Friday, September 18, 2009

Twelfth Night, by William Shakespeare

What the hell, let's say plays count! Especially since I just read this one for the first time, and just finished teaching this. We had a lot of fun in class, and even watched some snippets of the film starring Imogen Stubbs, who played Lucy in Sense and Sensibility. (There are rumors of a film version starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Parminder Nagra. BE STILL MY HEART.) I also love (and posted to Livejournal and Facebook) Viola's speech about the constancy of women vs. the fickleness of men: "And with a green and yellow melancholy / she sat like Patience on a monument / smiling at grief. Was not this love indeed?"

On the one hand, we read it really fast, mostly because my students wanted to "find out how it ends" so we squeezed it into the syllabus. We talked about the gender issues, the conventions of Shakespearean comedy, the way Shakespeare uses blank verse vs. prose, and the whole Lord of Misrule, Twelfth Night thing. Oh, and the role of the Fool, of course. But I feel like there's so much we didn't delve into. I also felt like I wanted more emotional meat--I mean, I'm not convinced by any of the love stories, for various reasons, except that I buy Viola's love for Orsino. (And Antonio's for Sebastian.) (Okay, and Toby's for Maria...)

I didn't fall in love with the play yet, as much as I fell in love with, say, Henry V or The Tempest or Midsummer, when I read them. But hey, it's Shakespeare. You can't really go wrong.


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