Language overview

The way we write and speak has changed a lot over the past 400 years since Shakespeare wrote his plays, so don’t be put off if you find Shakespeare’s words difficult.

There is lots of witty word-play in Twelfth Night which adds to the comedy. There are also plenty of references to love and music, starting with Orsino’s famous opening lines If music be the food of love, play on.

Shakespeare used the following aspects of language in Twelfth Night to present his themes and characters:

  • rhythm and rhyme
  • imagery and metaphor