The characters of Twelfth Night are both memorable and engaging and it is through their funny and at times bitter, interplay that we experience the peculiar world of Shakespeare's Illyria. This study begins with a introduction to the concept of 'characters' on the early-modern stage before proceeding to a textual analysis of each of the main characters in the play, looking at how what they say and do, and what is said about them, creates the illusion of 'character'. Each chapter also contains a brief account of key performances by actors on stage and in film. Character Studies aims to promote sophisticated literary analysis through the concept of character. It demonstrates the necessity of linking character analysis to texts' themes, issues and ideas, and encourages students to embrace the complexity of literary characters and the texts in which they appear. The series thus fosters close critical reading and evidence-based discussion, as well as an engagement with historical context, and with literary criticism and theory.
Graham Atkin is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Chester, UK. His publications include Studying Shakespeare: A Practical Guide (Prentice Hall, 1998)