see – read the review almost carelessly while flicking through the arts section of the paper on a Saturday morning, no, I must have been clicking over The Age Home Page. The woman who wrote the review commented that whatever the film was had been based on Twelfth Night – which she considered that most ridiculous of Shakespeare’s plays – she really could not see how anyone could be bothered to reproduce th ...more
Bill  Kerwin

The treatment of Malvolio is a little too cruel, Belch and Aguecheek are a little too coarse, and the resolution is a little too abrupt, and so this excellent Shakespearean comedy falls a little short of perfection.

Still, the poetry about music and the songs themselves are wonderful, Viola and Orsino are charming, and Feste is the wisest and best of clowns.
Huda Aweys
مسرحية طريفة ، رغم ما في حبكتها من افتعال
:) ،
و منها تم اقتباس العديد من الاعمال السينيمائية و المسرحية كما هو معروف ، و اللي من آخرها و أشهرها فيلم
(She is the one)

I'm glad I read this in class because I wouldn't have gotten much out of it otherwise. Shakespeare may be Shakespeare, but I am also I, and I know my tastes well enough to have before reading this thought "Bro I love certain pieces of your work but I'm fairly certain this is not going to have a honeymoon ending." Comedies tend to make me nervous with their glee and their joy and their soap bubble ideologies, and while the playwright did some wonderfully complex things with gender and the tr
You know what? I think this play is the Shakespearean equivalent of Three’s Company, a laugh-track comedy with goofball characters and preposterous situations that trigger a chain of events you can see coming a mile away. We’re talking here about a play in which a woman masquerades as a man (pretty much for the hell of it), deceiving everyone into believing she’s a dude without testes—because how else do you, in the absence of injectable testosterone products, convince people you’re a dude other ...more
For a long time I preferred Shakespeare's tragedies to his comedies, and to an extent I still do; but I have found a new appreciation of his comedies, particularly in Twelfth Night. Economical yet unforced, hilarious yet humane, confined yet infinite, clever yet accessible: such is Twelfth Night or What You Will. The play follows the shipwrecked twins, Viola (disguised as the boy Cesario) and Sebastian, in Illyria, where the hilarity of mistaken identity and unwanted love and unrequited love are ...more
K.D. Absolutely
The title Ikalabindalawang Gabi or Twelfth Night means the last of the twelve days of Christmas that was traditionally falls on January 6th. During that day, based on English tradition, the social rules are lax as people are busy merry-making. The story in this well-loved Shakespeare is comedy with the protagonist Viola who survives a shipwreck and for her to be with her crush, has to pass up for a male soldier. The love story does not end there though. Viola's object of affection, the duke Orsi ...more
Lottie Panebianco
This play has a special place in my affection. I first got to know it when I was I think 11 and it was the school play. I loved it then and I love it now. Someone wrote somewhere that the entire story is "enthused with the spirit of love". Love is presented mostly as a form of madness and sickness but a sickness which we welcome. There is a close parallel between the plague (analogies and references to the plague run through the play). Hundreds of years later Thomas Mann wrote "Death in Venice" ...more
Jan 10, 2008 De'Shawn rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Shakespeare Lovers
Twelfth Night, a Romantic Comedy that was written by the late William Shakespeare has to be one of his best works. This romantic Comedy deals and relates to real life events, as people in life hides there identities so that others won't know there true inner self. For example, Viola played a character in the name of Cesario in Twelfth Night. She had true feelings for one Orsino but couldn't express her feelings because of her disguise being a man. Her disguise instead was to help Olivia hook up ...more
This is a fun play. Not my favorite. Makes me want to watch She's the Man.
The only reason this gets four and not five stars is that we're rating on the scale of Shakespeare to Shakespeare, and I think that there is some awkwardness in this one in terms of the conclusion; where everyone goes and how they get to it. There are also some very thin plot devices that annoy me.

However, that being said, I love this play. I played Mariah in it in high school, and it was one of the most fun things I've been in. It can be played for laughs, or for the dark side. The movie versio
Janelle Fernandez
The book Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare was an interesting book. It was a very funny play that will show everyone that love is crazy. I enjoyed reading this play because not only was all of the characters confused in the play they were in love. Twelfth Night being the night of fun and disguses makes this book interesting. This is beacause Shakespeare made love seem hard to get. When in reality love is really hard to get. Malvolio was a great character because people tend to be like him. Ev ...more
Book Concierge
Audio performed by Stella Gonet, Gerard Murphy and a full cast

Viola and her twin brother, Sebastian, are separated during a shipwreck. When she arrives on the shores of Illyria, she presumes Sebastian is dead. The ship’s captain helps her disguise herself as a man, and she enters the service of Duke Orsino, with whom she falls in love. Orsino, however, loves the Countess Olivia, who has foresworn any suitors while she mourns the death of her father and brother. Orsino begs Cesario (Viola in disg
Here Shakespeare borrows as so often in his comedies, from Plautus for the overarching plot--the separated siblings, the twinning (recall his Errors, and the Menaechmi), the arrival from sea. But he adds so much as to make it unrecognizable as a Roman comedy. He adds an attractive drunk, Sir Toby, who fleeces a silly aristocrat who--perhaps alone in literature-- knows himself to be silly. He adds, for instance, a parody of Renaissance psychiatry (well, more theology, but since "psyche" in Greek ...more
I felt the need to read this again today. I relished the jokes, plots and language as one might greet friends too long absent. Twelfth Night was the first Shakespeare play I ever read, and it remains my favourite.
Shitfuck!! But wasn't he good ??!!
Whenever I'm made to read Shakespeare I cringe, but take the play nonetheless. However, I always seem to enjoy it, so I don't know why I feel so opposed upon first being told that's what we're reading, haha. In the end it was rather good, and I enjoyed it, but ... She's the Man will obviously always be better :P
This was an incredibly fun read. It makes me want to watch She's The Man again!
Emily May
I don't know if it's because I saw a particularly good performance of this at RADA in London but Twelfth Night is my favourite of Shakespeare's comedies (which I've always liked less than the tragedies and histories). The actors did a great job of delivering the jokes in a way a 21st century audience would appreciate - I laughed a lot.
Amanda L
2015 Reading Challenge: A PLAY

This book is my first read of the year and I enjoyed it, but no as much as the other Shakespeare's books I've read so far.
All right: opening confession. I adore Shakespeare. Especially when performed but also read. Love the wit. Love the language. Love the stories.

2nd confession: Being who I am, I prefer the tragedies. Especially Lear. Then Macbeth-what a wife. Then Hamlet for the viewing of terminal ratiocination. Tragedy to the point of humor. And then Othello for a good old love story without trust ain't that just like a man + great poetry.

Love the histories. Even (tho not as much as others) King John (partly I'
Christina Benjamin
Twelfth Night is a play that involves many interesting characters and quandaries. One quandary that that appears several times through out this play is that people are oblivious to the fact that a person is truly in love with them. Viola is a woman that is mourning the death of her brother and in this situation she comes up with a plan to live as a man to be somewhat invisible to others. While she is living as a man she begins to work as a messenger for a count named Orsino. Orsino is trying to ...more
True story – I was finishing As You Like It in a park today and these two prostitutes approached me to offer their services. I smiled and said no thank you, and as they walked away one said to the other “did you notice he was reading Shakespeare? Ayyyye.” And there you have it, Shakespeare gets respect even from Mexican prostitutes.
About the play – I am a bit confused. This has to be Shakespeares most homoerotic play by a long shot. Women fall in love with women, men fall in love with boys, fr
Written round about the year 1601,Twelfth Night is the Twelfth Night Christmas, i.e., january 6th.

In the romantic atmosphere of Twelfth Night, we feel as if we were transported to a world of make-believe and far away from the accepted standards of ordinary life. The time of the action of Twelfth Night is 3 days.The main-plot starts with the arrival of the shipwrecked brother and sister, Sebastian and Viola,on the shores of Illyria. Neither o
This has so many things that make my feet crumble; mistaken identities, mocking of innocent (although obnoxious) subjects, trickery and wrong assumptions.

I'm no good with comedies.

I love to watch them when I go to the theatre, but beside that? No. I get so stressed out about it. JUST GET TOGETHER ALREADY, TURKEY-COCKS (actual insult from the play. I love you, William).

This play is funny, though, it has some excellent lines ("Contemplation makes a rare turkey-cock of him" or "My purpose is, inde
Paul Beimers
Apr 03, 2015 Paul Beimers rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who: like Shakespeare.
Cross-dressing and gender confusion? As Bo Burnham so eloquently put it: "Ha, ha, ha -- classic comedy!"

A fairly straightforward farce, as per Shakespeare's usual tropes. The cast is full of naive (if not outright foolish) individuals who delight in reveling in their supposed miseries and yearning desperately for people whom they cannot have. Look-alike twins make for numerous misunderstandings and cases of mistaken identity, while court attendants and querulous nobles play pranks on one another
I have always tended to lean more towards Shakespeare's comedies than his tragedies. Most people prefer the dramas, but I think it is his sense of wit and clever narrative that makes his comedies truly enjoyable. Saying that, 'Twelfth Night' is definitely not the best comedy from Shakespeare that I have read.
It is a humorous little romp where identities are confused, there is many a clash over love, and of course a singing fool. Shakespeare created an extremely clever love... well not triangle a
Eric Kibler
I reread the play as I'll be appearing in it this summer as Sir Toby Belch. Ah, what fun!

Shakespeare fact: most directors these days cut Shakespeare's plays down to a reasonable two hours for performance. That will be the case for the production I'm in. I'll miss the double-talk conversations between Sir Toby and the Clown, and some of the "mistaken identity" humor involving male/female twins Sebastian and Viola. Although I can see why the director removed this stuff. In the former case, the inv
Here we have the cross dressing issue used as a ploy again by Shakespeare. He seems to love putting women ( who were played by young men at this time in history) in mens clothing? ( how confusing that must have been for the audience! ) " is that a man now? " " No that's still a lady, but she's pretending to be a man?" "Oh!" " Nevermind"
Anyway, love conquers all, unrequited love, love put on hold, love at first sight, women masquerading as men, it's all here in this crazy, wacky play, that has b
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Homosexuality in the play? 9 69 Oct 01, 2014 06:40PM  
Huntsville-Madiso...: Staff Picks - Community Read - Twelfth Night 1 7 Apr 12, 2014 02:41PM  
The Amazing Super...: Make a hunter 140 33 Apr 06, 2014 09:33AM  
Public Play House: Twelfth Night 1 7 Dec 03, 2013 03:18PM  
Shakespeare's Twelfth Night 7 49 Oct 28, 2013 04:15PM  
The Most Awesome ...: Twelfth Night, or What You Will 1 2 Jan 22, 2013 02:50PM  
  • The Revenger's Tragedy
  • Edward II
  • Eurydice
  • Arcadia
  • The Spanish Tragedy
  • The Compleat Works of Wllm Shkspr (abridged)
  • 'Tis Pity She's a Whore and Other Plays
  • An Ideal Husband
  • Mrs. Warren's Profession
  • Machinal
  • The Lieutenant of Inishmore
  • M. Butterfly
  • The Rover
  • The School for Scandal
  • Uncle Vanya
  • Oleanna
  • Collected Shorter Plays
William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been tr ...more
More about William Shakespeare...
Romeo and Juliet Hamlet Macbeth A Midsummer Night's Dream Othello

Share This Book

“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.” 13450 likes
“If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it; that surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.”
More quotes…