Reading, Writing & Other Addictions

Facing Reality Through Fiction

Twelfth Night

on 01/05/2015

images-2“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” –Malvolio, Twelfth Night

What a great quote to begin this blog, on the 5th of January, 2015.  Greatness is not something to be feared.  As I start a new year, the one I’m dubbing “the year I finally force an publishing editor to accept by novel,” this quote is a strong start to the year.  Plus, it doesn’t hurt that January 5 is actually Twelfth Night, which is the day that the 12 drummers drumming were sent to me by my true love.  Of course with all these maids, lords, and pipers I have no idea where these drummers are going to sleep tonight. Not to mention that my neighbors are starting to complain about the noise the birds are making.

Actually, Twelfth Night is the day before Epiphany and the end of the medieval winter festival, which began on All Hallow’s Eve, or Halloween.  That’s one long party. On Twelfth Night it was a common practice to follow “The Lord of Misrule” and switch places.  The peasants became the lords and the lords, the peasants. (Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my boss to go along with this idea today.)

“The Lord of Misrule,” of course was the king. To decide who was to be “The Lord of Misrule” everyone would get a cake that contained a bean, and the person who found the bean was the ruler, like the king cake around Mardi Gras. In fact, in many places around the world, a king cake is baked on Twelfth night, and eaten on Epiphany. At midnight, the world was put right, and his rule ended

William Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night was written to be preformed on Twelfth Night, just in case you were wondering. However, the earliest recorded performance was in Middle Temple Hall on Candlemas, which is February 2.  It seems that even Shakespeare missed a deadline or two.  The play is true to Twelfth Night as many of the roles of the characters are reversed.  Viola dresses as a man and a servant, and the servant Malvolio aspiring to be a nobel.  I wonder if they timed the play so that the reveal (or the end) was at midnight, when things were put right.

Does anyone else feel the need to watch Shakespeare in Love, whose main character was named Viola, and where Queen Elizabeth commissions Twelfth Night from Will Shakespeare, and then watch She’s the Man, which is a modern day telling of Twelfth Night, starring Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum.

“If music be the food of love, play on.” –Orsino, Twelfth Night

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