Literary Conflict in Twelfth Night
Updated: 3/7/2018
Literary Conflict in Twelfth Night
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Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

Lesson Plans by Kristy Littlehale

Twelfth Night is a lighter piece by William Shakespeare, and a good break from the usual tragedies and histories he is most well-known for. The play challenges the traditional gender roles of the time by putting a woman (Viola) into a very convincing man’s disguise. She is so convincing that Olivia falls in love with her and Orsino never notices. The play also follows a subplot which finds Malvolio questioning his sanity in a dark room while wearing yellow stockings. Students are likely to laugh at this play, be intrigued by the themes of deceit, disorder, madness, the triviality of love, and wonder at the implausibility of such a case of mistaken identity ever happening today!

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Twelfth Night Literary Conflict

Storyboard Text

  • Sir Andrew is very jealous of Cesario because he holds the attentions of the Countess Olivia, even though Cesario is really Viola in disguise. He challenges Cesario to a duel at the prompting of Sir Toby.
  • Malvolio, who is also in love with Olivia, begins to act like a crazy person as he follows instructions from a fake letter until he is locked in a dark room. Feste, the Fool, dresses as a priest and taunts him, making Malvolio begin to wonder if he really has gone mad.
  • A shipwreck at the beginning of the play places twins Viola and Sebastian on the island of Illyria, in the western Balkan islands. Each believes the other has drowned at sea, and they both think they have now lost all of their family members.
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