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Twelfth Night

Page history last edited by Matt Peterson 12 years, 2 months ago


No Fear Shakespeare 3.1



Mon 9 Feb D




Lesson 1

45 min

7 min.: come in dressed as student--inversion

play favorites

in/out reflection 

Intro guiding question/AOI/Play

When is upside down upright?




Character Predictions: TN - Prediction Quotations.doc

12th Night (above--reading exercise)

Carnivalesque (above--reading exercise)


Rsch 12th Night

TN - Carnival Powerpoint HW.doc


Be able to access this file immediately tomorrow.




Tue 10 Feb



20 min. computer showing: Inversion & Carnival 


Plot Intro, Chars, Motifs

HO: Duke's H, Olivia's H. the Street

Think about alter-ego that expresses what you don’t have, props and costuming -- for Friday

Thu 12 Feb




Blank verse, poetic terms…


Prac blank vs. and rdr's theater in sc. 1

write 8 lines of blank verse characterizing Orsino, Viola, or Olivia (ambition: sonnet)


craft alter-ego and find accessory--what qual's in alter-ego do you want that you don't have


Fri 13 Feb




How to Rd Shakespeare aloud

Rd to punc

Pace betw. spkrs

Express char. w/voice and posture

Fake it till you make it


Share alter-egos

Read blank verse


1.3 subplot Sir Andrew and Sir Toby--foils for Orsino

about subplots

Maria's Quotation: limits of order


show clips for phys/staging comedy (1.3.13-117 - Trevor Nunn: Trk 6: 15:39-19:45) - director's choice; precision precedes revelry; carnivalesque; characterization

1.4 with questions--focus only on Olivia and Viola



Think of a humorous joke or story that contains a kernel of truth (due Thu).



Wed 18 Feb



Language as Character 

4 Quotations--identify char 


1.4 Viola and Orsino together, word play 1.4.29b-42

Read 1.5 with questions (above)




Thu 19 Feb




Prose and poetry: chart 1.5’s linguistic forms


1.5 Olivia and Viola meet--word play, question identity


(skip Feste-Maria)

1.5 Feste-Olivia

1.5 Feste, Maria, Malvolio


Share Jokes and stories--examine how the humor works.


Puritans and fools

Robin Williams clips and Journal Reflection


Fri 20 Feb




Follow-up on class clowns


Doubling Exercise 

2.1 Doubling

Shakespeare's Doubles 


2.2 Malvolio

Journal entry: links between doubling and carnivalesque. Use specifics.


Mon 23 Feb




Discuss links


2.3 watch performance (CIS DVD)


Back to carnivalesque: why don’t they like Malvolio? 

Character and verse analysis—choose one: Orsino, Viola, or Olivia (selections provided)--Due Thur


Tue 24 Feb




Catch up 


Thu 26 Feb



Follow-up on char/vers analysis--peer edit: highlight topic sent.


2.4 Teachers perform


set up HW--brainstorm

Where’s the love? Compare Orsino's love with Viola's love in 2.4--examining language, 2 quotations, unpack each.


Fri 27 Feb




2.5 watch


2.5.128-166a Characterization: Malvolio through language

3.1-3.3 prepare scene for reader’s theater (4 groups: 12 Ss – readers) + (4 groups of 2: modern language) (come ready)

TN Reader's Theater Assignments.doc

Wed 4 Mar






Extra time, begin 3.4

Read 3.4 with guiding questions



Thu 5 Mar




Recap 3.4--examining verse

Read 4.1--examining verse


Watch 3.4-4.1

What is Shakespeare criticizing?

How is this part of the carnivalesque?

Bring in full exercise book(s)--bound if plural


Bring in any assessed pieces if you have them.


AF analysis due tomorrow. 


Fri 6 Feb





Collect exercise books

Collect all writings

Collect AF analysis


Debate 1        



Mon 9 Mar D



4.2 (watch)

When is funny not funny? (below)

Play Snaps


A3 - end of 4.3, verse analysis


Watch Act 5


Scan A3; we'll make meaning in class tomorrow

Tue 10 Mar



Intro paper: characterization and carnivalesque
Thu 12 Mar D Paper work: brainstorm, thesis, evidence, outline TN paper (be ready to draft on 23 Mar)

Fri 13 Mar D

Debate 2  
Wed 18 Mar D Y9 Field Trip  

Thu 19 Mar

Y9 Field Trip  

Fri 20 Mar D

Language Symposium  
Mon 23 Mar D In-class drafting  Bring in complete draft on Thurs 
Tue 24 Mar S paper work?   
Thu 26 Mar D Peer-editing  TN paper (due Wed 1 Apr) 
Fri 27 Mar D Debate 3  
Wed 1 Apr D

Paper due

Watch film

Thu 2 Apr D Finish film  
Fri 3 Apr D


Debate 4

New Unit    

Essential Shakespeare Sites







Carnivalesque is a term coined by the Russian critic Mikhail Bakhtin, which refers to a literary mode that subverts and liberates the assumptions of the dominant style or atmosphere through humor and chaos.


Bakhtin traces the origins of the carnivalesque to the concept of carnival, itself related to the Feast of Fools, a medieval festival originally of the sub-deacons of the cathedral, held about the time of the Feast of the Circumcision (1 January).

Today, carnival is primarily associated with Mardi Gras, a time of revelry that immediately precedes the Christian celebration of Lent; during the modern Mardi Gras, ordinary life and its rules and regulations are temporarily suspended and reversed, such that the riot of Carnival is juxtaposed with the control of the Lenten season.


In the carnival, as we have seen, social hierarchies of everyday life―their solemnities and pieties and etiquettes, as well as all ready-made truths―are profaned and overturned by normally suppressed voices and energies. Thus, fools become wise, kings become beggars; opposites are mingled (fact and fantasy, heaven and hell).


Through the carnival and carnivalesque literature the world is turned-upside-down (W.U.D.), ideas and truths are endlessly tested and contested, and all demand equal dialogic status. The “jolly relativity” of all things is proclaimed by alternative voices within the carnivalized literary text that de-privileged the authoritative voice of the hegemony through their mingling of “high culture” with the profane.



The Literary Encyclopedia - Carnival, Carnivalesque, Carnivalisation:

The term carnival came to have particular prominence for literary criticism after the publication of Mikhail Bakhtin’s Rabelais and his World(1965; translated by Helene Iswolsky [Indiana University Press, 1984]). In this book, Rabelais’ writing is seen as drawing its energies from the historic practices of carnival which preceded and surrounded it in Renaissance Europe. Bakhtin gives an especially benign account of carnival rituals, in which

--- the time of carnival features as an utopian irruption into the workaday world, a time of feasting when normally dominant constraints and hierarchies are temporarily lifted. The subversive and anti-authoritarian aspects of carnival are here emphasised – authority figures are mocked, the joyless routines of everyday life are abrogated, the lower bodily strata are allowed both to degrade and to regenerate those conceptions of the world which seek to exclude them. ---

Rabelais’ writings, and those of his near contemporaries Cervantes and Shakespeare, are seen as drawing their energies from these carnival practices, and from the epochally established view of the world which they embody. In this specific sense, in which there is a direct connection between historically-existing carnival practices and artistic forms which reproduce them, their writing can be described as “carnivalesque”.


Bakhtin extends the idea very significantly, however, in the notion of “carnivalised” writing which succeeds these Renaissance models and thus long outlives the actual historical location of the practices from which such writing takes it name. Carnivalised writing is that writing which mobilises one form of discourse against another, especially popular against elite forms. In this usage, “carnival” tends to lose its historical specificity and comes to resemble a transhistorical generic principle which can be actualised in widely differing periods; it is present in the Menippean satires of the ancient world and also in the novels of Dostoevsky, written in a society having little contact with historic Renaissance carnivals.


Published 18 July 2001

Citation: Dentith, Simon. "Carnival, Carnivalesque, Carnivalisation". The Literary Encyclopedia. 18 July 2001.
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=160, accessed 8 February 2009.]



What do you think? Are these accurate applications of the carnivalesque: http://peaceaware.com/special/1/pages/carnival.htm?


Carnivalesque films: http://www.carnivalesquefilms.com/about_us.html



Teacher resources

1. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb3394/is_3_52/ai_n28743893/pg_1

2. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/605541/shakespeares_the_twelfth_night_a_comedy.html?cat=2


Lord of Misrule


The Lord of Misrule, known in Scotland as the Abbot of Unreason and in France as the Prince des Sots, was an officer appointed by lot at Christmas to preside over the Feast of Fools. The Lord of Misrule was generally a peasant or sub-deacon appointed to be in charge of Christmas revelries, which often included drunkenness and wild partying, in the pagan tradition of Saturnalia. The Church held a similar festival involving a Boy Bishop. The celebration of the Feast of Fools was outlawed by the Council of Basel that sat from 1431, but it survived to be put down again by the Catholic Queen Mary I in England in 1555.


While mostly known as a British holiday custom, the appointment of a Lord of Misrule comes from antiquity. In ancient Rome, from the 17th to the 23rd of December, a Lord of Misrule was appointed for the feast of Saturnalia, in the guise of the good god Saturn. During this time the ordinary rules of life were turned topsy-turvy as masters served their slaves, and the offices of state were held by slaves. The Lord of Misrule presided over all of this, and had the power to command anyone to do anything during the holiday period. This holiday seems to be the precursor to the more modern holiday, and it carried over into the Christian era.


Other research: Roman Saturnalia



Twelfth Night (festival)


Twelfth Night or Epiphany Eve is a festival in some branches of Christianity marking the coming of the Epiphany, and concluding the Twelve Days of Christmas. It is defined by the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary as "the evening of the fifth of January, preceding Twelfth Day, the eve of the Epiphany [January 6], formerly the last day of the Christmas festivities and observed as a time of merrymaking".[1]


The celebration of Epiphany, the adoration of the Magi, is marked in some cultures by the exchange of gifts, and Twelfth Night, as the eve or vigil of Epiphany, takes on a similar significance to Christmas Eve.


Origins and History

In Tudor England[citation needed], the Twelfth Night marked the end of a winter festival that started on All Hallows Eve — now more commonly known as Halloween. The Lord of Misrule symbolizes the world turning upside down. On this day the King and all those who were high would become the peasants and vice versa. At the beginning of the twelfth night festival a cake which contained a bean was eaten. The person who found the bean would run the feast. Midnight signaled the end of his rule and the world would return to normal. The common theme was that the normal order of things was reversed. This Lord of Misrule tradition can be traced[citation needed] to pre-Christian European festivals such as the Celtic festival of Samhain and the Ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia.[3]


Twelfth Night photos 


Reading Question 1.4 & 1.5



In your reading, mainly focus on Olivia and Viola.


At a minimum, how much time has passed since the shipwreck?


What is Orsino's assignment to Viola (15-36)?


Does fulfilling this task at all benefit Viola (38-39)?


What would its cost be to Viola (41-42)?




How does Feste make Olivia the fool (51-64)?


Why will Feste seek revenge on Malvolio (75-83)?


Why does Olivia send Malvolio to replace Sir Toby at the gate (96-129)?


How old does Malvolio say Viola is (130-151)?


Why does Viola seek to be alone with Olivia (199-201)?


What is this text metaphor (203-213)?


How might this “picture” metaphor for Olivia’s beauty be insulting to modern readers (212-223)?


Explain the metaphor (212-213).


How does Olivia extend the text metaphor (225-229)?


How much does Orsino love Olivia (232-236)?


How does Olivia shift the conversation (247b)?


What is Olivia trying to find out (256b)?


How is Viola’s answer a plot “complication” (259a)?


What is Olivia feeling (269-278)?



How is the carnivalesque at work?


Record a line for Orsino, Viola, and Olivia that captures that character.



Puritans and Fools

Reminder: When is upside down upright? Keep an eye out for carnivalesque eruptions.


Fortune favors fools - Fortuna favet fortuis



Who is the fool? Who is the Puritan? Who is foolish?

Puritan Info


Good Morning Vietnam (5:00)

Dead Poet Society: Mr. Pritchard
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XOUjDXTKNE (1:03-5:45)
Dead Poet Society: Shakespeare and the Desk (3:28)
YouTube plugin error  

3.4 Reading Questions

3.4.14-15: How is the carnivalesque at work?


Note, Olivia speaks in verse and Maria in prose, but after the couplet and upon Malvolio's entrance, Olivia speaks in prose with Malvolio. Why have Maria and Malvolio speak in prose and have Olivia switch?



How is dramatic irony at work?

Does the irony become funny? Why?


To Olivia, Malvolio seems crazy in his confidence and familiarity (cp. 4.1.5-6).
What is ethically sticky about laughing at Malvolio's "lunacy"?
Why has Sir Toby come to Malvolio? Why has Sir Toby really come?
What "knowledge" does Malvolio think he has over Sir Toby and Maria? How does this create humor?
Why all of the religious language?
What is the plan?
What is the challenge?
Notice the "notes and letters" motif.
What is Sir Toby doing?
Notice who exits when.
Notice we encounter verse at 181 once Sir Toby, Fabian, and Maria have left.
What is significant about Olivia's gift to Cesario (180-190)? (2 things)
How is Olivia flirting (191-2)?
How is Cesario faithful (193)?
How are we beyond flirting (194-5)?
198-250, 251-285
Notice we're back in prose.
Now what is Sir Toby doing?
286-end of 3.4
Why does Shakespeare bring in Antonio?
What is Antonio's history?
What happens to Antonio?

Starter question: answer individually in writing
Last week in CHOICES you discussed peer pressure. Can you think of a time when you participated in excluding someone or making fun of them even though you knew it was wrong? How did you feel about your actions?
Watch the video of Act 4.2.
How is the mood of this scene different from Act 2.5 (the letter scene)?
Where is the audience's sympathy in this scene? Why? (Their thinking about peer pressure should inform this answer.)
Now, how does Shakespeare use inversion and language to change our minds?
  • Look at the diction Malvolio uses when he responds to Sir Topas.
  • Pick out the inversions-- the fool becomes a priest, the Puritan a madman, possessed by the devil. Why aren't they funny anymore?
  • Unpack Sir Toby's decision to end the game (63-68). What does his decision reveal about his moral character?
What do you think Shakespeare wants us to understand about the dangers of the carnivalesque? Of a group having power over an individual?
Wrap-activity: Slip exercise: Are you a Malvolio or a Toby? Both are exaggerations, of course, but most of us are closer to one than the other. Who have you learned most from, even if by negative example? Why? 


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