The Herald is currently on hold and will be updated in late February – please come back at the beginning of March.
Rhoscolyn has a fascinating history, with its patron saint, Gwenfaen, first making her home and church here in 630 AD. Some say that the druids’ last stand against the Romans, who invaded Mona (Anglesey) in 60 or 61 AD, was at Cymyran, the inland sea between Mona and Holy Island and the open sea, south of Four Mile Bridge. Anglesey itself also has a very interesting history – did you know that the druids had their last stand on the island, against the Romans before fleeing (those that survived) to Ireland? More about that another time.
Twelfth Night is widely considered to be January 5th the eve of the Epiphany and the last day of the Christmas festivities. This assumes one starts counting from Christmas day. Some people consider 12th Night to be 6th January, Epiphany, starting from Boxing Day. According to superstition it is bad luck to leave your decorations up after this. This stems back to the olden days when people used to decorate their homes with ivy and holly and thought that tree spirits lived in the greenery, so they made sure that all their festive ornaments and trimmings were taken down in the first week of the New Year to set them free. If this custom wasn’t followed it was said to affect the vegetation and greenery for the next twelve months.
SHAKESPEARE’S TWELFTH NIGHT
Twelfth Night opens with the lovesick, Orsino, Duke of Illyria feeling sorry for himself as his beautiful neighbour, Countess Olivia, has been rejecting his advances. She has sworn to have nothing to do with men for seven years as she plans to spend that time mourning the death of her brother.
On the coast of Illyria there has been a shipwreck. A young woman, Viola, has survived and is stranded on the beach. She has heard reports that her twin brother was drowned in the stormy sea. In spite of her grief, she decides to be positive and seek a job in Illyria. She has heard of the Duke and, with the help of a sea captain she disguises herself as a boy and is appointed as a page in Orsino’s household.
Orsino is determined to woo Olivia in one way or another and he sends Viola, now known as Cesario, to do it on his behalf. The first complication is that Viola has fallen in love with Orsino at first sight. The next is that after going through the wooing process she is pursued by Olivia’s pompous steward, Malvolio to give her a ring from Olivia, who has fallen in love with the young page.
Olivia has a large household with several servants and guests, including her fat, gluttonous, drunkard uncle, Sir Toby Belch, who lives permanently with her. He has welcomed the absurd Sir Andrew Aguecheek, who is visiting him in the hope of being able to woo his niece, and encourages him in his hopeless venture, taking money from him and making fun of him. Their late night drinking and carousing has angered Malvolio, who threatens them. With the help of some servants, including one of Olivia’s ladies in waiting, Maria, they use a false letter to trick him into believing that Olivia is in love with him. In the letter she tells the black-clad puritan to appear in the latest fashion – yellow stocking and cross-garters – and to smile, something no-one has ever seen him do. He does that and Olivia is horrified. Malvolio is locked up in a dark cell as a madman.
We now learn that Viola’s twin brother, Sebastian, has also survived the shipwreck and with the help of Antonio, a pirate captain, goes into the town. He meets Olivia who thinks he is Cesario. She declares her love for him and they become engaged. Sir Andrew, jealous of the disguised Viola, led on by Sir Toby, challenges the young page to a duel. Neither wants to fight but, egged on by Sir Toby, they begin the duel. Antonio, passing by, thinking that Cesario is Sebastian, intervenes and, recognised by the police as the wanted pirate, is arrested.
All the confusion is resolved when everyone sees the twins together. The plot against Malvolio is exposed and he is released, assuring the plotters that he will get his revenge on them. Orsino realises that he is in love with Viola and promises to marry her as soon as she dresses as a woman. Olivia and Sebastian celebrate their union.