All of Shakespeare Before the 450th: Fourth Down


It took more than 12 nights for me to get through it, but it was fun doing it. Over the weekend, I finished my fourth Shakespeare play—“Twelfth Night; or, What You Will”—in my effort to read all the Bard’s works by April 2014.

My first exposure to Twelfth Night was as a very entertaining movie version where the play had been transported to 19th century England. So I was looking forward to reading the play. The play was fun with confused identities, misunderstandings, devious pranks coming together for a great romantic comedy. “She’s the Man” is a more modified modern version (this time in an American high school), but the movie goes out of its way to use names from the play: Viola, Illyria, Sebastian, Duke Orsino and Olivia. I think I’ll watch both movies again.

Quotes that appealed to me (for various reasons):

Duke: Enough; no more; ‘Tis not so sweet now as it was before.

Viola: There is a fair behaviour in thee, captain; and though that nature with a beauteous wall doth oft close in pollution, yet of thee I will believe thou hast a mind that suits with this thy fair and outward character.

Maria: Now, sir, thought is free.

Clown: Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage…. (My favorite.)

Clown: Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.

Sebastian: My stars shine darkly over me….

Viola: O time, thou must untangle this, not I; it is too hard a knot for me to untie.

Clown: Youth’s a stuff will not endure.

Malvolio: Is there no respect of place, person, nor time, in you?

Maria: …a horse of that colour.

Fabian: O, peace! Now he’s deeply in; look how imagination blows him.

Malvolio: …be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.

Clown: A sentence is but a cheveril glove to a good wit. How quickly the wrong side may be turned outward!

Clown: She will keep no fool, sir, till she be married.

Sir Toby Belch: Taste you legs, sir; put them to motion.

Olivia: ‘Twas never merry world, since lowly feigning was call’d compliment….

Sir Toby Belch: …since before Noah was a sailor.

Olivia: I’m as mad as he, if sad and merry madness equal be.

Sir Toby Belch: …defy the devil: consider, he’s an enemy to mankind.

Fabian: If this were played upon the stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction.

Antonio: In nature there’s no blemish but the mind; none can be call’d deform’d but the unkind: Virtue is beauty; but the beauteous-evil are empty trunks o’erflourish’d by the devil.

Clown: For as the old hermit of Prague, that never saw pen and ink, very wittily said to a niece of King Gorboduc, That that is, is….

Clown: …there is no darkness but ignorance…

Next up: Measure for Measure

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