Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
3 out of 5 stars
This is another classic that I was kind of iffy about. I picked it because of Just One Day (and the movie She's the Man, but sshh, let's ignore that!) and I wanted to branch out and try a play again. Well, let me just say this first: Shakespeare is hard to read. The dude likes to make up his own words and phrases and sometimes they work... "If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it; that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken and so die."
And sometimes...they don't. "Whoe'er I woo, myself would be his wife." Yeah, I'm not sure what that means. So, not only do you have to deal with his made-up words, but you also have to read the old English style and figure out if he is actually being dirty when he says "I hope to see a housewife take thee between her legs and spin it off." Yeah, I'm pretty sure he is lol. Pervert. Luckily, I knew the basic story so it wasn't too hard. But I totally get why kids complain so much about reading Shakespeare. This play is meant to be one of his great comedies and yeah, I giggled a little, but I don't think you can just read a Shakespeare play thru once and expect to get it. I think you really need to immerse yourself, reading it several times, watching plays or adaptations, etc...
So what is this play actually about? Well, I guess it's about love but also about trickery and deceit. Viola is a young woman who has just lost her brother in a shipwreck (but not really, he's alive and thinks he lost HER) and decides to dress up as a man to work for this Duke Orsino guy. Why, I have no idea. Orsino is in love with this chick Olivia, who also lost her brother to a shipwreck, but she wants nothing to do with him. Orsino sends Viola (as a man) to try and get on Olivia's good side in his favor. Olivia starts to fall in love with Viola as a man, Viola as a woman starts to fall in love with Orsino, and it's all just super confusing. Then Viola's brother, Sebastian, shows up and somehow ends up married to Olivia, and everything blows up in the end. But, somehow, everyone is happy.
Then there's this annoying dude, Malvolio, that works for Olivia. Olivia's maid and other people in waiting decide to play a trick on Malvolio and make him think Olivia is in love with him. They make him wear these hideous yellow stockings and smile like a lunatic all the time around her and she eventually has him committed, because she has no idea what is going on and thinks he's become unhinged. He is, obviously, super pissed, and vows revenge on everyone. And that's how the play ends. Weird right?
There's also this odd part between the clown/fool and a Sir Toby where they are singing and it seriously reminded me of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. I don't know why, but the wording and writing style was so similar, I actually looked it up to see if Freddie Prince was influenced by Shakespeare. (He wasn't.) Check it out:
Sir Toby: (singing) Shall I bid him go?
Clown: What an if you do?
Sir Toby: Shall I bid him go, and spare not?
Clown: O, no, no, no, you dare not.
I'm not crazy right? That totally sounds similar? And let's end on a great quote that I was totally unaware originated with Shakespeare: "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them."