chapter  9
28 Pages

Twelfth Night

As for the plot, Shakespearean comedy is typically complicated in its narrative structure: even so, Twelfth Night is unusually ambitious in the number of narratives which it sets going simul­ taneously, and the complexity with which they need to interrelate. It attempts simultaneously to create both the accelerating fuguelike structure of a good farce, and also a series of characters who are allowed their own space to develop emotionally complex or subtle relationships with each other and with the audience. There are so many narratives going on at the same time that it is easy for an audience to lose track of everything that is happening. Plots of disguise and cross-dressing become interwoven with stories of mistaken identities, separated twins and (again) lost brothers; tricks are played on several characters simultaneously; and there is not one love-story but many.