Why did Shakespeare title his play Twelfth Night?

Expert Answers info

Kale Emmerich eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2019

write1,161 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night is intended to take place at the Feast of Epiphany—the night of the twelfth day of Christmas, or January 5. The events of the play transpire around this celebration. This celebration is a festive occasion, full of ribaldry and partying, very different from more reserved celebrations of the actual date of Christmas.

The play was meant to be a fun, bawdy experience with raucous celebration and innocent foolery. Shakespeare saw this date as an excellent setting for the play—since there is so much festivity and craziness that already occurs, it is rife with potentially humorous situations. This jovial atmosphere and potential for humor make the twelfth night celebration an ideal setting for Shakespeare’s play.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write9,531 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

In Shakespeare's day, the eve of the Epiphany—the day when the Magi visited the baby Jesus in Bethlehem—was greeted with riotous celebrations that briefly upended established social conventions. This was one of the few occasions in the year when...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 638 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write9,485 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Tamara K. H. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write3,619 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences



Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial