John Basil, founding member of the American Globe Theatre in New York City, directed graduate students from Penn State's School of Theatre in this production of selected scenes from William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night during Penn State's 2007 theatre season.
Jennifer Evans, Josie Gildow, and Gary Masquelier, English teachers from central Pennsylvania, wrote lesson plans based on these video segments.
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Sebastian delivers a soliloquy in which he marvels at the unbelievable fortune of having (literally) stumbled into Olivia’s affections. He declares that, although all evidence points to this situation being completely real, he still feels like it’s too good to be true. Olivia enters the scene and proposes that the two of them head straight to the chapel to be betrothed, and Sebastian willingly follows.
Caprice / Levels of love
Much of Sebastian’s soliloquy revolves around the notion of dream and fantasy versus observable reality. He states, For though my soul disputes well with my sense / That this may be some error, but no madness, / Yet doth this accident and flood of fortune / So far exceed all instance, all discourse, / That I am ready to distrust mine eyes / And wrangle with my reason that persuades me / To any other trust but that I am mad, / Or else the lady’s mad…there’s something in’t / That is deceivable. (9-16; 20-21).
How do these lines further the theme of caprice in the play? Also, what might Shakespeare be saying about love in this instance? Is it believable that Olivia would ask Sebastian to marry her so soon after meeting him? How good do we feel about their relationship, considering that she is actually mistaking him for the person she actually fell in love with—his sister? And considering that Sebastian has reason to believe Olivia (or he) may be crazy? What exactly is this relationship based on?
1. What makes a good relationship? Does Olivia and Sebastian’s relationship meet your criteria? What do you predict for their future together? Where will they be in ten years?