She's the Man vs. Twelfth Night | Teen Ink

She's the Man vs. Twelfth Night

May 3, 2011
By awritersesteem GOLD, Stafford, Virginia
awritersesteem GOLD, Stafford, Virginia
17 articles 0 photos 49 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Keep your fears to yourself, but share your inspiration with others."

-Robert Louis Stevenson

Do you ever wonder how in the world the modern-day movie ‘She’s The
Man’ could possibly be based off of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night? Well it is, mostly. Being a modernized version of the movie, it is alike and different in many ways. Their basic plot is very similar, as are most of the characters names. There are also small differences, such as Viola becoming Sebastian in She’s The Man, instead of Cesario.

You may wonder how is She’s The Man’s plot anything like The Twelfth Night’s plot? Well, Duke Orsino, The Duke of Illyria in Twelfth Night and the soccer captain in She’s The Man, is in love with Olivia in both. Olivia falls in love with Viola, who was disguised as Cesario in Twelfth Night, and Sebastian, her twin brother in both movies, in She’s The Man. Also, in both the movie and play, Viola is in love with Duke, who thinks she’s a male in both. Another way the plots are alike is that, Duke Orsino enlists Viola, whether she be disguised as Sebastian or Cesario, to help her win Olivia’s heart, which was a mistake considering Olivia falls in love with the disguised Viola. Also, in She’s The Man and Twelfth Night, Duke Orsino ends up with Viola, and Sebastian ends up with Olivia. They all get their happy ending. Another thing that makes the plots similar is that when Olivia professes her love to the disguised Viola and kisses her, it’s really Sebastian, accidently run into her in both. Another way, is that Olivia is grieving in both movies and that’s why she doesn’t want to date Duke, but in She’s The Man, it’s over her ex-boyfriend who had just dumped her because they had a bad relationship, and in Twelfth Night it was because of her brother and father dying. One last example is that Olivia has a man trying to woo her in both the play and movie. In She’s The Man, it’s Malcolm Feste, and in Twelfth Night it’s Sir Andrew Aguecheek. So, yes in both movies the plot, and it’s love triangle is very similar.

Another way you can tell She’s The Man and Twelfth Night are alike are the names used in the play and movie. Malvolio, who is Olivia’s steward in Twelfth Night, is also the name of Malcolm’s tarantula in She’s The Man. Feste, the clown in Twelfth Night, is also the last name of Malcolm in She’s The Man. Valentine, Duke Orsino’s page in Twelfth Night, is the last name of Monique, one of Viola’s friends in She’s The Man. Andrew and Toby, a man who loves Olivia and Olivia’s uncle in Twelfth Night, are the names of Duke Orsino’s soccer buddies in She’s The Man. Maria, Olivia’s woman in Twelfth Night, is the name of Olivia’s best friend in She’s The Man. Antonio, the sea captain in the Twelfth Night, is the last name of Paul, Viola’s friend who helps disguise her as a boy in She’s The Man. Orsino, Duke of Illyria in Twelfth Night, is simply Duke Orsino, the soccer captain, in She’s The Man. Duke being his first name and Orsino being his last name. Viola and Sebastian, twins in Twelfth Night, are also twins in She’s The Man. They keep the same names. Olivia, the countess Duke Orsino is infatuated with in Twelfth Night, is Olivia, a simple girl at their high school who Duke Orsino likes and has a huge crush on her in She’s The Man. The writers of She’s The Man found many ways to incorporate the names from Twelfth Night into their movie.

There are also many small references and likenesses to Twelfth Night in She’s The Man. One example, is when Viola, disguised as her twin brother Sebastian, walks through the Illyria Prep campus for the first time in She’s The Man, she passes a bulletin board that is advertising the school’s production of What You Will, the other name for Twelfth Night. Another example is that the pizza parlor where all the teenagers from Illyria Prep like to hang out in She’s The Man, is called Cesario’s, which is Viola’s alias in Twelfth Night. Also, Duke says the famous Shakespearean quote, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them!” (II. V. 129-130.) This is a popular saying from Twelfth Night. The quote was in the letter Malvolio read, which he thought was from Olivia, but was actually from Maria, who waned him to think it was from Olivia. Another way, and an obvious way, is that in Twelfth Night, Illyria, the name of the high school in She’s The Man, is also the name of the land where Twelfth Night is set. Also, Cornwall, the name of Viola and Sebastian’s former school in She’s The Man, is the country were Viola and Sebastian were originally from in Twelfth Night. One last small example, is that, In She’s The Man, Sebastian is returning home from London on the Twelfth, and it’s supposed to reflect on the name of the play She’s The Man was based off of, Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.

There are also quite a few differences between She’s The Man and Twelfth Night. Such as, in Twelfth Night, Viola discovers that Olivia fancies her, well her disguised self, in different ways. In Twelfth Night she figures it out when Malvolio giver her the ring that Olivia insists that the disguised Viola gave her, but Viola did not. We find out Viola’s realization in the soliloquy, “I am the man.”

I left no ring with her. What means this lady?Fortune forbid my outside have not charmed her.She made good view of me; indeed, so muchThat, as methought, her eyes had lost her tongue,For she did speak in starts distractedly.She loves me sure; the cunning of her passionInvites me in this churlish messenger.None of my lord's ring? Why, he sent her none.I am the man. If it be so, as 'tis,Poor lady, she were better love a dream.Disguise, I see thou art a wickednessWherein the pregnant enemy does much.How easy is it for the proper falseIn women's waxen hearts to set their forms!Alas, our frailty is the cause, not we,For such as we are made of, such we be.How will this fadge? My master loves her dearly;And I (poor monster) fond as much on him;And she (mistaken) seems to dote on me.What will become of this? As I am man,My state is desperate for my master's love.As I am woman (now alas the day!),What thriftless sighs shall poor Olivia breathe?O Time, thou must untangle this, not I;It is too hard a knot for me t' untie. (II. ii. 14-30)

Whereas in She’s The Man, we see Viola’s realization about Olivia fancying her disguised self when Viola, as herself not Sebastian, is talking to Olivia in the restroom at a party, and Olivia confesses that she has a huge ‘thing’ for Sebastian, and instead of the soliloquy in Twelfth Night, they do a modern twist where Viola thinks about it in a shocked, wordless state, in which she stares in a mirror, touches her face and smiles, before realizing just how wrong all of this is, and what a mess she is in. Another way is in Twelfth Night, Viola uses Cesario as her alias, becoming a whole new person, instead of becoming her brother. In She’s The Man, Viola dresses as her own twin brother Sebastian, which nobody at Illyria Prep had seen before. Another good example is that in Twelfth Night, Olivia wasn’t communicating with men because it was her way of grieving over the loss of her father and brother. In She’s The Man, she had just gotten over a bad relationship and didn’t want to be hurt again. In She’s The Man, Sebastian is away at a gig for his band in London, whereas in Twelfth Night, Sebastian went missing at sea and was thought by Viola to be dead. Another example, is that in She’s The Man, they put a comedic twist on the ending when all the drama unfolds, marking out the darker tones of the ending in Twelfth Night. So yes, obviously, She’s The Man is much more modern than Twelfth Night, and keeps almost none of the same script, except the basic plot, the main characters names, and a few quotes here and there.
Many reviews from She’s The Man say it is and is not a good Twelfth Night teen picture. Such as Roger Egbert.

I didn't for one second believe the plot of She's the Man, but Idid believe for the entire movie that Amanda Bynes was lovable.She plays a girl who pretends to be a boy in order to playsoccer. That this story is recycled from Shakespeare's TwelfthNight is something I report right here at the top so that wecan work together to put it out of our minds. (Roger Egbert,She’s The Man)
Roger Egbert also says,
Bynes plays Viola, the twin sister of Sebastian (James Kirk),who at the start of the movie conveniently sneaks away to Londonfor two weeks without telling anybody. This is much easier onViola than the Shakespeare version, in which she fears herbrother has perished at sea. (Roger Egbert, She’s The Man.)

There are many reviewers who would agree with him, but also many that would disagree. Jeremy C. Fox says that,
“And now the writers of 10 Things, Karen McCullah Lutz andKirsten Smith, are back to prove once again their ability toread Cliffs Notes, this time as co-writers (with Ewan Leslie) ofan adaptation of Twelfth Night, starring a couple of TVactresses as Viola and Olivia and an Abercrombie & Fitch modelas Orsino. Like I said, I’m not so sure what this says aboutShakespeare’s work.” (Jeremy C. Fox, Those That Are Fools, LetThem Use Their Talents.)So yes, She’s The Man is based off of Twelfth Night in many ways, but
it also mocks and plays with the meaning of the play quite a bit. It also is very different, in small and large ways, considering the time different between the play and movie. If you really want to know how, pick up a copy of the play, read it, and watch the movie yourself.

Works Cited
Shakespeare, William, and Alan Durband. Twelfth Night, Or, What You Will: Modern English Version
Side-by-side with Full Original Text. Woodbury, N.Y.: Barron's, 1985. Print. She's the Man. Dir. Andy Fickman. Prod. Lauren Shuler-Donner and Ewan Leslie. By Ewan Leslie.
Perf. Amanda Bynes, Channing Tatum, and Laura Ramsey. DreamWorks Distribution LLC, 2006. Shakespeare's Twelfth Night Essay, Summary, Quotes and Character Analysis." Absolute Shakespeare –
Plays, Quotes, Summaries, Essays... Web. 17 May 2010.<>
. Bloom, Harold. William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. New York: Chelsea House, 1987. Print. "She's the Man :: :: Reviews." :: Movie Reviews, Essays and the Movie
Answer Man from Film Critic Roger Ebert. Web. 20 May 2010.<
IEWS/60314005>. "She's the Man | Pajiba - Scathing Reviews for Bitchy People." Pajiba - Scathing Reviews for Bitchy People
(Reviews, Trailers, News, and Booze). Web. 20 May 2010.<>

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This article has 3 comments.

TigersFan00 said...
on Jun. 20 2016 at 5:56 am
How much time do you have? How did you find out all of this. LittlePony, everyone can tell that She's the Man is based on Twelfth Night, he stated that about 100 times.

LittlePony said...
on Mar. 22 2013 at 11:38 am
As a matter of facts, She's the Man is based on Twelfth Night!

on Feb. 23 2013 at 7:15 am
EllieLissieA SILVER, Portishead, Other
5 articles 4 photos 2 comments
I've never watched She's the Man, but I have seen a production of Twelfth Night. I would love to watch She's the Man now, but I bet if I hadn't read this I will never notice some of the names and things!