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The Twelve Fates of Twelfth Night



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Cartari. Imagines deorum. Lyons, 1581.

 
June 2004
 
Steven Christiansen teaches English at Estacada High School near Portland, Oregon.
 

Plays/Scenes Covered
Twelfth Night, 1.1-2.2
 
What's On for Today and Why

After finishing 2.2 of Twelfth Night, students will discuss the theme of "fate" in the play and attempt to determine the fate that awaits each of the play's main characters.

 

This lesson will take about 30 minutes in class, with a homework assignment to follow.


 
What You Need

Folger edition of Twelfth Night
Available in Folger print edition and Folger Digital Texts


 
What To Do
1. Read 2.1 and 2.2 of Twelfth Night together as a class.

2. Ask students what "fate" is. Discuss the answers as a class. Do they believe in fate?

3. After finishing reading 2.2, ask the students which characters have talked about fate thus far in Twelfth Night. Have them give specific line numbers, if possible.

4. Remind the students of the following passages that they've read already:
Viola, 1.2.50-64, page 13.
Olivia, 1.5.315-18, page 45.
Antonio, 2.1.43-47, page 51.
Viola, 2.2.40-41, page 55.

5. Tell the students that there are twelve characters in Twelfth Night (how interesting) whose fates we learn as an audience during the course of the play: Viola, Olivia, Maria, Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, Malvolio, Feste, Fabian, Orsino, Sebastian, Antonio, and the Captain. Ask the students to predict the fate of each of thse characters: to predict what will happen to each over the course of the play and where each will end up. The students should also write a few sentences for each character explaining why they are making those predictions. This assignment can be due in 15 minutes, the next day, or in two days.

6. Have an alternate assignment for students who have already seen or read the play: perhaps they can pick a single character and show action by action what brought this character to his "fate".

7. Keep the predictions until the class has finished reading the play, then have the students compare their earlier predictions with how the play has actually turned out.
 
How Did It Go?
Did students gain an understanding of how the idea of fate works in the play? Were they able to make predictions about the fates of each character and explain each prediction with evidence gathered from the text? Were they successful in making their predictions?
 


If you used this lesson, we would like to hear how it went and about any adaptations you made to suit the needs of YOUR students.

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  Common Core State Standards

There are no standards associated with this Lesson Plan.
 
 


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