We went to London for our honeymoon, which of course meant we had to go to the Globe to see a play. We got to see my absolute favorite play Midsummer Night’s Dream, and then Twelfth Night. Twelfth Night was especially fun because they did it in traditional style with men playing all of the parts. As a result it’s kept a pretty special place in my heart over the years and so when my daughter said, “Mom, I’m picking Twelfth Night for my book and a movie this month.” Of course, I said, “Yes! Let’s have a Twelfth Night unit.”
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Twelfth Night Unit
Here’s the thing, Twelfth Night is a Shakespearean comedy, which means there are tropes!
I love tropes. Especially the common Shakespeare tropes.
Just watching the Shakespeare summarized you find:
- lost family member assumed dead
- separated twins
- the fool characters
- mistaken identity, so much mistaken identity
- cross dresssing
Oh gosh, I just found a clip from another of the Globe’s productions of Twelfth Night, so similar to the one I saw, I thought it was the same one.
Let’s take each of these tropes and talk about them:
- Shakespeare uses this plot in a couple of his other comedies, how does this lend itself to confusion in the plot?
- Again twins separated is used in two or three of Shakespeare’s comedies. How is this trope used differently than in the other Shakespeare comedies?
- Much of the mistaken identity revolves around Viola and her twin Sebatian in the last few acts as people keep thinking Sebastian is her as Cesario. In several of the scenes, the characters could clear it all up with just a few statements. How would you clear up the confusion if you were in that situation?
- Cross-dressing, this storyline is played for comedy, but dressing as a man allows Viola to do things she would not normally be able to do. How have gender roles changed over the years?
And because there are a lot of great free Twelfth Night units and discussion questions:
- Twelfth Night discussion questions
- Twelfth Night questions for younger kids (though it could also make a great starting point)
- Questions on Study.com
Twelfth Night Snacks
Jeff and I have a fondness for this production of Twelfth Night, but I just found out there’s a DVD copy of the Globe production I shared a clip from.
I’m not really sure why some of the snacks we did were picked, like why sugar donuts for twins?
- cucumber sandwiches- because there were quite a lot of tea times happening, or strongly implied
- sweet nothings- chocolate fondue with various items to dip in it
- scones- because you always need scones
- tea cookies- I randomly found some kind of tea cake that looked delicious
- love letters- everyone’s favorite graham crackers with marshmallow fluff
- beer- root beer
- mistaken identity- chocolate covered donuts which ties right in with
- twins- powdered sugar donuts
- swords- pretzel sticks, which could also be dipped in that chocolate fondue
- canon balls- meatballs
Some more great Shakespeare posts
- How to teach Shakespeare to kids
- Henry V Unit
- Introducing your kids to live Shakespeare
- Midsummer Night’s Dream Unit
- Shakespeare at the Movies
“Walter Howell Deverell (British, 1827 – 1854), Twelfth Night, Act II, Scene IV (1850)” by sofi01 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
This is a fun play! Our local high school just put it on 🙂