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Twelfth Night

Page history last edited by Mr. Mullen 11 years, 6 months ago

The text of the play from No Fear Shakespeare


Scene synopses and character analysis




  • What is the play's attitude toward romantic love? Do you agree with the play's assessment? Take a look at sonnets 148 and 149 before you answer.
  • This play is a comedy, but the ending is not a "happy" one for all the characters, particularly Malvolio. How can Malvolio's fate be reconciled to the mood at the end of the play? (Cf. Antonio and Shylock in "Merchant," Jacques in "As You LIke It," and Don John in "Much Ado."
  • Why are the servants smarter than their masters in this play? What social or political commentary is the play trying to make?
  • What is the significance and role of the fool Feste in the play?


Thoughts on writing the essay


Answer the question simply and clearly.

Take a clear position and focus on answering it throughout the essay. No wavering, fudging, backtracking, or fence sitting.


Develop your argument.

Offer evidence, then explain how that evidence supports your argument.

  • Analayze characters. Delve into their motivations, their conflicts, and their reactions. (When treating comedies, one can also consider what type a character represents.)
  • Look for contrasts and conflicts (male-female, young-old, servant-master), then look for similarities and harmonies (kindred spirits, parallel lives).
  • Problematize the text. What question about human life does the play ask? What answer does it offer?


State the theme

Explain how the play can be understood in terms of your reading of the play.


Length: 300-500ords

Scoring: PA rubric, 10 points for each domain



Sonnet 148

O me! what eyes hath Love put in my head,

Which have no correspondence with true sight;

Or, if they have, where is my judgment fled,

That censures falsely what they see aright?

If that be fair whereon my false eyes dote,

What means the world to say it is not so?

If it be not, then love doth well denote

Love's eye is not so true as all men's: no,

How can it? O! how can Love's eye be true,

That is so vexed with watching and with tears?

No marvel then, though I mistake my view;

The sun itself sees not, till heaven clears.

      O cunning Love! with tears thou keep'st me blind,

      Lest eyes well-seeing thy foul faults should find.


Sonnet 149

Canst thou, O cruel, say I love thee not,
When I against myself with thee partake?
Do I not think on thee, when I forgot
Am of myself, all, tyrant, for thy sake?
Who hateth thee that I do call my friend?    (5)
On whom frown’st thou that I do fawn upon?
Nay, if thou lour’st on* me, do I not spend
Revenge upon myself with present moan?
What merit do I in myself respect,
That is so proud thy service to despise,     (10)
When all my best doth worship thy defect,
Commanded by the motion of thine eyes?
  But, love, hate on, for now I know thy mind;
  Those that can see thou lov’st, and I am blind.


*scowl at





"O Mistress Mine"


O Mistress mine, where are you roaming?

O, stay and hear; your true love's coming,

That can sing both high and low:

Trip no further, pretty sweeting;

Journeys end in lovers meeting,

Every wise man's son doth know.

What is love? 'Tis not hereafter;

Present mirth hath present laughter;

What's to come is still unsure:

In delay there lies not plenty;

Then, come kiss me, sweet and twenty,

Youth's a stuff will not endure.

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