Reading Response for Introduction to The Theatre

http://shakespeare.mit.edu/twelfth_night/full.html

 

After reading the play Twelfth Night found in your text book, respond to ONE of the following questions with a thorough 1,200-1,500 word response. Your response must be typed, double-spaced, using a 12 point font, and 1” margins. Full credit reading responses will include a brief introduction with a clear thesis statement, a well-developed response using specific references to lecture material and/or the text, and a logical conclusion. Include a word count at the end of your response.

  1. Shakespeare was a professional writer and actor in the commercial theatre of 17th century England. What are three aspects of the play, Twelfth Night that would have been specifically appealing to the non-homogeneous Elizabethan audience that would have attended the public theatre? Consider (for example) the play’s themes, style, and/or depictions of the human condition in your response.
  2. Many of Shakespeare’s comedies explore Elizabethan notions of gender and sexuality. In Twelfth Night, Viola “plays” the role of a young page in order to protect her honor and grow closer to her love interest, Orsino. Given his own historical context, what statement does Shakespeare seem to be making about love and courtship between men and women in this play? Use specific references from the text in your response.
  3. Elizabethans were obsessed with hierarchy and order, choose one character from Twelfth Night that deliberately subverts hierarchical expectations of the time period. How do they disrupt the status quo, what is the result of the disruption, and what does Shakespeare suggest about his society based on this character and their fate?
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