Summary of 'Twelfth Night' (Higher School Certificate 1998)
Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare, c. 1601.
Scene One - The palace of the Duke Orsino.
Orsino tells Curio to continue the music, that his love may be fed until it sickens and dies. He comments that love seems to have a large appetite. Orsino says, further, that Olivia turned him into a hart (a deer), pursued by emotion. Valentine enters, and tells Orsino that Olivia refused to admit him, nor listen to his plea. She has vowed that every day for seven years she will cry for her brother, who has died. Orsino exclaims that if she loved a brother such, she will love a husband immensely.
"O spirit of love, how quick and fresh art thou,/That, not withstanding thy capacity,/Receiveth as the sea." - Orsino
"And my desires, like fell and cruel hounds,/E'er since pursue me." - Orsino
"Love-thoughts lie rich when canopied with bow'rs." - Orsino
Scene Two - The seacoast of Illyria.
Viola questions the captain as to where she is. He tells her she is in Illyria, and she replies that she should not be anywhere - Sebastian is dead. The captain tells her that when he was last seen he was binding himself to a mast, and floated away over the waves.
The captain then tells her about Illyria, about Orsino's spurned love for Olivia. Viola wishes she could closet herself as a servant of Olivia until her estate is settled. She instead decides to disguise herself as a man, with the aid of the captain, and serve Orsino as a eunuch. The captain agrees to help with the disguise.
"And though that nature with a beauteous wall/Doth oft close in pollution, yet of thee/I will believe thou hast a mind that suits/With this thy fair and outward character." - Viola.
"What else may hap, to time I will commit;/Only shape thy silence to my wit." - Viola.
Scene Three - The house of Countess Olivia.
Sir Toby is complaining about the deep mourning of Olivia (who is his niece). Maria reprimands him for his drunkenness. Sir Toby tells her that he will be no better than he is, no finer. Maria tells him that Olivia talks of his debauchery, and his 'foolish' friends. Sir Toby boasts about the standing of Sir Andrew Aguecheek, and his accomplishments. Sir Toby claims his constant drunkenness is due to toasting the health of Olivia.
Sir Andrew appears. Sir Toby attempts to introduce him to Maria, but he misinterprets him, and muddles Maria's name. Sir Andrew confesses to being humourless, and unaccomplished. Sir Toby hopes to see him with a woman yet. Sir Andrew mournfully declares that Olivia does not seem interested in him. Sir Toby replies that she is not interested in Orsino either. Sir Toby goads him into displaying his 'skill' at dancing, and so he does.
"I'll confine myself no finer than I am." - Sir Toby.
"She'll not match above her degree, neither in estate, years, nor wit..." - Sir Toby, referring to Olivia.
Scene Four - The place of Duke Orsino.
Valentine is telling Viola (disguised as 'Cesario') that 'he' has the favour of Orsino. Orsino appears and reminds 'Cesario' that he has unfolded his heart to 'him'. He tells 'Cesario' to go to Olivia, and wait at her gates, and not be refused admittance. Viola tells him that it appears highly unlikely that she will be admitted. Orsino refuses to allow her plea, but insists that she carry the tale of his love to Olivia. He believes that 'Cesario's' youth will lead Olivia to listen.
Viola will do whatever he says, but mourns, for she loves him and wishes to marry him.
"You either fear his humour or my negligence, that you call into question the continuance of his love" - Viola.
"And all is semblative a woman's part" - Orsino, to Viola, 'Cesario'.
"Yet a barful strife!/Whoe'er I woo, myself would be his wife." - Viola.
Scene Five - Within the house of Olivia.
Maria asks the Clown where he has been, and tells him Olivia will have him executed for his absence. He replies that the dead have nothing to fear. Maria argues with him. The Clown declares that wisdom is god-given, but fools too may use their talents. They play with puns on 'points' (which fasten clothing). The Clown compliments her, she is the wittiest woman in Illyria.
Olivia arrives Malvolio. Olivia asks her servants to take away the fool, but the Clown argues that she is the fool - mourning a brother whom she believes to be in heaven. Olivia believes that he becomes wittier, but Malvolio believes he is becoming senile. The Clown wishes him the same - it would make him a better fool. Malvolio believes him no wit - even the most stupid fool could better him. Olivia tells Malvolio that he is conceited, that he is too serious, that there is nothing to reprove in a fool. The Clown thanks her.
Maria tells Olivia that 'Cesario' waits at the gates. She sends Malvolio to deal with him. Sir Toby tells Olivia of 'Cesario's' suit. Malvolio returns, and tells her that the man at the gates will not be denied. After hearing of his age, Olivia decides to hear him.
Viola enters, and asks Olivia is she is the lady of the house - she would hate to waste her speech on one who was not. Viola refuses to reveal her origins. Olivia refuses to hear her praise-filled opening. Viola begins, but Olivia replies that she has heard her text before - she does not believe it. But she allows 'Cesario' to view her face. Viola tells her she is beautiful - if her face is natural. Olivia thinks less of her face.
Viola tells her of Orsino's mad love, but Olivia says she has already answered that. Viola tells her that if she loved her, not her master, that the love would keep her outside, singing her praises all night. Olivia will not accept her message, and sends her back. She instructs for no more emissaries, save that 'Cesario' return to tell her how her master takes it. Olivia tries to get Viola to reveal her family, but she reveals only their class, and relative poverty.
Olivia, alone, speculates on 'Cesario's' beauty. She feels it creep upon her, and accepts it. She calls Malvolio, and sends a ring with him to 'Cesario', telling him that 'Cesario' forced it upon her. She calls upon fate to reveal itself.
"Well, God give them wisdom that have it, and those that are fools, let them use their talents." - Clown.
"'Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.'" - Clown, quoting from an imaginary 'Quinapalus'.
"Anything that is mended is but patched; virtue that transgresses is but patched with sin, and sin that amends is but patched with virtue." - Clown.
"To be generous, guiltless, and of free disposition, is to take those things for bird-bolts that you deem cannon bullets. There is no slander in an allowed fool, though he do nothing but rail; nor no railing in a known discreet man, though he do nothing but reprove." - Olivia.
"... the fool shall look to the madman." - Clown.
"O, I have read it, it is heresy." - Olivia, on Orsino's love.
"Methinks I feel this youth's perfections/With an invisible and subtle stealth/To creep in at mine eyes. Well, let it be." - Olivia.
"What is decreed must be - and be this so!" - Olivia.
Scene One - A lodging some distance from Orsino's court.
Antonio asks Sebastian if he will stay longer, or allow Antonio to accompany him. Sebastian replies in the negative. He thinks his fate might shadow Antonio. He tells him that he does not know where he is headed, he must wander, but as Antonio is honest and humble, he discloses his intention. He reveals his true name, and that he is the son of Sebastian of Messaline. He reveals also that he has a twin sister, and that he wishes the two who were born in a single hour, had died within one. He is sure that Viola has drowned. He then tells Antonio that he feels so tenderly that he weeps. He tells him he is leaving for the court of Orsino.
Antonio resolves to follow him, despite his enemies in the court.
"My stars shine darkly over me; the malignancy of my fate might perhaps distemper yours." - Sebastian.
"He left behind him myself and a sister, both born in an hour. If the heavens had been pleased, would we has so ended!" - Sebastian
"A lady, sir, though it was said she much resembled me, was yet of many accounted beautiful. But though of such estimable wonder overfar believe that, yet thus far I will boldly publish her: she bore a mind that envy could not but call fair." - Sebastian
"She is drowned already, sir, with salt water, though I seem to drown her remembrance again with more." - Sebastian
Scene Two - A street near Olivia's house
Malvolio asks Viola whether it was her that was recently with Olivia. She replies, yes. Malvolio offers the ring, and wonders why she could not have taken it away herself. His message reminds Viola to tell Orsino Olivia does not want him, and that Viola may not come again, except to tell Olivia how he took the news. Viola replies that Olivia took the ring from her. Malvolio claims she threw it at Olivia, and he thus throws it back to her. She may take it, or let it lie for whomever to find.
Viola is puzzled. She gave no ring to Olivia. She realises in horror that her appearance has charmed Olivia. She remembers some of the looks she was given, that Olivia was stammering. That is why the ring was sent. She realises her disguise is 'wicked', and invites love to take over. She reflects on the mess, that she loves Orsino, he loves Olivia and Olivia loves her. Her disguise means that she will never have Orsino's love, and Olivia will never have hers. She leaves the mess for time to unravel, she cannot do it.
"If it be worth stooping for, there it lies, in your eye; if not, be it his that finds it." - Malvolio
"Fortune forbid my outside hath not charmed her." - Viola
"as methought, her eyes had lost her tongue" - Viola
"If it be so, as 'tis [echoes of "be this so!"],/Poor lady, she were better love a dream." - Viola
"Disguise, I see thou art a wickedness" - Viola
"Alas, our frailty is the cause, not we,/For such as we are made of, such we be." - Viola
"O Time, thou must untangle this, not I;/It is too hard a knot for me t' untie." - Viola.
Scene Three - Within Olivia's house
Sir Toby baits Sir Andrew with Latin. It is unhealthy to be up past midnight, and healthy to rise at dawn. They call for more wine. The Clown arrives. Sir Andrew praises him, his appearance, voice and foolery. He asks him if he received the sixpence he had sent to him. The Clown replies yes, he pocketed it, due to Olivia's hand and the warrior's example. Sir Toby cries for a song, and they agree to a love song.
The Clown sings of lovers separated, but with their paths intertwined, and again of youth passing, the young lovers should not delay, 'ere their youth fails. Sir Andrew and Sir Toby praise his voice. However, they then decide to sing a catch. The Clown tells them that the words will require him to call them 'knave'. Sir Andrew replies that this happens often to him.
Maria enters, and scolds them for their noise. She thinks Olivia has sent Malvolio to quiet them. The three sing and fool to her. She cries again for quiet as Malvolio appears. Malvolio is horrified that they have no respect for Olivia, or her house. If they do not show such respect, she will turn them out of doors.
Sir Toby sings to him, and cries that all his virtue will not stop the cakes and ale. Maria is sent for more wine, and Malvolio is disgusted. When he is gone, Maria implies he is an ass. Sir Andrew declares that he will make a fool of him. Maria advises them to be quiet, as Olivia was disturbed by 'Cesario's' visit. She declares that she, herself, will make the fool of Malvolio.
She reveals that Malvolio is a Puritan, and puffed with pride. Maria intends to leave him a letter of love. Her handwriting resembles Olivia's and thus they will con him. She promises them she will let them view the spectacle in the morning, and leaves.
Sir Toby declares she is a good woman, and furthermore, that she loves him. He advises Sir Andrew to get more money. Sir Andrew replies that if he cannot win Olivia, he will be in debt. Sir Toby declares he will get her. They decide it is too late for bed.
"Journeys end in lovers meeting" - Clown
"What is love? 'Tis not hereafter;/Present mirth hath present laughter;/What's to come is still unsure'/In delay there lies no plenty;/Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty,/Youth's a stuff will not endure." - Clown.
"'O the twelfth day of December!'" - Sir Toby
"Have you no wit, manners, nor honesty" - Malvolio
"Sir Toby: 'But I will never die' Clown: 'Sir Toby, there you lie.' "
"Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?" - Sir Toby
"If I do not gull him into a nayword, and make him a common recreation, do not think I have wit enough to lie straight in my bed." - Maria
"The devil a Puritan that he is, or anything constantly but a time-pleaser; an affectioned ass" - Maria
"it is his grounds of faith that all that look on him love him" - Maria
Scene Four - Within the palace of Orsino
Orsino asks 'Cesario' for the song he heard last night - he thought it relieved the pain of his passion. 'Cesario' undertakes to fetch Feste (the Clown). While Feste is sought, the tune is played. Orsino lectures 'Cesario' in the nature of love - a lover is distracted in all but his constant quest of his beloved.
Orsino then asks 'Cesario' if he has loved, and 'Cesario' answers yes. Viola describes to him, himself. Orsino argues that his complexion is unworthy, and a woman of his age would be too old.
Feste sings the song to Orsino. The Clown advises him to set to sea, for he would be a constant sailor, although he would bring back nothing. The attendants leave with the Clown. Orsino instructs 'Cesario' to return to Olivia, and beg for her love again. Viola replies that Olivia will not accept the emissary. She tells Orsino that if a woman loved him as much, and he did not love her, she would have to give way. Orsino answers that a woman could not love so much.
Viola replies that woman do love as much, that her own father's daughter loved a man with the love 'Cesario' would owe Orsino were 'Cesario' a woman. But the woman never spoke her love, and became depressed. Men's vows are strong, but their passion is equal to woman's. Orsino sends a jewel to Olivia.
"For such as I am all true lovers are,/Unstaid and skittish in all motions else/Save in the constant image of the creature/That is beloved." - Orsino
"Our fancies are more giddy and unfirm,/More longing, wavering, sooner lost and worn,/Than women's are." - Orsino
"For women are roses, whose fair flow'r;/Being once displayed, doth fall that very hour." - Orsino
"And so they are; alas, that they are so./To die, even when they to perfection grow." - Viola
"Come away, come away, death,/And in sad cypress let me be laid./Fly away, fly away, breath;/I am slain by a fair cruel maid./My shroud of white, stuck all with yew,/O, prepare it./My part of death, no one so true/Did share it./Not a flower, not a flower sweet,/On my black coffin let there be strewn/Not a friend, not a friend greet/My poor corpse, where my bones shall be thrown./A thousand thousand sighs to save,/Lay me, O, where/Sad true lover never find my grave,/To weep there." - Clown
"pleasure will be paid one time or another." - Clown
"Now the melancholy god protect thee, and the tailor make thy doublet of changeable taffeta, for thy mind is a very opal. I would have men of such constancy put to sea, that their business might be everything, and their intent everywhere; for that's it that always makes a good voyage of nothing. Farewell." - Clown.
"You cannot love her. You tell her so. Must she not then be answered?" - Viola
"no woman's heart /So big to hold so much; they lack retention./Alas their love may be called appetite,/no motion of the liver but of the palate,/That suffers surfeit, cloyment and revolt" - Orsino
"In faith they are as true of heart as we." - Viola
"She pined in thought;/And with a green and yellow melancholy,/She sat like Patience on a monument,/Smiling at grief. Was this not love indeed?" - Viola
"I am all the daughters of my father's house/And all the brothers too" - Viola
Scene Five - The garden of Olivia's house
Sir Toby asks Fabian to leave. Fabian replies that he would die if he missed the joke. He will exult over Malvolio's destruction, as Malvolio was responsible for Olivia's poor opinion of Fabian. Sir Andrew decides that they themselves would be great fools if they could not humble Malvolio.
Maria arrives, and warns the watchers to hide in the box tree, Malvolio is coming. She throws the letter to the ground. Malvolio arrives, pondering Olivia. he believes that she has respect for him, and Maria has led him to think Olivia favours his looks. He dreams of being Count Malvolio, as other servants have occasionally married their mistress. He dreams of ordering all his fellow-servants about, of dressing finely, of Sir Toby's bows, of commanding him to mend his ways, of casting off Sir Andrew. The onlookers are amused but insulted.
He finds the letter and recognises Olivia's hand, and her seal. It begins with a riddle, of M. O. A. I., the name of her beloved. He puzzles on it, trying to construct his name. Every one of the letters is in his name, he decides. The remainder of the letter tells him that if he finds the letter, he is to be no longer afraid of her higher sphere. It tells him to act higher than he is, to quarrel with her kinsman, and to treat the servants as his. He is to be political, yet eccentric. The letter also advises Malvolio to wear yellow stockings, cross-gartered.
Malvolio happily decided to follow the letter's advice to the point. The letter further advises him to be constantly smiling; it looks good on him.
The onlookers are delighted at Malvolio's dream. Maria reveals that Olivia detests cross-gartered yellow stockings, and that his smiles will aggravate her, as she is determined to mourn. They decide to follow him to her.
"niggardly rascally sheep-biter" - Sir Toby (on Malvolio)
"we will fool him black and blue" - Sir Toby
"He has been yonder in the sun practising behaviour to his own shadow this half hour." - Maria
"Observe him, for the love of mockery; for I know this letter will make a contemplative idiot of him." - Maria
"here comes the trout that must be caught with tickling." - Maria
"'Tis but fortune; all is fortune." - Malvolio
"Contemplation makes a rare turkey cock of him." - Fabian
"Nay, patience, or we break the sinews of our plot." - Fabian
"A fustian riddle." - Fabian
"Excellent wench, say I." - Sir Toby (on Maria)
"What dish o' poison has she dressed him!" - Fabian
"Ay, an had you any eye behind you, you might see more detractions at your heels than fortunes before you." - Fabian
"In my stars I am above thee, but be not afraid of greatness." - The letter
"Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em." - The letter
"Thy Fates open there hands" - The letter
"thou art made, if thou desir'st to be so." - The letter
"I could marry this wench for this device." - Sir Toby
"my noble gull-catcher." - Sir Toby (on Maria)
"thou hast put him in such a dream that, when the image of it leaves him, he must run mad." - Sir Toby
"being addicted to a melancholy as she is" - Maria (on Olivia)
"turn him into a notable contempt" - Maria
"thou most excellent devil of wit." - Sir Toby
Scene One - Before the house of Olivia
Viola is talking to the Clown. He plays music on a tabor, and she asks him to cease - he does not live by his music. He replies that he lives by the church, since his house is next to it. They discuss how easily words may be twisted. The Clown goes so far as to hesitate to reason with words. He argues that he is not Olivia's fool - that a husband is the only fool a woman keeps.
The Clown hopes that Viola will soon be given a beard, and bids her to go inside. Viola reflects that to play the fool so well calls for a great deal of skill.
Sir Toby and Sir Andrew emerge, and invite Viola in. Before she can enter, however, Olivia and Maria arrive. Olivia requests that herself and Viola be left alone. Olivia asks for 'Cesario's' name. Viola reminds her that she comes to aid the Count's suit. Olivia speaks instead of the ring she sent after Viola. She is afraid 'Cesario' thinks her cunning.
Viola tells Olivia that she pities her. Olivia hopes it is a part of love, but Viola reminds her that many pity enemies. Olivia smiles, and hears the clock strike. She tells 'Cesario' that when he is older, his wife will have a handsome husband. She vows to send nothing to Orsino, but asks Viola what she thinks of her. Viola tells Olivia she is not what she thinks she is, but then reflects that this is true of herself also.
Olivia exclaims over the beauty that emotion gives to 'Cesario's' face, and declares her love for him. Viola replies that her love is bound to one person, a man. Olivia asks her to return, as love may still come.
"A sentence is but a chev'ril glove to a good wit." - The Clown
"... and words are grown so false I loath to prove reason with them." - The Clown
"... fools are as like husbands as pilchers are to herrings, the husband's the bigger." - The Clown
"I am indeed not her fool, but her corrupter of words." - The Clown
"This fellow is wise enough to play the fool/And to do that well craves a kind of wit.... This is a practice/As full of labour as a wise man's art" - Viola
"a cypress, not a bosom,/Hides my heart" - Olivia
"O world, how apt the poor are to be proud." - Olivia
"I am not what I am." - Viola
"Love sought is good, but given unsought is better." - Olivia
Scene Two - Within the house of Olivia
Sir Andrew declares he will stay no longer - Olivia will not marry him, Olivia does not like him. He saw her speech with 'Cesario' in the orchard. Fabian tells him that Olivia only favoured 'Cesario' to force Sir Andrew into a display of valour. He should then have fought 'Cesario'. Since he did not, he does not have the favour of Olivia, and needs a great display of power to gain her love.
Sir Toby recommends he challenges 'Cesario' to combat. Sir Toby agrees to carry the challenge, and Sir Andrew leaves to write the letter. Fabian comments that Sir Andrew is a good puppet, and asks whether Sir Toby will really deliver the letter. Sir Toby replies that he will, for the amusement of discovering the extent of Sir Andrew's cowardice. 'Cesario' does not seem very cruel. Maria arrives, and begs them to come and watch Malvolio - he has become a fool. He has followed every point of the letter she wrote him. Maria is sure Olivia will hit him.
"I will prove it legitimate, sir, upon the oaths of judgement and reason." - Fabian
"your dormouse valor" - Fabian
"build me thy fortunes upon the basis of valor." - Sir Toby
"Taunt him with the license of ink." - Sir Toby
"Yond gull Malvolio is turned heathen, a very renegado" - Maria
Scene Three - A street in the Illyrian capital
Antonio tells Sebastian that there is no way he could have stayed behind, as the country is treacherous. One who does not know it might while be killed. Sebastian gives his thanks. Antonio advises him to seek lodging for the night. Sebastian wants to explore, but Antonio reveals that the Count is his enemy. Once he was in a sea-battle against one of the Count's ships. Most of his people have repaid what they stole, for the sake of trade, but Antonio refused. If he is caught, he will be punished.
Sebastian advises him to be cautious. Antonio gives him money, and informs him that he will go straight to a lodging. They agree to meet in an hour.
"you make your pleasure of your pains" - Sebastian
"My desire/(More sharp than filÂd steel)" - Antonio
"My willing love" - Antonio
"and ever oft good turns/Are shuffled off with such uncurrent pay." - Sebastian
Scene Four - The garden of Olivia's house
Olivia tells Maria that she has sent for 'Cesario'. She asks for Malvolio, for his seriousness suits her mood. Maria warns her that Malvolio appears mad, smiling all the time. Olivia replies that she is just as mad with sadness. When Malvolio appears, Olivia asks why he is not sad. He replies that the cross-gartering is painful but pleasing Olivia's eye is worth it.
Olivia is worried, and Malvolio calmly makes reference to her handwriting. Olivia asks him to go to bed, and Maria scolds him for appearing such before Olivia. Malvolio begins to quote the letter to Olivia. Olivia is disturbed. A servant enters and announces the arrival of 'Cesario'. Olivia asks Maria to take good care of Malvolio.
As Maria and Olivia leave, Malvolio sees Sir Toby arrive, and remembers that he is not supposed to be civil to him. Malvolio saw in the last conversation all his hopes blossoming. Sir Toby and Fabian run to Malvolio, who attempts to cast them off. Maria tells Sir Toby that Malvolio is in his care. Sir Toby requests that he be left alone with Malvolio. Malvolio and Sir Toby trade insults. Maria advises Malvolio to pray. He screams at them and leaves.
Fabian comments that if the action were a play it would be most improbable. Maria decided that they should follow Malvolio, in case he exposes their joke. Sir Toby decides that he should be bound in darkness, in treatment for his 'madness'.
Sir Andrew enters with the challenge to 'Cesario'. The challenge states that Sir Andrew will tell no reason for hating 'Cesario', and he will waylay him on his way home, but it would be evil for 'Cesario' to kill Sir Andrew. Fabian encourages his vanity throughout the reading of the challenge.
Sir Toby sends Sir Andrew to the corner of the orchard to wait for the appearance of 'Cesario'. Sir Toby decided that 'Cesario' is of good strong character, and therefore he will not deliver the letter, but deliver the challenge by word of mouth. He will try and convince 'Cesario' that Sir Andrew is a fearsome man. It would then be a good fight. As Viola and Olivia appear, Sir Toby and Fabian retreat to word the challenge.
Olivia is repenting that she unveiled her heart to one who does not care for her. Viola points out that Orsino feels the same. Olivia gives her a necklace with a portrait in it - Viola may accept it, it has no voice. She cannot give Orsino the love that she has given to 'Cesario'. Olivia begs Viola to return in the morning.
Sir Toby arrives to issue the fearsome challenge to 'Cesario'. He advises 'Cesario' to be prompt in preparation - his enemy is fierce and angry. Viola denies having given any man reason to fight her. Sir Toby replies that a knight who has already killed three men is preparing to fight her, and he will not be satisfied but by her death.
Sir Toby assures her that the knight's injury is very real, and that she must fight either the knight or him. Viola asks him to report to her the injury she has done to her opponent. As he leaves, Fabian speaks to Viola of the fearsome nature of her antagonist. He offers to make peace if he can.
Sir Toby walks to Sir Andrew, and declares that 'Cesario' is most ready for a fight - that he had clashed swords with Sir Toby himself. Nothing but a mortal combat with Sir Andrew will suffice him. Sir Andrew worries - if he had realised this, he would have done anything rather than challenge. He begs Sir Toby to avert the combat.
Sir Toby tells Viola that the knight has rethought his injury, but must fight for the sake of the vow. He will not hurt 'Cesario'. Viola prays for help - a fight would reveal how little a man she is. Sir Toby makes the same promise as before to Sir Andrew. Sir Andrew draws.
Antonio arrives, and offers to take 'Cesario's' place in the fight - if there was any offence, he takes it upon himself. He challenges Sir Toby, and they both draw. Officers enter, and arrest Antonio on the authority of Orsino. Antonio asks Viola for his purse. Viola denies having any of his money, but lends him half of hers - he came to her aid. Antonio is horrified, but Viola is insistent that she does not know him. Antonio relates the story of Sebastian's rescue to the officers. He curses him as a lying, evil man. The officers think him mad and take him away.
Viola heard her brother named, and hopes that she is right - she has been mistaken for him. It would be easy enough - it is him she is imitating. She leaves. The remainder decide that 'Cesario' is a coward, and they heartily object to his treatment of his friend. Sir Andrew swears to follow him and have their fight.
"He is sad and civil" - Olivia (on Malvolio)
"I am as mad as he,/If sad and merry madness equal be." - Olivia
"Let some of my people have a special care of him. I would not have him miscarry for the half of my dowry." - Olivia
"Well, Jove, not I, is the doer of this, and he is to be thanked." - Malvolio
"The fiend is rough and will not be roughly used." - Fabian
" 'tis not for gravity to play at cherry-pit wit Satan." - Sir Toby
"for our pleasure and his penance" - Sir Toby
"the behaviour of the young gentleman gives him out to be of good capacity and breeding"
Scene One - Before Olivia's house
The Clown is amazed that Sebastian denies knowing him, knowing Olivia, or having the name 'Cesario'. Sebastian advises him not to be a fool, and the Clown is amused. Sebastian tries to pay him off, as the Clown attempts to get a message for Olivia.
Sir Andrew appears, with his friends, and attacks Sebastian. Sebastian hits him back. The Clown goes to report to Olivia. Sir Andrew threatens an action of battery, although he knows that he hit Sebastian first. Sebastian orders Sir Toby to release him, and draws his sword, as does Sir Toby.
Olivia appears and orders Sir Toby to hold his sword and orders Sir Toby, Sir Andrew and Fabian away. She apologises to Sebastian. She hopes his reason will rule him in the situation, and offers to explain the numerous other botched pranks of Sir Toby's. She reminds him her heart is with him. Sebastian wonders if he is mad or dreaming. Olivia implores him to come, and asks if he will be ruled by her. Sebastian agrees with alacrity.
"Nothing that is so is so." - The Clown
"Vent my folly! He has heard that word of some great man and now applies it to a fool. Vent my folly!" - The Clown
"Ungracious wretch,/Fit for the mountains and the barbarous caves,/Where manners ne'er were preached!" - Olivia (on Sir Toby)
"Let thy fair wisdom, not they passion, sway" - Olivia
"What relish is this? How runs the stream?/Or I am mad, or else this is a dream./Let fancy still my sense in Lethe steep;/If it be thus to dream, still let me sleep!" - Sebastian
"O, say so, and so be." - Olivia
Scene Two - Within Olivia's house
Maria asks Sir Toby to put on a gown and pretend to be Sir Topas the curate. She will go and fetch Sir Toby. The Clown promises to do so, although he does not promise to carry it off well. Sir Toby comes in and greets the 'curate'. The Clown goes to Malvolio. Malvolio begs 'Sir Topas' to go to Olivia on his behalf. He tells him desperately that he is not mad. The Clown tells him that he must be mad - he thinks he is in a dark room and he is actually in one filled with sunlight. The only darkness is his own ignorance.
The Clown asks him for his knowledge of Pythagoras' 'transmigration of souls' theory. Malvolio denounces it. The Clown declares that he will not agree that he is sane until he accepts the theory. Sir Toby arrives, and is unable to participate in any trickery, indeed, Olivia is so angry he wishes he had not played the trick at all.
The Clown sings to Malvolio of his lady loving another. Malvolio asks for pen and paper, and repeats to the Clown what he told 'Sir Topas'. 'Sir Topas' prays for his deliverance. The Clown contrives a trivial conversation between himself and 'Sir Topas'. Malvolio promises the Clown great benefit from carrying his letter. The Clown sings to him as he leaves.
"''That that is is''" - The Clown
"I say there is no darkness but ignorance" - The Clown
"and fear to dispossess a woodcock, lest thou dispossess the soul of thy grandam." - The Clown
"As I am a gentleman" - Malvolio
"Then you are mad indeed, if you be no better in your wits than a fool." - The Clown
Scene Three - The house of Olivia
Sebastian examines the pearl Olivia gave him and assures himself he is not mad. He wonders where Antonio is - he found a note at the Elephant to let him know that Antonio had left to seek him. He needs Antonio advice, about his sanity and about Olivia's. He reminds himself that a madwoman could not command her house in the way that Olivia does.
Olivia asks Sebastian not to be angry with her haste, but to go with her to the priest and swear vows before him - she will not reveal it until he is ready.. Sebastian agrees and they go.
"And though 'tis wonder that enwraps me thus,/Yet it is not madness." - Sebastian
"my soul disputes well with my sense" - Sebastian
"Yet doth this accident and flood of fortune/So far exceed all instance, all discourse,/That I am ready to disbelieve mine eyes" - Sebastian
"There's something in it/That's deceivable." - Sebastian
"That my most jealous and too doubtful soul/May live at peace" - Olivia
Scene One - Before Olivia's house
The Clown refuses to let Fabian see Malvolio's letter. Orsino appears, with attendants. The Clown wishes he has no friends, for they lie to him, whereas his enemies tell the truth. Orsino gives him three coins, and suggests he will get more if he fetches Olivia.
Antonio appears with the officers. Orsino remembers him, and the officer reminds him of the two ships of his that Antonio has boarded. Viola speaks for him, but mentions that he spoke to her strangely. Orsino asks him what possessed him, to appear in Illyria. Antonio replies it was the 'ungrateful boy', who Antonio rescued, and loved, and who in turn denied him.
Orsino discovers that Antonio and his companion came to the town only the previous day, and were together for three months before then. Orsino sees Olivia, but takes time to mention that 'Cesario' has been in his service for three months together.
Olivia chides 'Cesario' and discourages Orsino. Orsino half considers killing Olivia, but then decides to kill 'Cesario' in revenge, and begins to pull 'him' away. Viola follows, willing to die for him. She tells Olivia that she will go with whom she loves most. Olivia sends for the priest. She calls him husband. Viola denies it. Olivia encourages 'Cesario' - he need not be afraid.
The priest appears, and reveals at Olivia's prompt, that she and 'Cesario' exchanged rings before him not two hours in the past. Orsino orders that 'Cesario' go, and take Olivia, and may he pray they never meet again.
Sir Andrew enters, calling for a surgeon. He discovers 'Cesario'. The others defend 'him'. Viola says she was provoked, but did not touch him, and spoke to him fairly. Sir Toby enters, drunk, calling for a surgeon. Olivia sens them to bed, and a servant is sent for the surgeon.
Sebastian appears, and apologises to Olivia for the fight. Orsino is astonished at the likeness. Sebastian cries to Antonio, having missed him, worried about him. Antonio asks him how he made two of himself. Sebastian is puzzled - he has no brother, only a sister.
Viola declares she is the child of Sebastian of Messaline, and asks if he is the ghost of Sebastian's son of that name. Sebastian replies that if she were a woman, he would welcome his sister, Viola. They compare their history, a father with a mole on his brow, who died on Viola's thirteenth birthday. Viola begs him not to embrace her until she has relinquished her disguise.
Sebastian apologises to Olivia, but thinks that fate intervened, she was, after all, in love with a woman. Orsino sees an opportunity, and reminds Olivia of her constant declarations that she never loved anyone like him. Viola swears it over again.
Olivia goes to send Malvolio for Viola's clothes, but remembers that he is said to be mad. The Clown offers to read his letter, and half convinces her that he too is mad, by reading in a loud voice. He declares he can read such a letter no other way. Olivia gets Fabian to read the letter.
The letter curses Olivia for locking him up and putting him under the charge of Sir Toby, but reminds her of the letter. Fabian is sent for him.
Olivia asks Orsino to think of her as a sister, and is willing to hold his wedding at her own house, and pay for it herself. Orsino declares to Viola that as she served him so long, and against her gender, and below her breeding, he will make her his mistress.
Malvolio appears, and tells Olivia she has done him wrong. He shows her the letter, and asks her why, when he was all obedience to her will, she imprisoned him. Olivia recognises Maria's handwriting. She remembers that it was Maria that told him she was mad. She tells him that when they find the perpetrators, he will be their judge.
Fabian confesses the prank, and admits Maria wrote the letter. Sir Toby has married her in thanks. Fabian feels that if the wrongs on both sides are weighed, then it is more funny than cruel. The Clown reminds them of some of his own words. Malvolio leaves, swearing revenge. Olivia concedes his case.
Orsino begs that they chase him, because he has not gone to the captain to retrieve Viola's dresses yet. When that is done, they will marry. They all leave.
The Clown sings, finishing that the play is done, and he hopes that it pleased.
"by my foes, sir, I profit in my knowledge of myself and by my friends I am abused" - The Clown
"Antonio never yet was thief or pirate,/Though I confess, on base and ground enough,/Orsino's enemy." - Antonio
"My love without retention or restraint" - Antonio
"Here comes the Countess: now heaven walks on earth" - Orsino
"It is as fat and fulsome to mine ear/As howling after music" - Olivia
"Kill what I love?" - Orsino
"I'll sacrifice the lamb that I do love/To spite a raven's heart within a dove." - Orsino
"To do you rest a thousand deaths would die." - Viola
"I hate a drunken rogue." - Sir Toby
"An apple cleft in two is not more twin/Than these two creatures." - Antonio
"A spirit I am indeed,/But am in that dimension grossly clad/Which from the womb I did participate." - Sebastian
"my masculine usurped attire" - Viola
"All the occurrence of my fortune since/Hath been between this lady and this lord." - Viola
"But nature to her bias drew in that." - Sebastian
"And all those sayings will I over swear/And all those swearing keep as true in soul/As doth that orbÂd continent the fire/That severs day from night." - Viola
"Look then to be well edified, when the fool delivers the madman." - The Clown
"So much against the mettle of your sex,/So far beneath your soft and tender breeding,/And since you called me master for so long,/Here is my hand; you shall from this time be/Your master's mistress." - Orsino
"Alas, poor fool, how they have baffled thee!" - Viola
"And thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenges." - The Clown
"Orsino's mistress and his fancy's queen." - Orsino
"For the rain it raineth every day." - The Clown
"A great while ago the world begun,/With a hey, ho, the wind and the rain;/But that's all one, our play is done,/And we'll strive to please you every day." - The Clown
Summary of 'Twelfth Night' (Higher School Certificate 1998) by Mary Gardiner is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia License.
Note that the text of Twelfth Night itself is in the public domain.
Last modified: 25 June 2003