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Twelfth Night

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  130,793 Ratings  ·  2,717 Reviews
A pair of twins are separated by a shipwreck, each believing the other has drowned. A lovesick duke woos a countess deep in mourning for her brother, while her rowdy household plots the downfall of her puritanical steward. Disguise, confusion, and mistaken identity follow in Shakespeare’s great comedy of love in all its manifestations. 

Under the editorial supervision of J
Paperback, 208 pages
Published May 4th 2010 by Modern Library (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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May 18, 2008 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 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
Book Review
4 out of 5 stars to Twelfth Night, a comedy written in 1601 by William Shakespeare. There are more reviews written about Shakespeare than either of us know what to do with, on, over or about. So you're not getting a review from me. What I will say is the following: Love him or not, the man can create brilliant plots and characters. Twins. Mistaken identities. Tomfoolery. Witchcraft. A chain of "who's on first" when it comes to which character is in love with which other character.
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.
Henry Avila
Dec 27, 2014 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
Jan 06, 2012 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 Twelfth Night, it is apparent that so many comedies and romances over the centuries were heavily influenced by this play.

Very entertaining.

Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dolors by: Face it
“Twelfth night” is probably the most well rounded of all the Shakespearean comedies I have read so far, both for its structure and thematic scope, which is close to the darkest side of his best tragedies.

Evading the somewhat shallow hedonism of his earlier comedies, the perplexed reader encounters a play that is opened with a shipwreck on the coast of the fictional town of Illyria. The twins Viola and Sebastian were onboard of the crashed vessel but they lose sight of each other amidst the chao
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
Samra Yousuf
Twelfth night being the last comedy of William Shakespeare, is highly acclaimed and panned at equal measures. We come to peruse and praise his literary genius through his artistic handling of different themes packed in one play. On the surface, the play exhibits traces of mistaken identity, deception, Lovesickness, melancholy, desire and abundance, gender and sex, master and servant, but on the broader canvass, the colors are more vivid and glaring laden with undercurrent meanings of these theme ...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 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
Whitney Atkinson
I liked the dialogue in this one a lot more than the first one we read for class (A Comedy of Errors). I love the whole "girl poses as a guy in order to trick misogynists into letting her participate in their society" trope, and I just in general loved Olivia and Viola as characters, so I was super into this. My only complaint is that the ending wraps up too swiftly for me and a few of the plotlines were just kinda smooshed into one grand finale, but I was left wanting more.

Not the best Shakesp
Jan 27, 2017 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
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A play that can really come alive when staged, as opposed to read. As with many of Shakespeare's comedies, there's lots of frivolity and crazy fun, undergirded with some darker themes.
Feb 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, shakespeare
"If you be not mad, be gone; if you have reason, be brief."
- William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night


I liked it, but didn't love it.

Positives: I always like Shakespeare's gender benders. The Bard enjoys not playing characters straight. He doesn't want a love story or even a love triangle, Shakespeare wants to explore all the tangents, the lines, and the angles of love's many geometries. He is a great experimenter of the human soul. He is the Faraday of romance, unsatisfied until he has teased out all
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.
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

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
Aug 11, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've just written another review for a more modern play, complaining about how they're not made for reading, but watching. Although I'd say Shakespeare kind of breaks that rule. I often enjoy the words on the page as much, if not more than watching a stage performance. However, I feel like Twelfth Night needs to be seen. There's quite a lot of stage direction and subtleties that are missed just by reading, or at least they are if you're not familiar with the story. I chose to watch a production ...more
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Aslında kitap 3 gün önce bittiydi de benim üniversite hayatına alışma sürecim biraz sıkıntılı geçiyor, depresifken bir şeyler yazamıyorum affedin!

Hemen kitap hakkında iki-üç şey yazacağım sonra Panzehir’e başlamaya gideceğim -aslında Hamlet’e başlayacaktım ama okuyup bitirmek istemiyorum kitabı, çok ciddiyim- On İkinci Gece’yi o kadar çok sevdim ki ben bile şaşırdım. Klasiklerden kitap okuduğum zaman genelde yorum yazmıyorum biliyorsunuz, çünkü alışmaya çalışıyorum. Kitap okumaya Rick Riordan’la
Çağdaş T
Shakespeare'in Hamlet, Machbet, Othello, Venedik Taciri, Romeo ve Juliet gibi eserlerini okuduktan sonra dilimize çevrilen diğer eserleri bence oldukça sönük kalıyor. Sanırım bundan sonra, okumadığım diğer eserlerini okumaya yeltenmeyeceğim. Zamanına göre evet çok değerli ve çığır açmış olabilir fakat günümüz için bence geçerli değil. 3. yıldızım da sadece Shakespeare olduğu için.
Shakespeare ve eserleri hakkında fazla söz söylemeye gerek yok sanırım. Belki ele aldığı çoğu konu farklı versiyonlarda defalarca karşımıza çıkarıldığından eserleri günümüz için fazla orijinal veya yaratıcı gelmiyor olabilir, ancak şimdiye kadarki (az sayıdaki) Sheakespeare okumalarımdan zevk aldım. Onikinci Gece'yi de aynı şekilde keyifle okudum. Eğlenceli bir oyun. Çeviriden şikayetim yok ancak orijinal dilinde okumak hoş bir deneyim olabilir.

“Bazıları büyük doğar, bazıları büyüklüğe erişir. B

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
David Sarkies
Jan 15, 2013 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
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
Emily May
Oct 08, 2012 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.
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
C.B. Cook
May 08, 2015 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!!!
Dec 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, theatre
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
Sep 11, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shakespeare
Well, phooey. I remember liking this one more. I know I've watched and read "Twelfth Night" several times over the years, and I just don't recall Duke Orsino coming across as such a psychopath before.

Generally speaking, I'm not too keen on the comedies, or the cross-dressing stuff, or the love triangles. But Viola is a spunky gal, and Olivia is pretty tolerable, and the whole “teasing Malvolio” thing is quite entertaining – much better than the usual clowning sub-plot. For some reason, though,
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"Love is Evil, spell it backwards i'll show you." 1 21 Dec 11, 2015 12:28PM  
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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
More about William Shakespeare...
“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.” 14711 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…