“If music be the food of love, play on!”
One of the elements that affirms Twelfth Night as Shakespeare’s comic masterpiece is its acknowledgment that comedy does not have to be overtly “merry” to be brilliantly insightful and timeless.
Twelfth Night focuses a touchingly romantic plot around separated twins, misplaced passions, and mistaken identity.
Moving in parallel to it is the satirical story of a self-deluded steward who dreams of becoming “Count Malvolio” only to receive his comeuppance at the hands of the merrymakers he wishes to suppress and control.
The two plots combine to create a farce touched with melancholy, mixed throughout with seductively beautiful explorations on the themes of love and time.
The play ends, not with laughter, but with a clown’s sad song.
The subtle implication of this arresting final image is that you only find happiness by discovering yourself; that what you make of this life really is a matter of what you will.
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (1564-1616) was an English playwright poet, and actor, regarded as the world's pre-eminent dramatist, and the greatest writer in the English language. Author of such timeless works as Romeo and Juliet, Othello, Hamlet and King Lear, he is often called the “Bard of Avon,” England's national poet.