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Illyria is the setting of one of William Shakespeare’s most popular comedies, ‘Twelfth Night.’ Illyria is not a typical place; it is a place where many unusual things happen. Learn more about Illyria and test your knowledge with a quiz.

Illyria in Twelfth Night

When we think of stories involving mystery, adventure and romance, we often think of them taking place in far-off, exotic lands. Twelfth Night is a comedy written by William Shakespeare. It tells the story of the odd occurrences that take place in a woman’s life after she is shipwrecked on one such exotic island.The setting of Twelfth Night is in Illyria, an ancient region of land on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. Illyria is not exactly the place readers might expect it to be. The characters in the play are people of noble birth.

However, they behave like commoners who only want to have a good time. Critics believe Shakespeare set Twelfth Night in Illyria to convey that the world, along with the story’s content, is unexpected and unusual.Although Twelfth Night is entirely fictional, Illyria was actually a real place in classical antiquity. It was also one that many Europeans likely had no real knowledge of.

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It is possible that William Shakespeare chose Illyria as the setting for Twelfth Night for this reason, and because Illyria has a mild climate and was remote and exotic. Shakespeare also mentioned Illyria in Henry VI, Part II, where he claimed it was known for piracy. Despite the fact that an actual Illyria once existed, the Illyria of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is based in fiction.

Characters in Twelfth Night

The characters in Twelfth Night also make Illyria appear to be a fascinating place of mystery, with people who dress in disguise and lead very interesting lives.

When the main character in the story, Viola, lands in Illyria, the people at Countess Olivia’s house are having fun and partying. Instead of partying with the people in her house, Olivia locks herself in her room and mourns the loss of her brother. These behaviors persist throughout the course of the play.

Illyria, like the characters in Twelfth Night, is unusual and abnormal.

Lesson Summary

Illyria is the setting of William Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night. It is an unusual place with characters who behave in unusual ways. The real Illyria was located near the coast of the Adriatic Sea, in the Northwestern region of the Balkan Peninsula. The fictional Illyria of Twelfth Night is an ideal setting for the play because the place, like the characters, is unusual.

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