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Word Count: 634
Twelfth Night was the festival held on the night of the 5th January 12th night after Christmas and the night before the Epiphany the time the Three Wise Men visited Jesus This gives rise to its French name La Nuit Des Rois In medieval and Tudor times this festival was by tradition very rowdy it is possible that 12th Night was derived from the Roman festival of Saturnalia held in December which was renowned for its revelry One of the activities was a masquerade in which everyone wore masks to conceal their identity therefore also concealing their rank in society Another activity was mock King-for-a-Day in which a member of each household was chosen by lottery to be King It is consequently quite likely that a child or servant could be chosen and they would preside over their elders or masters respectively A director would be specially appointed for the festival In England he was called Lord or Abbot of Misrule and in Scotland Master of Unreason In 1601 there were particularly spectacular festivities as it was the turn of the century and the Queen Elizabeth I invited Don Virginio Orsino to the Palace of Whitehall for the celebrations This event gives rise to the theory put forward by Leslie Hotson in his book The Fist Night of Twelfth Night that this particular William Shakespeare play was specially written for that occasion All the activities of the festival have parallels in the play There is the suspension of normal relations between servants and masters the equivalent of the mock King-for-a-Day in the festival The servants and masters fall in love with someone of the opposite class Olivia master loves Cesario servant Cesario loves Orsino master Malvolio servant loves Olivia and also enjoys the fantasy of dominating Sir Toby Belch his master Sir Toby is in love with Maria servant and she with him The masquerade is represented by the impersonations that take place in
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