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        Twelfth Night Act 3 Sc 2 Lesson Plan

        In this lesson based on Act 3 Sc 2 of Twelfth Night, students discuss references to actual historical incidents in the play and characterizations of Olivia and Malvolio. Activities include journal prompts and an inquiry about fashion of the time.

        Lesson Summary


        Inside Olivia’s home Sir Andrew informs Sir Toby that he has decided to leave, feeling that wooing Olivia any longer is hopeless. He believes that Olivia has fallen for Cesario. Fabian, Olivia’s servant, and Toby try to convince Sir Andrew that all is not for naught. Fabian argues that Olivia is only using Cesario to make Sir Andrew jealous. He coaxes Sir Andrew to jump into the game and prove his manliness by physically eliminating Cesario. For if he does not, Olivia will surely believe he is unworthy of her affections.

        Toby advises Sir Andrew to write a nasty note that challenges Cesario to a duel so that he can win back Olivia’s affections.

        Maria enters with news of Malvolio’s strange behavior. She reports he has been seen wearing yellow stockings that are cross-gartered and smiling in a most ridiculous fashion.

        Toby must see it for himself. They all exit the stage in search of Malvolio.

        Close Reading Analysis:

        • Discussion Points:
          • Shakespeare makes reference to actual historical incidents within this scene.

            1. (Lines 26-28)…and you are now sailed into the North of my lady’s opinion, where you will hang like an icicle on a Dutchman’s beard…

            2. (Lines 79-80) He does smile his face into more lines than is in the new map with the augmentation of the Indies.

            How does Shakespeare utilize commonly known current events to accent his plays? How does this aid in the audience’s enjoyment? Does this happen in our dramas today? Give examples.

          • Characterization of Olivia

            At the beginning of the play, Olivia has sworn to live chaste for seven years, mourning her dead brother. How has her character changed? What does this say about her devotion? Does the audience fault her? She has become shameless in her zeal to win Cesario’s heart, being quite bold for a woman of her social standing.

          • Characterization of Malvolio

            Why are Malvolio’s yellow stockings, cross-gartered so outlandish based upon his character?

        Reading Assessments:

        • Journal Prompts:

          1. Why does Sir Toby want Sir Andrew to continue courting Olivia? How does this somehow benefit Sir Toby?

          2. In Line 115, Cesario says I pity you to Olivia. What initiates this line? Why would Cesario feel pity for Olivia?

        • Inquiry:

          1. What was the fashion of the time? Why did men wear stockings?


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