What is the significance of Twelfth Night's alternative title, What You Will?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In my opinion, this play has this particular alternative title because it is not a very serious play.  The phrase "what you will" means something like "whatever you want."  It seems to me to indicate that Shakespeare does not take this play very seriously.

As I understand it, this was a play meant to be put on at the climax of the Christmas festival season.  This would mean that it was supposed to be a very light comedy that everyone would enjoy -- something sort of mindless.

I think that the alternative title reflects that.

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Twelfth Night

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