Twelfth Night, or What You Will


Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss one of Shakespeare’s great comedies, which plays in the space between marriage, love and desire. By convention a wedding means a happy ending and here there are three, but neither Orsino nor Viola, Olivia nor Sebastian know much of each other’s true character and even the identities of the twins Viola and Sebastian have only just been revealed to their spouses to be. These twins gain some financial security but it is unclear what precisely the older Orsino and Olivia find enduringly attractive in the adolescent objects of their love. Meanwhile their hopes and illusions are framed by the fury of Malvolio, tricked into trusting his mistress Olivia loved him and who swears an undefined revenge on all those who mocked him.


Pascale Aebischer
Professor of Shakespeare and Early Modern Performance Studies at the University of Exeter

Michael Dobson
Professor of Shakespeare Studies and Director of the Shakespeare Institute at the University of Birmingham


Emma Smith
Professor of Shakespeare Studies at Hertford College, University of Oxford

Produced by Simon Tillotson, Victoria Brignell and Luke Mulhall


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *