This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.



Saturday, 6 January 2018

Saturday Rave: Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night is famously sub-titled Or What You Will, which sub-title must surely be a display of petulance. The play itself hasn't, to the literal-minded, got a lot to do with Twelfth Night, and presumably one helpful person too many pointed this out to a frazzled Shakespeare, who I imagine snapped Well call it what you like then! only, being Shakespeare, naturally he did it in Elizabethan English...

...and some oaf of a copyist duly noted it down.

An intelligent observer, however, may have noted that Twelfth Night, with its cross-dressing and servants acting as if they are masters, is actually very like the antics and celebrations of 6 January in Elizabethan times (the play may have been first performed at Court on Twelfth Night) and might have wondered if Shakespeare was being a bit clever.

Shakespeare made a habit of that sort of thing, after all.

What further stresses and strains caused the poor Bard to put these following words into his character Fabian's mouth:

If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as improbable fiction.

I do not know, but perhaps he also had 'friends' pointing out that he'd done the mistaken identity/cross-dressing/twin thing quite enough in his Comedy of Errors.

But, hey, if that was the case they was wrong. We'll happily watch any amount of people blundering about, especially if they're people who think themselves important and fall over from time to time.

And if they're in love then basically it's all we could ever want...

...except Darth Vader, possibly, anyway.

File:Deverell Walter Howell Twelfth Night Act II Scene IV.jpg
painting by Walter Deverell

Word To Use Today: clever. This word appeared in the 1200s as cliver, which meant adroit.




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