Putting Twelfth Night in context: a summary of sources

This summary of sources is a quick and easy way to explore the contexts for Twelfth Night – from early tales of confusion between twins, to ideas about men playing women, women wearing men’s clothes, carnival and topsy-turvy.

Ideas for using this resource:

  • Use it as a handy guide to the site’s rich sources on Twelfth Night. There’s a link to each of the items, so you can explore them further through fuller descriptions, accessible analysis and vibrant visual images.
  • Divide the sources amongst your group. Each person could highlight the key facts, find relevant quotes from Twelfth Night and share their findings with others. Together you could then explore how Shakespeare reflects or challenges the ideas in these sources.
  • Select three of these ideas to weave into an essay on Twelfth Night. Raise your grade by showing your understanding of the contexts in which the play was written and received.
  • Project the images onto your screen and use them as a springboard for discussing key themes and questions raised in Twelfth Night.
  • Print out the coloured hand-out and use it as a revision guide.