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Shakespeare Connected - Shakespeare and Religious War

Twelfth Night, 1987.

Some say that the yellow-stockinged, cross-gartered Malvolio looks remarkably like the coat of arms awarded to John Shakespeare (Shakespeare’s father) in 1596. But why on earth would Shakespeare the dramatist associate himself with the downtrodden Malvolio?

Twelfth Night is full of mirror-like opposites. The main plot features identical male and female twins, and the names Viola, Olivia and even Malvolio all seem to merge into one another. Thinking of which, ‘Malvolio’ means something like Ill-Will...

The message is that, with another turn of ‘the whirligig of time’, the Other could easily be us and we could be like the Other. And then, as Thomas More asks, ‘What would you say to be thus used?’


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Detail of painting of Ann Hathaway, by Roger Brian Dunn, 2010, from the pen drawing by Sir Nathaniel Curzon of Kedlestone (1708). 

SBT 2010-1