Twelfth night context

Olivia, Orsino, Viola and Sebastian – three historical contexts Marriage was a contract between the wealthy. Romance was reserved for art, poetry and leisure.Men woo women.Twelfth Night is a night of festivity and “topsy turvy” – gender roles eg a woman woos a woman are inverted here.
Olivia, Orsino, Viola and Sebastian – contemporary views – name two Theatre critics argued that cross-dressing was sinful, “wicked,” and “monstrous.” They argued that it promoted sexual “deviance” and turned women into hermaphrodites.The Malvolio storyline was preferred to the 4 lovers storyline for two centuries
Malvolio genre context – name two Comic villain• Genre of tricking scene = farce and we’re in on the joke
Malvolio historical context – name three • He is a precursor of Puritanism and displays Puritanical attitudes – Shakespeare debunks his pomposity and shows his attitudes are founded on greed rather than God. Shakespeare satirises puritanical attitudes through Malvolio.• Yellow stockings absurdly youthful (British Library)• Ridiculous notion at the time that a steward could marry the Lady of the House.
Malvolio critical views and productions – name four • Viewed through a Marxist lens, his main “sin” is to attempt to rise higher in the hierarchy of the household and become equal with Sir Toby. He is firmly put back in his place. In a way, this is the true inversion of hierarchy allowed on Twelfth Night – yet he is the comic villain of the play.• The Malvolio element of the play was preferred to the four lovers element for the first two centuries• Stephen Fry played Malvolio during his punishment as becoming a little dishevelled – his physical punishment was minimalized. Richard Briers played Malvolio as suffering greatly, becoming grey and his clothes in rags.• Critics have argued about his punishment – Hazlitt 1817 “poor Malvolio’s treatment… is a little hard.” V Malvolio of course, is justly punished (summers 1955
Feste – historical context 1. Rich household’s generally paid for a fool who was entitled to challenge, comically, the rich and powerful. This practice was dying out (Feste is Olivia’s father’s fool.)
Feste – genre audience expected clowns and fools, and they expected songs and a direct address at the end.
Feste – productions In the 2017 National Theatre Production, Feste’s songs were in a minor key, contrasting with the jollity of the play as a whole.
Olivia, Orsino, Viola and Sebastian – source context The plotting differences between Twelfth Night and one of its sources, Gl’Ingannati (Italian, 1535), draw attention particularly to themes of gender and cross-dressing in Shakespeare’s play. In the Italian play, the twins are both male.
Olivia, Orsino, Viola and Sebastian – genre contexts, name 9 1. Romantic comedy2. courtly love3. satire of romantic comedy4. farce5, wit 6. Orsino is a typical romantic hero and is satirised as such7. Olivia and Viola are not typical romantic heroines in many ways8. Happy endings with a marriage is typical of comedies – Shakespeare multiplies this9. Boys played female roles/
Olivia, Orsino, Viola and Sebastian – production context In the 2017 National Theatre production, Olivia was sad at the end – trapped into marriage by the romance genre of the play.