Here’s another interesting piece of information concerning Twelfth Night: one critic, Leslie Hotson, contends the play was written by request of Queen Elizabeth for the festivities on Twelfth Night, January 6, 1601, in her palace at Whitehall on Twelfth Night, when she entertained Virginio Orsino, Duke of Bracciano, an emissary from Italy. “Twelfth Night,” of course, refers to the Feast of the Epiphany, the twelfth and culminating day of the Christmas season. By the end of the 15thC the riotous Feast of Fools, a kind of annual orgy celebrating a world turned upside down, originally associated with Epiphany, had been driven out of the church and forced to adopt less overtly blasphemous forms. In secular society, however, it continued to flourish during Shakespeare’s lifetime. Thus, in naming his play Twelfth Night, Shakespeare probably wanted to summon up images of the Epiphany as it was kept in his own time: a period of holiday abandon in which the normal rules and order of life were suspended or else deliberately inverted, in which serious issues and events mingled in a confusing way with revelry and apparent madness. The Riverside Edition of the Collected Works of Shakespeare provides a fuller account of this history.