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Jan 11

Twelfth Night caricatures

I did these drawings while watching the movie Twelfth Night based on the play by William Shakespeare. The play is a real gender bender with the lead female character dressed a man most of the story. The cast of the movie contains many of great British character actors.


The story of Twelfth Night is the story of orphaned twins Viola and Sebastian who are separated during a storm at sea. Viola is rescued by the ship’s captain and they are wash up on the shore of a distant country that is at war with their own. Viola disguises herself as a man and serves Duke Orsino who is wooing the Lady Olivia. The Lady Olivia falls for the disguised Viola who is falling for the Duke. As you can see it is in classic Shakespeare fashion there are misunderstandings and confusion until we get to the happy ending where Viola is reunited with her brother and everyone is in love.

I always find it fascinating how they adapt Shakespeare into modern movies by keeping the dialog, but changing the setting, reading, pacing and editing to add new meaning and ideas. For instance Viola’s brother Sebastian is saved by a sailor, Antonio who in the original play is just a dedicated friend. But in the movie he is shown to be attracted to the young Sebastian. There are also scenes where the confused Duke Orsino is feeling very odd feelings for the disguised Viola, who he believes to be a young man. The words never change, but how they are said and how they are show do.

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