What is the significance of Shakespeare's title Twelfth Night, and how did the title come into use?
Shakespeare scholars believe that Twelfth Night, or What You Will was commissioned by Queen Elizabeth I as part of the Twelfth Night celebration held at Whitehall Palace on January 6, 1602. The occasion of the celebration was the end of the diplomatic service to Elizabeth's court of Don Virginio Orsino, Duke of Bracciano.
Perhaps Shakespeare hoped to honor or flatter the Duke by naming the character of Orsino after him. Hopefully, the real Duke Orsino had a good sense of humor about being portrayed as the impulsive, lovelorn Orsino in Shakespeare's play.
The title of the play might have been...
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