Twelfth Night Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Teaching students about Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night' can actually be fun! This lesson plan uses text and video lessons to guide students through the main content while an activity allows for some creativity.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • summarize Shakespeare's Twelfth Night
  • identify key characters from Twelfth Night
  • analyze the themes present in the play


2 to 2.5 hours

Curriculum Standards


Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.


Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.


Analyze the impact of the author's choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed).


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful. (Include Shakespeare as well as other authors.)


Analyze how an author's choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text (e.g., the choice of where to begin or end a story, the choice to provide a comedic or tragic resolution) contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact.


Analyze a case in which grasping a point of view requires distinguishing what is directly stated in a text from what is really meant (e.g., satire, sarcasm, irony, or understatement).


  • Copies of Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
  • A worksheet created using quiz1 and quiz2 from the associated lessons


Note: This lesson plan is designed for use with students who have read Twelfth Night in its entirety.

  • Give students 30 minutes to summarize in writing the events that take place in Twelfth Night.
  • When 30 minutes has elapsed, give them an additional 15 minutes to write about key themes in the play.
  • When the students have finished with the themes, give them an additional 15 minutes to identify key characters in the play before collecting their papers.
  • Read the 'Truth is Stranger Than Fiction' section of the text lesson What Is Twelfth Night About? - Plot & Summary aloud to the class now.
  • Now have the class read the rest of the text lesson on their own.
  • When they have finished reading the text lesson, pass out the students' papers to the class, making sure that each student has the paper of a fellow student rather than their own.
  • Now have them review the summary section of their classmate in light of what they learned from the text lesson. Ask them to rank their classmate's summary using the following scale: 1 is excellent, 2 is average, and 3 is poor.
  • Have the students swap papers, again ensuring that no one has their own paper and repeat this process of reviewing and ranking the summary.
  • Now play the video lesson Twelfth Night: Themes, Quotes and Cross-Dressing Characters, pausing at 2:48.
  • Have the students review and rank the theme and characters sections of their classmates' papers using what they learned in the video lesson and the same scoring scale.
  • When the students have finished reviewing and scoring the themes and characters sections, have them swap papers again ensuring that no one has their own paper and repeat the process for a second time on the themes and character sections review and scoring.
  • Have the students return the papers to their owners.
    • How do the students feel about the scores they earned from their peers?
    • How could they improve their papers?

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account