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Twelfth Night

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  126,149 Ratings  ·  2,510 Reviews
The Arden Shakespeare has long been acclaimed as the established scholarly edition of Shakespeare's work. Now being totally reedited for the third time, Arden editions offer the very best in contemporary scholarship. Each volume provides a clear and authoritative text, edited to the highest standards; detailed textual notes and commentary on the same page of the text; full ...more
Paperback, 286 pages
Published February 1st 1998 by Bloomsbury Academic (first published 1601)
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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)
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Community Reviews

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May 18, 2008 Madeline rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shakespeare
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'
Nov 28, 2015 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Come Play With Us Danny...
Twins: Freaky or Fun?
Twelfth Night is Shakespeare's answer to that age-old question.


While I was listening to this, I had no idea that Viola & Sebastian were twins. As far as I knew, they were just siblings. But, apparently, they were (<--if I had read the blurb, I would have known this).
And, apparently, it was also easy to pass as a man 400 years ago!
I guess if Gwen could do it (and still find time to write her ever-practical GOOP blog), then I could too!


This is useful to know, in case I
Henry Avila
Dec 27, 2014 Henry Avila rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Jan 06, 2012 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading Shakespeare is almost like going down into the basement of literature and examining the foundations.

So often I find the origins of what has become trite and overdone, and yet Shakespeare was the fountain from which so much springs. This is especially true of Twelft Night, it is apparent that so many comedies and romances over the centuries were heavily influenced by this play.

Still very entertaining.

Bookdragon Sean
I really didn’t expect to like this. Most comedy is wasted on me, but Shakespearean comedy is just so damn funny. Reading this play is only half the picture. I think this is a play that really must be seen in performance as well. I watched a DvD version of the recent globe production and I was practically rolling on my living room floor with laughter. It had an all-male cast, which just made it even better. Mark Rylance as Olivia was just pure comic genius, and Stephen Fry as Malvolio was just a ...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
So this one doesn't rank terribly high on the believability scale, but this is still my favorite Shakespeare comedy. It's absurd to have a set of fraternal twins -- brother and sister! -- who look so much alike that people who know them reasonably well can't tell them apart. Shakespeare may not have been entirely clear on the distinction between identical and fraternal twins or, more likely, he just didn't care. But push the Disbelief Suspension button here and just go have fun with this love tr ...more
Sep 26, 2008 Trevor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: language
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
Jan 27, 2017 Kaylin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 Stars


"Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them."

While not his most well-known work, The Twelfth Night is certainly one of my favorite works by Shakespeare. I've always enjoyed his comedies more than his tragedies, and this one was filled with his trademark wit and crazy situations


Shakespeare loved him some wordplay, and as always, it's masterful. The jokes were quick and hilarious, while still reveali
باز هم جا به جا شدن شخصيت ها با هم! كم كم دارم به اين نتيجه مى رسم كه شكسپير فقط همين يك ايده رو براى نمايش كمدى داشته و توى همه ى نمايش هاى كمدى ش از همين ايده استفاده كرده.

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

We went to see a Cambridge University production of this last night, set in a similar period to the production we saw of As You Like It we saw earlier this year.

Zak Ghazi-Torbatt was hilarious as the perpetually drunk aristocrat Sir Toby Belch (subtlety is not the long suit of this play), he worked well with his off-sider, Sir Aguecheek, ably played by Ryan Monk. Ben Walsh’s Malvolio was a object lesson in how to not overplay comic creepiness. Megan Gilbert looked like an old hand doing Maria: i
Dec 27, 2012 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
*Note I am very excited about writing the review for Twelfth Night so there is going to be A LOT of CAPITALIZED LETTERS, due to excitement NOT because I'm yelling at anyone or am mad I'm just EXCITED. I wish I had time to put GIF's in because I think this would make one AWESOME GIF and written review!! I can just picture the GIF's now... *day dreaming* SEE? A GIF SHOULD BE THERE!! ^^

Okay, sorry for my day dreaming and wishing for GIF''s time for me to move on to my review now!

What can I sa
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
David Sarkies
Jan 15, 2013 David Sarkies rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anybody
Recommended to David by: University English
Shelves: comedy
The Original Rom-Com
17 January 2013

There are two reasons why I gave this play such a high rating and one of them is Sir Toby Belch. As a character, this guy, who is pretty much a rude, crude, and perpetual drunked, is simply a classic. He is not an admirable character, and along with the maid Maria, his comrade in arms Sir Andrew, Fabian, and not to forget the clown Feste (who, by the way is played brilliantly by Ben Kingsley in the Trevor Nunn movie, if only because I kept on mistaking him for
Emily May
Oct 08, 2012 Emily May rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, plays
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.
Liz Janet
Feb 28, 2015 Liz Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
There is tragedy. Viola becomes her brother Sebastian, and cross-dressing ensues. Orsino loves Olivia. Olivia loves Cesario. Viola loves Orsino. It all ends happy and well, there is marriage.
C.B. Cook
May 08, 2015 C.B. Cook rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, favorites, plays
I read this all in one day, for school, and also because I was on a long car ride. Not to mention I really enjoy Shakespeare's plays, and this one was... just hilarious. Twins and the best love triangle I've ever read about (sort of like a love circle, to be honest). Definitely recommended!!!
K.D. Absolutely
Sep 28, 2013 K.D. Absolutely rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, play, english
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
Sarah AlObaid
Dec 19, 2016 Sarah AlObaid rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first Shakespearian play that i've read and it honestly threw me off. I heard plenty about Shakespeare's genius, but to hear about it and to actually witness it are two completely different things. What he did to make his words sound so good and yet still make perfect sense is beyond me.
Nov 18, 2015 Meags rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mf-romance, classics
4 Stars

This is the first Shakespeare play I’ve read since I was an obsessed teenager. I was a tad worried that the love I once felt for these stories may have wavered over the years, but that wasn’t the case here at all.

The Twelfth Night is a classic romantic comedy in every sense of the term; a love story that is both light-hearted and humorous in nature, and definitely has a HEA. It never ceases to amaze me that Shakespeare was making awesome rom-coms four centuries before the likes of Nancy
A. Dawes
Apr 21, 2016 A. Dawes rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
Not so much a review, more of a brief comment.

This is one of Shakespeare's comedies. Expect relationship entanglements, slapstick, and general bawdy humour. I've seen this live a couple of times too and it's a lot of fun, but don't expect much more.

Shakespeare's comedies appealed to an audience at the time that was climatised to gender and racial inequality along with a bawdy physicality that we judge in our modern era. If this is taken on board by the audience beforehand it's more enjoyable.
Anna Banana
Oct 30, 2015 Anna Banana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I never thought I could really enjoy a Shakespeare play until this year! First King Lear and now this. Initially I was interested in this play because it reminded me of the movie "She's the Man", of course I then realized that the movie was loosely based off the play and I just HAD to read it. It was so funny and I always love the Fool's character in Shakespeare's plays and this was no exception.
Ahmad Sharabiani
Twelfth Night; or, What You Will, William Shakespeare
عنوان: شب دوازدهم یا آنچه شما بخواهید؛ اثر: ویلیام شکسپیر؛ مترجم: افضل وثوقی؛ تهران، رادیو تلویزیون ملی ایران، 1354، در 110 ص
عنوان: شب دوازدهم نمایشنامه؛ اثر: ویلیام شکسپیر؛ مترجم: حمید الیاسی؛ تهران، روشنگران، 1368، در 197 ص؛ چاپ دیگر: 1390، در 238 ص، شابک: 9789646751521؛ موضوع: نمایشنامه های نویسندگان انگلیسی قرن 17 م
Nov 17, 2014 Maxwell rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shakespeare, drama, 2014
This is a fun play. Not my favorite. Makes me want to watch She's the Man.
Mar 17, 2017 Indah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-uni
4.5 stars!
God, I do really love Shakespeare.
Plus: the movie lover in me was mentally channelling She is the Man
Lottie Panebianco
Jun 01, 2012 Lottie Panebianco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Arielle Walker
Feb 20, 2012 Arielle Walker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
Does it count as "reading a book" if that book is, in fact, a Shakespeare play - and you didn't so much read it as watch it on stage, in a re-created Globe theatre, as the work was intended to be experienced?

I'm going to say yes.

This was an absolute riot. Shakespeare is always fun on the page, but brought to life is a whole other story. The actors were phenomenal, pushing the comedy to its limit - I didn't stop laughing the entire time. The man playing Olivia was especially fantastic but honestl
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"Love is Evil, spell it backwards i'll show you." 1 21 Dec 11, 2015 12:28PM  
Homosexuality in the play? 9 85 Oct 01, 2014 06:40PM  
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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
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“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.” 14486 likes
“If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it; that surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.”
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