Twelfth Night simplified

Synopsis

The play is set in an unnamed city in Illyria, and present day Illyria seems to us to be Croatia.  Illyria was historically a region of the world that ran along the rocky eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea. What we do know is that the setting for the play is an historic southern seaport on the Adriatic Sea, which to us sounds a lot like Dubrovnik, a city that in the sixteenth century rivaled Venice as a center for international trade. We don’t know how the play came to be named Twelfth Night, but we do know it’s been said the play was first presented on a January sixth, the last night of celebration of the Christmas season.  The play has also been known by the title What You Will. 

Early in the play we learn that Viola, a young lady from Messaline (wherever that might be) has found herself in Illyria, having been washed ashore along with others as a result of a shipwreck.  She fears for the life of her twin brother, Sebastian, who can’t be located but was with her when the ship crashed on the rocky shore.  Viola is an attractive, confident, quick-thinking young lady, the heroine of the play. 

We hear very quickly, right at the opening of the play, from a man named Orsino, the duke of Illyria. Orsino waxes mournfully over his unrequited love for Olivia, a beautiful and wealthy Illyrian countess, a young lady whose father and brother have just died.  With soft, romantic music playing in the background, he famously says “If music be the food of love, play on.” How this duke could have fallen so suddenly and so seriously for Lady Olivia, a young woman who for some time should have been known by him and everybody else in Dubrovnik remains a mystery, but there you go.  A key element here, as we say, is that to honor the memory of her father and brother, Olivia has made a personal commitment to forsake the company of men for seven years, a commitment she soon breaks, kind of. 

Having settled in and recovered from the trauma of the shipwreck, Viola asks the sea captain who washed ashore with her “who governs here?”  The captain knows the answer. He’s Orsino, the duke of Illyria.  Viola calmly says to the sea captain “Conceal me what I am.  I’ll serve this duke.  Thou shall present me as an eunuch to him.”  The sea captain obeys.  With the sea captain as her reference, Orsino employs Viola as a page, she having taken the name of Cesario.  With little on his mind other than Olivia, Orsino promptly puts Cesario to work, assigning him (her) to woo Olivia on his behalf.  By this time Olivia has let us know that she has absolutely no interest in Orsino --- or at this point any other man. 

We learn that Olivia has an interesting and eclectic set of employees; a group that includes Sir Toby Belch, her hard-drinking kinsman; Maria, her trick-playing gentlewoman; Malvolio, her pretentious steward; Fabian, a seemingly regular guy; and Feste, the Fool, a wise and clever entertainer, who we’re told was a favorite of her father in his court.  To add to this mix, Toby has brought into the household his friend, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, encouraging him to see if he can win Olivia’s heart, a long shot at best.  We learn that Malvolio has a one-sided unrealistic romantic interest in Olivia.  We also learn that Maria has suggested to Sir Toby that his buddy, Andrew Aguecheek, would have a better chance of winning Olivia’s heart if the two of them would spend less time out late at night, drinking and reveling. 

Orsino holds an advice session with Cesario, instructing him to be aggressive in his attempts to persuade Olivia to pay more attention to him.  He is after all the duke.  At about this same time the Fool is letting Olivia know that he thinks she’s the fool for pledging to forsake the company of men as a way to honor her deceased brother. 

Following Orsino’s instructions, Viola visits Olivia masquerading as Cesario and is so persuasive and convincing in her presentation that Olivia, so taken by Cesario’s charm, falls for him, which of course confounds and dismays Viola.  At this point Cesario steps up his sales pitch on behalf of Orsino, but Olivia responds simply “I cannot love him.” 

At about this place in the story, Sebastian, Viola’s twin brother, the brother she feared had been lost at sea, arrives in Dubrovnik with the sailor who had saved his life during the shipwreck, Sebastian’s very good friend, Antonio.  Antonio has a checkered history in Illyria, having been in serious trouble with the law, a result of a fight with Orsino’s nephew, the nephew having lost his leg as a result of the fight.  Prudently, Antonia tries his best to remain inconspicuous.  He slips off quietly and anonymously to their hotel, having asked Sebastian to hold his wallet for him. 

A discouraged Viola bids Olivia “Farewell” and leaves Olivia’s home, having failed in her attempt as Cesario to convince Olivia to take another look at Orsino.  But, as we say, Olivia has fallen hard for Cesario and instructs Malvolio to chase him down and give him a ring; a ring, she tells Malvolio, that Cesario had inadvertently left behind.  Malvolio follows his mistress’ instructions.  Viola gets the message.

Toby, Andrew and the Fool, having spent the evening out on the town carousing, arrive back at Olivia’s estate, disturbing a number of those in the household who had been asleep.  One of those disturbed is the self-righteous and prude Malvolio who offers the three guys an unwanted and poorly received lecture.  The three men complain to Maria of Malvolio and his holier-than-thou unwanted counsel.  Maria suggests a way for them to get restitution.  Her suggestion is that she write a letter to Malvolio; a letter purporting to be from Olivia, she having a handwriting very similar to Olivia’s; a letter that will encourage him when he next greets Olivia to dress strangely and smile broadly (both of which Olivia really dislikes). This is really a dastardly trick.  Maria will let him know through the letter that he has a good chance of winning Olivia’s heart if he just follows the letter’s instructions.  The men quickly agree to the ruse.  The letter is delivered.  Malvolio receives it and naively and to his misfortune buys into the suggestions offered through the letter. 

By this time we learn that Viola has fallen for her employer, Orsino. When she returns to the duke’s grand home, Orsino offers her some advice on love, focused as he is on how he thinks women should respond when men show interest in them, a subject that has recently been in the forefront of his mind. Viola listens patiently.  Oblivious to Viola’s interest in him, Orsino continues his obsessed and most interesting view of the nature of women. Viola gets the message, asking “Sir, shall I to this lady?”  Orsino answers “Ay, that’s the theme.” 

During this second meeting between Olivia and Cesario, Olivia lets Cesario know how much she cares for him.  Olivia boldly asks “Stay. I prithee, tell me what thou think’st of me.”  Viola replies “That you do think you are not what you are.”  Olivia responds “If I think so, I think the same of you.”  Viola quickly answers “Then think you right.  I am not what I am.”  Cesario tries his best to let her know that a relationship between them will never work, and that besides he is loyal to his employer. 

At about this point, we learn that Sir Andrew has begun to accept the reality that he is most unlikely to win Olivia’s hand.  But Toby convinces him that he still has a chance.  Toby encourages him to be more gallant and valiant, suggesting that he challenge Cesario to a duel.  Toby buys into the suggestion.

It’s about here where Malvolio, carefully following the suggestions offered in Maria’s forged letter, greets Olivia, dressed outlandishly as he is in “yellow stockings and cross-gartered” and doing “nothing but smile.”  Olivia can’t quite believe what she sees.  She considers Malvolio mad.  She has him imprisoned. 

By this time, Sir Toby has arranged an appropriate time and place for Sir Andrew to challenge Cesario to a duel.  Sir Andrew does challenge a disguised-as-Cesario Viola, who does her best to work her way out of the challenge, but runs out of options and is forced to draw her sword.  By happenstance, just as she draws her sword, Antonio, out for an innocent and anonymous walk, sees a vulnerable Viola-as-Cesario, and of course believes she is Sebastian.  Antonio immediately comes to his defense.  Promptly officers enter the scene and quickly recognize Antonio as one being on their most wanted list and arrest him. Recognizing that he’s in trouble and will need bail, Antonio turns to Cesario, thinking of course, as we say, that he is Sebastian, and asks him to return his wallet.  Totally unaware that Antonio is her brother’s very good friend, Viola pleads innocent to having his wallet, but offers to lend him some money, sweetheart that she is.  She tells him that that is the best she can do.  A bewildered and frustrated Antonio shouts at her “Will you deny me now?  Is ‘t possible with those kindnesses that I have done for you?”  Viola calmly replies “I know of none.  I hate ingratitude more in a man than lying, vainness or babbling drunkenness.”  As more police converge on him, Antonio says “Let me speak a little.  This youth that you see here I snatched one half out of the jaws of death.”  An officer says “What’s that to us?”  Antonio is promptly taken away.  Viola starts to tie the pieces and events together.  Viola and Sebastian have yet to reconnect since the shipwreck. 

A little later Andrew sees Sebastian, who, like Antonio earlier, just happens to be out for a stroll, enjoying the sights of downtown Dubrovnik.  Sir Andrew, continuing his effort to show how gallant and valiant he is, attacks him, thinking he is, of course, Cesario.  Sebastian cries “Are all the people mad?”  Sebastian draws his sword, as does Sir Toby, who happens to be there at Andrew’s side.  Olivia happens by and cries “Hold, Toby!  On my life I charge thee, hold!”  Toby and Andrew beat a hasty retreat.  Olivia’s presence calms things.  Thinking Sebastian is Cesario, as the others did (would Shakespeare have it any other way?) Lady Olivia persuasively suggests he come home with her.  He accepts her offer, she having a number of attractive characteristics.  They make plans to marry, Sebastian not quite believing his good fortune, planning to tie up as he is with the beautiful and wealthy Lady Olivia. 

The Fool has now disguised himself as a priest and visits Malvolio in prison.  At first the Fool teases him with little mercy, but he soon opens up and helps Malvolio as a loyal friend. 

Meanwhile, by happenstance, as Orsino and Cesario are together discussing recent events, Antonio is led onto the stage by officers.  This is the moment when Orsino recognizes Antonio as the man who had permanently crippled his nephew some years earlier.  Olivia enters.  Orsino lets her know how angry he is with her, now that she has fallen for his aide, Cesario. Viola uses the occasion, with Orsino and Olivia at her side, to let all know that she is a she and that she loves the duke.  A confused Olivia has of course until this moment believed that Cesario is the man she plans to marry. A frazzled and disheveled Sir Andrew then enters, telling all of the collected that Cesario has just beaten him up.  Viola lets them all know that something is still amiss. To make the story, Shakespeare has Sebastian make a timely entrance.  Viola and Sebastian joyously and warmly and enthusiastically greet each other, each not knowing until this moment that the other had survived the shipwreck. Olivia learns that Maria, who has now run off and married Sir Toby, was the one who through the forged letter had led the dirty-trick played on her steward Malvolio.  By this time the Fool has secured Malvolio’s release from prison. Earlier Malvolio had stated to the Fool his need for revenge, but now lets his anger cool; learning as he does that the principal cause of his imprisonment and embarrassment was Maria. 

Orsino ends the play when he announces that he and Viola will marry on the same day Olivia and Sebastian marry, and that Viola will become his queen. 

Principal Characters

Feste the Fool.  The Fool is a member of Olivia’s court, a hold-over from her father’s time, offering wisdom and insight through his quick wit, as do all of Shakespeare’s Fools.

Malvolio.   Malvolio is Olivia’s pompous steward, who gets under the skin of Toby, Toby’s friend Andrew, Maria and Fabian, all of whom are members of Olivia’s household entourage.  Malvolio (as does Andrew Aguecheek, Toby’s friend) has a one-sided, misguided romantic interest in Olivia.  Maria misleads him badly, causing him to be embarrassed and imprisoned through a dreadful but as it turns out innocent trick. 

Olivia.  Lady Olivia is the single, wealthy heiress who recently has taken a vow to forsake the company of men for seven years, a tribute, she claims, to her brother who just died.  Her brother had accepted his father’s request to look after his sister, their father having died within the past year.  Her credibility is a little suspect, she falling for Viola at first sight, she disguised as Cesario, and then marrying Sebastian, earlier thinking he Cesario. 

Orsino.  Orsino is the duke of Illyria, who as the play begins has fallen head-over-heels for Olivia, apparently only recently having seen her.  He employs Viola as Cesario and quickly sends him on the important mission to woo Olivia on his behalf.  Cesario quickly becomes his confidant, he wishing Cesario were a she.  As with Viola, Shakespeare provides him with some good lines.

Sebastian.  Sebastian is Viola’s twin brother, endowed and bred with the same appealing qualities.  He arrives in Illyria mid-way though the play.  Shakespeare plays up the similarities beautifully, both being new to Illyria, both having strong family traits.

Viola.  Viola is the gracious, loyal, talented young woman who pretends to be Cesario, masquerading as a eunuch, employed by Orsino and charged by Orsino to woo Olivia on his behalf.  She arrives in Illyria fearing that when their ship wrecked she had lost her twin brother, Sebastian.  She’s the heroine, having one of Shakespeare’s great roles for women, he giving her real good lines.  Shakespeare’s insights in this play are often passed on through Viola.

The Play


  • Act 1, Scene 1
  • Orsino, Duke of Illyria, is on stage.
  •  
  •  
  • Orsino to himself
  •  
  • My desires have ever since pursued me
  • When Olivia mine eyes first did see.
  • O, if music be the food of love, play
  • On; give it to me in excess and I'll
  • Sicken my appetite and so die. May
  • That sweet strain that came over my ear while
  • I dreamed on remain. No, let it stop. It
  • Not so sweet as it was before. Spirit
  • Of love, though quick and fresh it art, with a
  • Condition as great as the sea, doth not
  • Enter here, though valid, rather doth weigh
  • On the pursuer, weakening me. Ought
  • Love not take me to sweet beds of flowers?
  • Love thoughts lie rich when covered with bowers.
  • Valentine, a servant to Orsino, enters.
  • ORSINO
  • How now, what news from her?
  • VALENTINE
  • So please my lord, her handmaid do return this answer: She shall not behold her face at ample view, but like a cloistress she will veiled walk to season a brother's dead love.
  • ORSINO
  • O, that she hath a heart to pay this debt of love but to a brother.
  • They exit.
  • Act 1, Scene 2
  • Viola, the ship's captain and sailors are on stage. Their ship has just been wrecked along the shore of Illyria.
  • VIOLA
  • What country, friends, is this?
  • CAPTAIN
  • This is Illyria, lady.
  • VIOLA
  • And what should I do in Illyria? Perchance my brother is not drowned. What think you?
  • CAPTAIN
  • It is perchance that you yourself were saved.
  • VIOLA
  • O, my poor brother! And so perchance may he be.
  • CAPTAIN
  • True, madam. I saw your brother bind himself to a strong mast that lived upon the sea. I saw him hold acquaintance with the waves so long as I could see.
  • VIOLA
  • Mine own escape unfoldeth to my hope. Know'st thou this country?
  • CAPTAIN
  • Ay, madam, for I was bred and born not three hours' travel from this very place.
  • VIOLA
  • Who governs here?
  • CAPTAIN
  • A noble duke, in nature as in name.
  • VIOLA
  • What is his name?
  • CAPTAIN
  • Orsino.
  • VIOLA
  • I have heard my father name him. He was a bachelor then.
  • CAPTAIN
  • And so is now, or was so very late; for but a month ago I went from hence, and then ‘twas fresh in murmur that he did seek the love of fair Olivia.
  • VIOLA
  • What's she?
  • CAPTAIN
  • A virtuous maid, the daughter of a count that died some twelvemonth since, then leaving her in the protection of his son, her brother, who shortly also died, for whose dear love, they say, she hath abjured the sight and company of men.
  • VIOLA
  • O, that I served that lady.
  • CAPTAIN
  • That were hard to compass because she will admit no kind of formal request, no not the Duke's.
  • VIOLA
  • Conceal me what I am, and be my aid for such disguise as haply shall become the form of my intent. I'll serve this duke. Thou shalt present me as an eunuch to him. What else may hap, to time I will commit. Only shape thou thy silence to my wit.
  • CAPTAIN
  • Be you his eunuch, and your mute I'll be.
  • They exit.
  • Act 1, Scene 3
  • Sir Toby Belch and Maria are on stage.
  • TOBY
  • What a plague means my niece to take the death of her brother thus?
  • MARIA
  • By my troth, Sir Toby, you must come in earlier o' nights. Your cousin, my lady, takes great exceptions to your ill hours. That quaffing and drinking will undo you. I heard my lady talk of it yesterday, and of a foolish knight that you brought in one night here to be her wooer.
  • TOBY
  • Who, Sir Andrew Aguecheek?
  • MARIA
  • He's a fool, he's a great quarreler, and, ‘tis thought among the prudent he would quickly have the gift of a grave.
  • TOBY
  • They are scoundrels and detractors that say so of him. Who are they?
  • MARIA
  • They that add, moreover, he's drunk nightly in your company.
  • TOBY
  • With drinking healths to my niece. What! Here comes Sir Andrew Agueface.
  • ANDREW
  • Good Mistress Accost, I desire better acquaintance.
  • MARIA
  • My name is Mary, sir. Fare you well, gentlemen.
  • She exits.
  • ANDREW
  • Methinks sometimes I have no more wit than a Christian or an ordinary man has. But I am a great eater of beef, and I believe that does harm to my wit.
  • TOBY
  • No question.
  • ANDREW
  • Faith, I'll home tomorrow, Sir Toby. Your niece will not be seen, or if she be, it's four to one she'll none of me. The Count himself here hard by woos her.
  • TOBY
  • She'll none o' th' Count. Tut, there's life in ‘t, man.
  • ANDREW
  • I'll stay a month longer. Shall we set about some revels?
  • TOBY
  • What shall we do else?
  • They exit.
  • Act 1, Scene 4
  • Valentine enters. Viola, in men's attire, as Cesario, enters.
  • VALENTINE
  • If the duke continue these favors towards you, Cesario, you are like to be much advanced. He hath known you but three days, and already you are no stranger.
  • Orsino and Curio, another of his servants, enter.
  • ORSINO
  • Cesario, thou know'st no less but all. I have unclasped to thee the book even of my secret soul. Therefore, good youth, address thy gait unto her. Be not denied access.
  • VIOLA
  • If she be so abandoned to her sorrow as it is spoke, she never will admit me.
  • ORSINO
  • Be clamorous and leap all civil bounds rather than make unprofited return.
  • VIOLA
  • Say I do speak with her, my lord, what then?
  • ORSINO
  • O, then unfold the passion of my love. Surprise her with discourse of my dear faith. She will attend it better in thy youth.
  • VIOLA
  • I think not so, my lord.
  • ORSINO
  • Dear lad, believe it. Prosper well in this and thou shalt live as freely as thy lord, to call his fortunes thine.
  • VIOLA ASIDE
  • Whoe'er I woo, myself would be his wife.
  • They exit.
  • Act 1, Scene 5
  • Maria and Feste, the Fool, enter.
  • MARIA
  • Nay, either tell me where thou hast been, or I will not open my lips so wide as a bristle may enter in way of thy excuse. My lady will hang thee for thy absence.
  • FOOL
  • Let her hang me.
  • MARIA
  • Yet you will be hanged for being so long absent. Or to be turned away, is not that as good as a hanging to you?
  • FOOL
  • Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage.
  • MARIA
  • Here comes my lady. Make your excuse wisely, you were best.
  • Maria exits. Olivia and Malvolio enter.
  • FOOL
  • Better a witty Fool than a foolish wit. God bless thee, lady!
  • OLIVIA
  • Take the Fool away.
  • FOOL
  • Do you not hear, fellows? Take away the Lady.
  • OLIVIA
  • I'll no more of you. Besides, you grow dishonest.
  •  
  •  
  • Fool to Olivia
  •  
  • Two faults, lady, which counsel will amend.
  • Bid the dishonest man mend; if he mend
  • He is no longer dishonest. And give
  • The dry Fool a drink that he be not dry.
  • Beauty's flower fades the more it doth live.
  • All things mended are but patched, which is why
  • Sin patched is virtue. She bid take away
  • The fool. I say, take her away. I say
  • If not, what remedy? Since my mind is
  • Idle, I'll make your proof. Why mourn'st kin?
  • You say for your brother's death, thinking his
  • Soul's in hell? Ah, you say his soul is in
  • Heaven! Ah, the more fool, my lady, when
  • You mourn for a soul, being in heaven.
  • OLIVIA
  • What think you of this Fool, Malvolio?
  • MALVOLIO
  • I marvel your Ladyship takes delight in such a barren rascal. I saw him put down the other day with an ordinary fool that has no more brain than a stone.
  • OLIVIA
  • O, you are sick of self-love, Malvolio. There is no slander in an allowed Fool, though he do nothing but rail.
  • FOOL
  • Thou speak'st well of Fools!
  • Maria enters.
  • MARIA
  • Madam, there is at the gate a young gentleman much desires to speak with you.
  • OLIVIA
  • Who of my people hold him in delay.
  • MARIA
  • Sir Toby, madam, your kinsman.
  • OLIVIA
  • Fetch him off, I pray you.
  • Maria exits.
  • OLIVIA
  • Go you, Malvolio. If it be a suit from the Count, I am sick, or not at home; what you will, to dismiss it.
  • Malvolio exits. Malvolio re-enters.
  • MALVOLIO
  • Madam, yond young fellow swears he will speak with you. He's fortified against any denial.
  • OLIVIA
  • Tell him he shall not speak with me.
  • MALVOLIO
  • Has been told so, and he says he'll stand at your door like a sheriff's post.
  • OLIVIA
  • Of what personage and years is he?
  • MALVOLIO
  • ‘Tis with him in standing water, between boy and man. He is very well-favored, and he speaks very shrewishly.
  • OLIVIA
  • Let him approach. Call in my gentlewoman
  • He exits. Maria enters.
  • OLIVIA
  • Give me my veil. We'll once more hear Orsino's embassy.
  • Viola enters.
  • VIOLA
  • The honorable lady of the house, which is she?
  • OLIVIA
  • Speak to me. I shall answer for her. Your will?
  • VIOLA
  • Most radiant, exquisite, and unmatchable beauty, I pray you, tell me if this be the lady of the house, for I never saw her.
  • OLIVIA
  • Whence came you, sir?
  • VIOLA
  • I can say little more than I have studied, and that question's out of my part. Are you the lady of the house?
  • OLIVIA
  • If I do not usurp myself, I am.
  • VIOLA
  • Most certain, if you are she, you do usurp yourself, for what is yours to bestow is not yours to reserve. But this is from my commission. I will on with my speech in your praise and then show you the heart of my message.
  • OLIVIA
  • Tell me your mind.
  • VIOLA
  • I am a messenger.
  • OLIVIA
  • Sure you have some hideous matter to deliver when the courtesy of it is so fearful. Speak your office.
  • VIOLA
  • It alone concerns your ear. I hold the olive in my hand. My words are as full of peace as matter.
  • OLIVIA
  • Give us the place alone. We will hear this divinity.
  • Maria and attendants exit.
  • OLIVIA
  • Now, sir, where lies your text?
  • VIOLA
  • In Orsino's bosom.
  • OLIVIA
  • In what chapter of his bosom?
  • VIOLA
  • In the first of his heart.
  • OLIVIA
  • Have you no more to say?
  • VIOLA
  • Good madam, let me see your face.
  • OLIVIA
  • You are now out of your text. But we will draw the curtain and show you the picture.
  • She removes her veil.
  • OLIVIA
  • Is ‘t not well done.
  • VIOLA
  • Excellently done, if God did all.
  • OVIVIA
  • Sir, ‘twill endure wind and weather.
  •  
  •  
  • Viola to Olivia
  •  
  • I see you for what you are. You are too
  • Proud, but most fair, and my master loves you.
  • He adores you with tears, passionate sighs
  • And thunderous groans, and suffers for it,
  • Not understanding why this love denies
  • Him. You're the cruel'st she if you see fit
  • To leave the world no copy, you whose red
  • And white sweet nature hath truly blended.
  • If I were he, I'd make me a willow
  • Cabin at your gate and write my sad songs
  • Of disdained love; then sing those sad songs so
  • Loud in the night that echoes would turn wrongs
  • To right. These cries would cause your rest to flee
  • And ‘tween air and earth you should pity me.
  • OLIVIA
  • Your lord does know my mind. But yet I cannot love him. He might have took his answer long ago. Get you to your lord. I cannot love him. Let him send no more------unless perchance you come to me again to tell me how he takes it. Fare you well.
  • VIOLA
  • Farewell, fair cruelty.
  • She exits.
  • OLIVIA
  • Methinks I feel this youth's perfections with an invisible and subtle stealth to creep in at mine eyes. Well, let it be. What ho, Malvolio!
  • Malvolio enters.
  • OLIVIA
  • Run after that same peevish messenger, the County's man. He left this ring behind him. Tell him I'll none of it.
  • She hands him a ring.
  • OLIVIA
  • Hurry, Malvolio.
  • He exits.
  • OLIVIA
  • I do I know not what, and fear to find mine eye too great a flatterer for my mind. Fate, show thy force. Ourselves we do not owe. What is decreed must be, and be this so.
  • She exits.
  • Act 2, Scene 1
  • Sebastian and Antonio are on stage.
  • ANTONIO
  • Do you wish that I not go with you?
  • SEBASTIAN
  • No. My stars shine darkly over me. The malignancy of my fate might perhaps distemper yours. Therefore I shall crave of you your leave that I may bear my evils alone.
  • ANTONIO
  • Let me yet know of you whither you are bound.
  • SEBASTIAN
  • No, sooth, sir. You must know of me, Antonio, my name is Sebastian. My father was that Sebastian of Messaline whom I know you have heard of. He left behind him myself and a sister, both born in an hour. For some hour before you took me from the breach of the sea was my sister drowned.
  • ANTONIO
  • Alas the day!
  • SEBASTIAN
  • A lady, sir, though it was said she much resembled me, was yet of many accounted beautiful. She bore a mind that envy could not but call fair.
  • ANTONIO
  • Let me be your servant.
  • SEBASTIAN
  • Fare you well at once. I am bound to the Count Orsino's court. Farewell.
  • He exits.
  • ANTONIO
  • I have many enemies in Orsino's court. But come what may, I will go.
  • He exits.
  • Act 2, Scene 2
  • Viola and Malvolio enter the stage through separate doors.
  • MALVOLIO
  • Were not you even now with the Countess Olivia?
  • VIOLA
  • Even now, sir.
  • MALVOLIO
  • She returns this ring to you, sir. And one thing more, that you be never so hardy to come again in his affairs, unless it be to report your lord's taking of this.
  • VIOLA
  • She took the ring of me. I'll none of it.
  • MALVOLIO
  • Come, sir, you peevishly threw it to her, and her will is it should be so returned.
  • He throws down the ring and exits.
  • VIOLA
  • I left no ring with her. What means this lady?
  •  
  •  
  • Viola to herself
  •  
  • Her eyes had lost her tongue from what had been
  • My wicked disguise. Now I'm asked back in,
  • The cunning, churlish messenger; doth seem
  • I am the man. If so, the world is men's.
  • Poor soul, she were better to love a dream.
  • The ease which insincere men melt women's
  • Waxen hearts must be one of nature's laws.
  • Alas, our frailty must be the cause,
  • Not we. Such as we are made, such we be.
  • My master loves her dearly and I some
  • Fond of him where she now mistakenly
  • Seems to dote on me. O, what will become
  • Of this that time must untangle, not I;
  • This knot is too hard for me to untie.
  • Act 2, Scene 3
  • Sir Toby and Sir Andrew are on stage.
  • TOBY
  • Does not our lives consist of the four elements?
  • ANDREW
  • Faith, so they say, but I think it rather consists of eating and drinking.
  • TOBY
  • Thou'rt a scholar. Let us therefore eat and drink.
  • Feste, the Fool, enters.
  • TOBY
  • Let's have a song.
  • FOOL SINGS
  • O mistress mine, where are you roaming? O, stay and hear! Your truelove's coming, that can sing both high and low. 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.
  • TOBY
  • Three merry men be we. Am not I consanguineous?
  • Malvolio enters.
  • MALVOLIO
  • My masters, are you mad? Have you no wit, manners, nor honesty but to gabble like tinkers at this time of night? My lady bade me tell you that, though she harbors you as her kinsman, she's nothing allied to your disorders.
  • TOBY SINGS
  • Farewell, dear heart, since I must needs be gone.
  • FOOL SINGS
  • His eyes do show his days are almost done.
  • TOBY TO MALVOLIO
  • Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale.
  • MALVOLIO
  • Mistress Mary, if you prized my lady's favor at anything more than contempt, you would not give means for this uncivil rule. She shall know of it, by this hand.
  • He exits.
  • MARIA
  • Since the youth of the Count's was today with my lady, she is much out of quiet.
  • TOBY
  • What wilt thou do?
  • MARIA
  • I will drop in his way some obscure epistles of love. I can write very like my lady your niece; on a forgotten matter, we can hardly make distinction of our hands.
  • TOBY
  • Excellent! I smell a device. Malvolio shall think, by the letters that thou wilt drop, that they come from my niece, and that she's in love with him.
  • MARIA
  • My purpose is indeed a horse of that color.
  • ANDREW
  • And your horse now would make him an ass.
  • MARIA
  • Ass, I doubt not. For this night, to bed, and dream on the event. Farewell.
  • Maria exits.
  • ANDREW
  • If I cannot recover your niece, I am a foul way out.
  • TOBY
  • Send for money, knight. If thou hast her not i' th' end, call me horse. I'll go burn some sack. ‘Tis too late to go to bed now. Come, knight, come.
  • They exit.
  • Act 2, Scene 4
  • Orsino, Viola and Curio (an aide to Orsino) are on stage.
  • ORSINO
  • Give me some music.
  • Music plays.
  • ORSINO
  • Now, good Cesario, but that piece of song. Come, but one verse.
  • CURIO
  • He is not here, so please your Lordship, that should sing it.
  • ORSINO
  • Who was it?
  • CURIO
  • Feste the jester, my lord, a Fool that the Lady Olivia's father took much delight in. He is about the house.
  • ORSINO
  • Seek him out.
  • Curio exit.
  • ORSINO TO VIOLA
  • Come hither, boy.
  •  
  •  
  • Orsino to Viola, No. 1
  •  
  • If thou ever fall in love and endure
  • Its sweet pangs, remember me. Each lover
  • True, as I, is unstaid and skittish in
  • All motions save the one that is beloved.
  • Dost thou like this tune? I sense love's within
  • Its echo. How masterly. One favored
  • Hast thine eye, hath she not? Tell me of her;
  • About your years. Ah, best a woman were
  • To take an elder, to fit to him, for
  • Our fancies are more giddy and unfirm,
  • More wavering, sooner lost and worn, more
  • Longing than women's are. Each has its term,
  • And women, as roses, the fair flower,
  • Being displayed, do fall that very hour.
  • VIOLA
  • And so they are. Alas, that they are so, to die even when they to perfection grow!
  • Curio and Feste enter.
  • ORSINO
  • O, fellow, come, the song we had last night. Mark it, Cesario. It is old and plain.
  • FOOL
  • Are you ready, sir?
  • ORSINO
  • Ay, prithee, sing.
  • The Fool sings. Orsino gives him money.
  • ORSINO
  • There's for thy pains.
  • FOOL
  • No pains, sir. I take pleasure in singing, sir.
  • ORSINO
  • I'll pay thy pleasure, then. Give me now leave to leave thee.
  • All but Orsino and Viola exit.
  • ORSINO
  • Once more, Cesario, get thee to yond same sovereign cruelty. Tell her of my love, more noble than the world. ‘Tis that miracle and queen of gems that nature pranks her in attracts my soul.
  • VIOLA
  • But if she cannot love you, sir-----
  • ORSINO
  • I cannot be so answered.
  • VIOLA
  • Sooth, but you must. Say that some lady, as perhaps there is, hath for your love as great a pang of heart as you have for Olivia. You cannot love her; as you have for Olivia. Must she not then be answered?
  •  
  •  
  • Orsino to Viola, No. 2
  •  
  • Women have neither the sides nor heart so
  • Strong to so endure the passion this woe
  • Of love doth give my heart. Their hearts can't hold
  • So much, where mine's as hungry as the sea
  • And can digest as much. I won't be told
  • That a woman can love me as I she.
  • Ay, but I know well what love women to
  • Men may owe. In faith, women are as true
  • Of heart as we. My father's one daughter
  • Who loved a man, but never told her love,
  • Lest concealment, like a worm, feed on her
  • Damask cheek. She pined in thought with smiles of
  • Grief. O, we men swear more and speak much of
  • Our vows, but then prove little in our love.
  • VIOLA
  • Sir, shall I to this lady?
  • ORSINO
  • Ay, that's the theme. To her in haste. Give her this jewel. Say my love can give no place. Accept no denial.
  • He hands her a jewel and they exit.
  • Act 2, Scene 5
  • Sir Toby, Sir Andrew and Fabian, a member of Olivia's household, are on stage.
  • TOBY
  • Come thy way, Signior Fabian.
  • FABIAN
  • Nay, I'll come. If I lose a scruple of this sport, let me be boiled to death with melancholy.
  • TOBY
  • Here comes the little villain.
  • Maria enters.
  • MARIA
  • Get you all three into the boxtree. Malvolio's coming down this walk. He has been yonder i' the sun practicing behavior to his own shadow this half hour. Observe him, for the love of mockery, for I know this letter will make a contemplative idiot of him.
  • They hide. She puts down the letter and exits.
  • MALVOLIO
  • ‘Tis but fortune, all is fortune. Maria once told me she did affect me. Besides, she uses me with a more exalted respect than anyone else that follows her. What should I think on ‘t?
  • TOBY ASIDE
  • Here's an overweening rogue.
  • FABIAN
  • O, peace! Contemplation makes a rare turkeycock of him.
  • MALVOLIO
  • To be Count Malvolio. Having been three months married to her, sitting in my state----
  • TOBY
  • O, for a stone-bow, to hit him in the eye!
  • MALVOLIO
  • Calling my officers about me, in my branched velvet gown, having come from a daybed, where I have left Olivia sleeping-----
  • TOBY ASIDE
  • Fire and brimstone!
  • MALVOLIO
  • Toby approaches; curtsies there to me-----
  • TOBY ASIDE
  • Shall this fellow live?
  • MALVOLIO
  • Saying “Cousin Toby, my fortunes, having cast me on your niece, give me this prerogative of speech------“
  • TOBY ASIDE
  • What, what?
  • MALVOLIO
  • “You must amend your drunkenness.”
  • TOBY ASIDE
  • Out, scab!
  • MALVOLIO
  • “Besides, you waste the treasure of your time with a foolish knight-----“
  • ANDREW ASIDE
  • That's me, I warrant you.
  • Malvolio sees the letter and picks it up.
  • MALVOLIO
  • By my life, this is my lady's hand!
  • MALVOLIO READS
  • “To the unknown beloved, this, and my good wishes.” Her very phrases! “Jove knows I love, but who? Lips, do not move; no man must know.” No man must know! If this should be thee, Malvolio!
  • TOBY ASIDE
  • Excellent wench, say I.
  • Malvolio reads the letter.
  •  
  •  
  • Maria as Olivia to Malvolio
  •  
  • Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born
  • Great; it's achieved by some, and for some worn
  • Because it is thrust upon them. Let thy
  • Blood and spirit embrace thy fates. Inure
  • Thyself to what thou soon can be. Untie
  • Thy tongue with arguments of state, fair sir;
  • Be surly with servants and opposite
  • With a kinsman. She who sighs counsels it.
  • Remember who commended thy yellow
  • Stockings and wished to see thee cross-gartered.
  • Go, if to be, or remain the fellow
  • Of knaves. Thou canst but know ‘twas I you heard.
  • If thou seek'st my love, smile when we meet,
  • For thy smiles become thee well, dear my sweet.
  • MALVOLIO
  • I will smile. I will do everything that thou wilt have me.
  • He exits.
  • TOBY
  • I could marry this wench for this device.
  • ANDREW
  • So could I, too.
  • Maria enters.
  • MARIA
  • Nay, but say true, does it work upon him?
  • TOBY
  • Like brandy with a midwife.
  • MARIA
  • If you will then see the fruits of the sport, mark his first approach before my lady. He will come to her in yellow stockings, and ‘tis a color she abhors, and cross-gartered, a fashion she detests; and he will smile upon her, which will now be so unsuitable to her disposition, being addicted to a melancholy as she is, that it cannot but turn him into a notable contempt. If you will see it, follow me.
  • They exit.
  • Act 3, Scene 1
  • Viola meets the Fool playing a tabor (a small drum) on her way to see Olivia.
  • VIOLA
  • Dost thou live by playing the tabor?
  • FOOL
  • No, sir. I live by the church.
  • VIOLA
  • Art thou a churchman?
  • FOOL
  • I do live by the church, for I do live at my house, and my house doth stand by the church.
  • VIOLA
  • So thou mayst say the king lies by a beggar if a beggar dwell near him.
  • FOOL
  • You have said, sir. How quickly the wrong side may be turned outward!
  • VIOLA
  • They that dally nicely with words may quickly make them wanton.
  • FOOL
  • I would therefore my sister had had no name, sir.
  • VIOLA
  • Why, man?
  • FOOL
  • Why, sir, her name's a word, and to dally with that word might make my sister wanton.
  • VIOLA
  • Art not thou the Lady Olivia's Fool?
  • FOOL
  • No, indeed, sir. I am not her Fool but her corrupter of words.
  • VIOLA
  • I saw thee late at the Count Orsino's.
  • FOOL
  • Foolery, sir, does walk about the orb like the sun; it shines everywhere.
  • VIOLA
  • Is thy lady within?
  • FOOL
  • My lady is within, sir. Who you are and what you would are out of my welkin----I might say “element,” but the word is overworn.
  • He exits.
  • VIOLA
  • This fellow is wise enough to play the Fool, and to do that well craves a kind of wit. He must observe their mood on whom he jests, the quality of persons, and the time, and check at every feather that comes before his eye.
  • Toby greets Viola
  • TOBY
  • Will you encounter the house? My niece is desirous you should enter.
  • VIOLA
  • I am bound to your niece, sir; I mean, she is the list of my voyage.
  • Olivia and Maria enter.
  • OLIVIA
  • Let the garden door be shut, and leave me to my hearing.
  • Maria exits.
  • OLIVIA
  • Give me your hand, sir. What is your name?
  • VIOLA
  • Cesario is your servant's name, fair princess.
  • OLIVIA
  • My servant, sir? You're servant to the Count Orsino, youth.
  • VIOLA
  • And he is yours. Your servant's servant is your servant, madam.
  • OLIVIA
  • For him, I think not on him.
  • VIOLA
  • Madam, I come to whet your gentle thoughts on his behalf.
  • OLIVIA
  • I bade you never speak again of him.
  • VIOLA
  • Dear lady------
  • OLIVIA
  • I did send, after the last enchantment you did here, a ring in chase of you. So did I abuse myself, my servant, and I fear me, you. A cypress hides my heart.
  • VIOLA
  • I pity you.
  • OLIVIA
  • Why then methinks ‘tis time to smile again. If one should be a prey, how much the better to fall before the lion than the wolf.
  • The clock strikes.
  • OLIVIA
  • The clock upbraids me with the waste of time. Be not afraid, good youth, I will not have you. Your wife is like to reap a proper man. There lies your way, due west.
  • VIOLA
  • Then westward ho!
  • OLIVIA
  • Stay, I prithee, tell me what thou think'st of me.
  • VIOLA
  • That you do think you are not what you are.
  • OLIVIA
  • If I think so, I think the same of you.
  • VIOLA
  • Then think you right. I am not what I am.
  • OLIVIA
  • Cesario, I love thee so, that, nor wit nor reason can my passion hide. Do not extort thy reasons from this clause, for that I woo, thou therefore hast no cause. Love sought is good, but given unsought is better.
  • VIOLA
  • I have one heart, and no woman has, nor never none shall mistress be of it, save I alone. And so adieu, good madam. Nevermore will I may master's tears to you deplore.
  • They exit in different directions.
  • Act 3, Scene 2
  • Sir Toby, Sir Andrew and Fabian are on stage.
  • ANDREW
  • I saw your niece do more favors to the Count's servingman than ever she bestowed upon me.
  • FABIAN
  • She did show favor to the youth in your sight only to exasperate you, to awake your dormouse valor, to put fire in your heart and brimstone in your liver. You should have banged the youth into dumbness. You are now sailed into the north of my lady's opinion, unless you do redeem it by some laudable attempt either of valor or policy.
  • ANDREW
  • An ‘t be any way, it must be with valor, for policy I hate.
  • TOBY
  • Challenge the Count's youth to fight with him. My niece shall take note of it, and assure thyself, there is no love-broker in the world can more prevail in man's commendation with woman than report of valor.
  • FABIAN
  • There is no way but this, Sir Andrew.
  • ANDREW
  • Where shall I find you?
  • TOBY
  • We'll call thee at the bedchamber. Go.
  • Sir Andrew exits. Maria enters.
  • MARIA
  • If you desire the spleen, and will laugh yourselves into stitches, follow me. Yond gull Malvolio is turned heathen. He's in yellow stockings.
  • TOBY
  • And cross-gartered?
  • MARIA
  • Most villainously. He does obey every point of the letter that I dropped to betray him. He does smile his face into more lines than is in the new map with the augmentation of the Indies. You have not seen such a thing as ‘tis.
  • TOBY
  • Come, bring us, bring us where he is.
  • They all exit.
  • Act 3, Scene 3
  • Sebastian and Antonio are on stage.
  • SEBASTIAN
  • I would not by my will have troubled you, but, since you make your pleasure of your pains, I will no further chide you.
  • ANTONIO
  • I could not stay behind you.
  • SEBASTIAN
  • My kind Antonio, I can no other answer make but thanks. What's to do? Shall we go see the relics of this town?
  • ANTONIO
  • Tomorrow, sir. Best first go see your lodging.
  • SEBASTIAN
  • Let us satisfy our eyes with the memorials and the things of fame that do renown this city.
  • ANTONIO
  • Would you'd pardon me. I do not without danger walk these streets.
  • SEBASTIAN
  • Belike you slew great number of his people?
  • ANTONIO
  • It might have since been answered in repaying what we took from them, which, for traffic's sake, most of our city did. Only myself stood out, for which, if I be lapsed in this place, I shall pay dear.
  • SEBASTIAN
  • Do not then walk too open.
  • ANTONIO
  • It doth not fit me. Hold, sir, here's my purse. In the south suburbs, at the Elephant, is best to lodge.
  • SEBASTIAN
  • I'll be your purse-bearer and leave you for an hour.
  • ANTONIO
  • To th' Elephant.
  • SEBASTIAN
  • I do remember.
  • They exit in different directions.
  • Act 3, Scene 4
  • Olivia and Maria are on stage.
  • OLIVIA ASIDE
  • I have sent after him. He says he'll come. What bestow of him? I speak too loud. Where's Malvolio?
  • MARIA
  • He's coming, madam, but in very strange manner.
  • OLIVIA
  • Why, what's the matter? Does he rave?
  • MARIA
  • No, madam, he does nothing but smile.
  • OLIVIA
  • Go call him hither.
  • Maria exits.
  • OLIVIA
  • I am as mad as he, if sad and merry madness equal be.
  • Maria and Malvolio enter.
  • OLIVIA
  • Smil'st thou? I sent for thee upon a sad occasion.
  • MALVOLIO
  • Sad, lady? I could be sad. This does make some obstruction in the blood, this cross-gartering, but what of that?
  • OLIVIA
  • What is the matter with thee?
  • MALVOLIO
  • Not black in my mind, though yellow in my legs.
  • MARIA
  • Why appear you with this ridiculous boldness before my lady?
  • MALVOLIO
  • “Be not afraid of greatness.” ‘Twas well writ.
  • OLIVIA
  • What mean'st thou by that, Malvolio?
  • MALVOLIO
  • “Some are born great------. And some have greatness thrust upon them.”
  • OLIVIA
  • Heaven restore thee!
  • MALVOLIO
  • “Remember who commended thy yellow stockings-----.”
  • OLIVIA
  • Thy yellow stockings? Cross-gartered? Why, this is very midsummer madness!
  • A servant enters.
  • SERVANT
  • Madam, they young gentleman of the Count Orsino's is returned. He attends your Ladyship's pleasure.
  • OLIVIA
  • I'll come to him.
  • Servant exits.
  • OLIVIA
  • Good Maria, let this fellow be looked to. Where's my Cousin Toby? Let some of my people have a special care of him.
  • Olivia and Maria exit in different directions.
  • MALVOLIO
  • No worse man than Sir Toby to look to me. This concurs directly with the letter. Says she, “Be opposite with a kinsman, surly with servants.” And when she went away now, “Let this fellow be looked to.” “Fellow!” Not “Malvolio.” Why, everything adheres together. What can be said? Nothing that can be can come between me and the full prospect of my hopes.
  • Toby, Fabian and Maria enter.
  • FABIAN
  • Here he is, here he is. How is ‘t with you, sir?
  • MALVOLIO
  • Go off, I discard you.
  • MARIA
  • Sir Toby, my lady prays you to have a care of him.
  • MALVOLIO
  • Aha, does she so?
  • TOBY
  • Prithee, hold thy peace. Let me alone with him.
  • FABIAN
  • No way but gentleness, gently, gently. The fiend is rough and will not be roughly used.
  • MALVOLIO
  • Go hang yourselves all! You are idle, shallow things. I am not of your element. You shall know more hereafter.
  • He exits.
  • TOBY
  • Come, we'll have him in a dark room and bound. My niece is already in the belief that he's mad.
  • Sir Andrew enters. He presents a paper.
  • ANDREW
  • Here's the challenge. Read it. I warrant there's vinegar and pepper in ‘t.
  • Toby reads the paper.
  • TOBY READING
  • Youth, whatsoever thou art, thou art but a scurvy fellow. I will waylay thee going home. Fare thee well, and God have mercy upon one of our souls.
  • The letter is signed: Andrew Aguecheek.
  • TOBY
  • If this letter move him not, his legs cannot. I'll give ‘t him.
  • MARIA
  • He is now in some commerce with my lady, and will by and by depart.
  • TOBY
  • Go, Sir Andrew. Scout me for him at the corner of the orchard.
  • Andrew exits.
  • TOBY
  • Therefore, this letter, being so excellently ignorant, will breed no terror in the youth. He will find it comes from a clodpoll. I will deliver his challenge by word of mouth.
  • Olivia and Viola enter. Toby, Fabian and Maria exit.
  • OLIVIA
  • I have said too much unto a heart of stone and laid mine honor too unchary on ‘t.
  • VIOLA
  • With the same ‘havior that your passion bears goes on my master's griefs.
  • OLIVIA
  • Here, wear this jewel for me. ‘Tis my picture. I beseech you come again tomorrow. What shall you ask of me that I'll deny?
  • VIOLA
  • Nothing but this: your true love for my master.
  • OLIVIA
  • Well, come again tomorrow. Fare thee well.
  • Olivia exits. Toby and Fabian enter.
  • TOBY
  • Gentleman, God save thee.
  • VIOLA
  • And you, sir.
  • TOBY
  • Of what nature the wrongs are thou hast done him, I know not, but thy intercepter attends thee at the orchard end. Be yare in thy preparation, for thy assailant is quick, skillful, and deadly.
  • VIOLA
  • You mistake, sir. I am sure no man hath any quarrel to me.
  • TOBY
  • You'll find it otherwise, I assure you. Betake you to your guard, for your opposite hath in him what youth, strength, skill, and wrath can furnish man withal.
  • VIOLA
  • What is he?
  • TOBY
  • He is knight with unhatched rapier, but he is a devil in private brawl.
  • VIOLA
  • I will return again into the house and desire some conduct of the lady. I am no fighter. I have heard of some kind of men that put quarrels purposely on others to taste their valor. Belike this is a man of that quirk.
  • TOBY
  • Sir, no. Therefore, strip your sword stark naked, for meddle you must, that's certain, or forswear to wear iron about you.
  • VIOLA
  • This is as uncivil as strange. I beseech you, do me this courteous office, as to know of the knight what my offense to him is.
  • TOBY
  • I will do so.
  • He exits.
  • VIOLA TO FABIAN
  • I beseech you, what manner of man is he?
  • FABIAN
  • He is indeed, sir, the most skillful, bloody, and fatal opposite that you could possibly have found in any part of Illyria. I will make your peace with him if I can.
  • VIOLA
  • I am one that had rather go with Sir Priest than Sir Knight, I care not who knows so much of my mettle.
  • They exit. Toby and Andrew enter.
  • TOBY
  • Why, man, he's a very devil. They say he has been fencer to the shah of Persia.
  • ANDREW
  • I'll not meddle with him.
  • TOBY
  • Ay, but he will not now be pacified. Fabian can scarce hold him yonder.
  • ANDREW
  • Plague on ‘t! Let him let the matter slip, and I'll give him my horse, gray Capilet.
  • TOBY
  • I'll make the motion. Stand here, make a good show on ‘t.
  • TOBY ASIDE
  • Marry, I'll ride your horse as well as I ride you.
  • Fabian and Viola enter.
  • TOBY ASIDE TO FABIAN
  • I have his horse to take up the quarrel. I have persuaded him the youth's a devil.
  • FABIAN TO TOBY ASIDE
  • He has a horrible image of him, and pants and looks pale as if a bear were at his heels.
  • TOBY TO VIOLA
  • There's no remedy, sir; he will fight with you for ‘s oath sake. Therefore, draw for the supportance of his vow. He protests he will not hurt you.
  • VIOLA
  • Pray God defend me!
  • FABIAN
  • Give ground if you see him furious.
  • Toby crosses to Andrew.
  • TOBY
  • Come, Sir Andrew, there's no remedy. But he has promised me, as he is a gentleman and a soldier, he will not hurt you.
  • ANDREW
  • Pray God he keep his oath!
  • Andrew draws his sword. Viola draws her sword. Antonio enters.
  • ANTONIO TO ANDREW
  • Put up your sword. If this young gentleman hath done offense, I take the fault on me.
  • TOBY
  • You, sir? What are you?
  • ANTONIO
  • One, sir, that dares yet do more than you have heard him brag to you he will.
  • Toby draws his sword.
  • TOBY
  • Nay, if you be an undertaker, I am for you.
  • Officers enter.
  • FABIAN
  • O, good Sir Toby, hold! Here come the officers.
  • VIOLA TO ANDREW
  • Pray, sir, put your sword up, if you please.
  • ANDREW
  • Marry, will I sir.
  • FIRST OFFICER
  • This is the man.
  • SECOND OFFICER
  • Antonio, I arrest thee at the suit of Count Orsino.
  • ANTONIO
  • You do mistake me, sir.
  • FIRST OFFICER
  • No, sir no jot. He knows I know him well.
  • ANTONIO TO VIOLA
  • This comes with seeking you. Now my necessity makes me to ask you for my purse? You stand amazed, but be of comfort.
  • SECOND OFFICER
  • Come, sir, away.
  • ANTONIO TO VIOLA
  • I must entreat of you some of that money.
  • VIOLA
  • What money, sir? For the fair kindness you have showed me here, I'll lend you something. My having is not much.
  • ANTONIO
  • Will you deny me now? Is ‘t possible with those kindnesses that I have done for you.
  • VIOLA
  • I know of none, nor know I you by voice or any feature. I hate ingratitude more in a man than lying, vainness, babbling drunkenness, or any taint of vice whose strong corruption inhabits our frail blood.
  • ANTONIO
  • O heavens themselves!
  • SECOND OFFICER
  • Come, sir, I pray you go.
  • ANTONIO
  • Let me speak a little. This youth that you see here I snatched one half out of the jaws of death.
  • FIRST OFFICER
  • What's that to us? The time goes by. Away!
  • ANTONIO
  • Thou hast, Sebastian, done good feature shame.
  • FIRST OFFICER
  • The man grows mad. Away with him.
  • Antonio and Officers exit.
  • VIOLA ASIDE
  • O, prove true, that I, dear brother, be now ta'en for you!
  • Toby, Fabian and Andrew move aside.
  • VIOLA
  • He named Sebastian. I my brother know yet living in my glass. Even such and so in favor was my brother, and he went still in this fashion, color, ornament, for him I imitate. O, if it prove, tempests are kind and salt waves fresh in love.
  • She exits.
  • TOBY
  • A very dishonest, paltry boy, and more a coward than a hare. His dishonesty appears in leaving his friend here in necessity and denying him.
  • FABIAN
  • A coward, a most devout coward, religious in it.
  • They exit.
  • Act 4, Scene 1
  • Sebastian and the Fool enter.
  • FOOL
  • Will you make me believe that I am not sent for you?
  • SEBASTIAN
  • Thou art a foolish fellow. Let me be clear of thee.
  • FOOL
  • Well held out, i' faith. No, I do not know you, nor I am not sent to you by my lady to bid you come speak with her. Nothing that is so is so.
  • SEBASTIAN
  • I prithee, vent thy folly somewhere else. Thou know'st not me.
  • FOOL
  • Vent my folly? I prithee now, ungird thy strangeness and tell me what I shall vent to my lady. Shall I vent to her that thou art coming?
  • SEBASTIAN
  • I prithee, foolish Greek, depart from me.
  • Andrew, Toby and Fabian enter.
  • ANDREW TO SEBASTIAN
  • Now, sir, have I met you again? There's for you.
  • He strikes Sebastian. Sebastian returns the blow.
  • SEBASTIAN
  • Why, there's for thee. Are all the people mad?
  • FOOL ASIDE
  • This will I tell my lady straight.
  • He exits. Toby seizes Sebastian.
  • TOBY
  • Come on, sir, hold!
  • ANDREW
  • Nay, let him alone. I'll have an action of battery against him. Though I struck him first, yet it's no matter for that.
  • SEBASTIAN TO TOBY
  • Let go thy hand!
  • TOBY
  • Come, sir, I will not let you go.
  • Sebastian pulls free and draws his sword.
  • SEBASTIAN
  • What wouldst thou now?
  • TOBY
  • What, what? Nay, then.
  • He draws his sword. Olivia enters.
  • OLIVIA
  • Hold, Toby! On thy life I charge thee, hold! Out of my sight! Be not offended, dear Cesario.
  • Toby, Andrew and Fabian exit.
  • OLIVIA
  • I prithee, gentle friend, go with me to my house. Thou shalt not choose but go. Do not deny.
  • SEBASTIAN ASIDE
  • What relish is in this. If it be thus to dream, still let me sleep!
  • OLIVIA
  • Nay, come, I prithee. Would thou'dst be ruled by me!
  • SEBASTIAN
  • Madam, I will.
  • OLIVIA
  • O, say so, and so be!
  • They exit.
  • Act 4, Scene 2
  • Maria and the Fool are on stage.
  • MARIA
  • Put on this gown and this beard: make him believe thou art Sir Topas the curate.
  • She exits.
  • FOOL
  • Well, I'll put it on.
  • He puts on the gown and beard. Toby and Maria enter.
  • TOBY
  • Jove bless thee, Master Parson.
  • The Fool disguises his voice.
  • FOOL
  • What ho, I say! Peace in this prison!
  • Malvolio is within.
  • MALVOLIO
  • Who calls there?
  • FOOL
  • Sir Topas the curate, who comes to visit Malvolio the lunatic.
  • MALVOLIO
  • Good Sir Topas, go to my lady.
  • FOOL
  • How vexest thou this man! Talkest thou nothing but of ladies?
  • MALVOLIO
  • Sir Topas, never was man thus wronged. They have laid me here in hideous darkness.
  • FOOL
  • Sayst thou that house is dark?
  • MALVOLIO
  • As hell, Sir Topas.
  • FOOL
  • Why, it hath bay windows transparent as barricades. Yet complainest thou of obstruction?
  • MALVOLIO
  • I say to you this house is dark.
  • FOOL
  • Madman, thou errest. I say there is no darkness but ignorance.
  • MALVOLIO
  • I say this house is as dark as ignorance. I am no more mad than you are.
  • FOOL
  • Fare thee well. Remain thou still in darkness. Fare thee well.
  • MALVOLIO
  • Sir Topas. Sir Topas!
  • The Fool joins Toby and Maria aside.
  • MARIA
  • Thou mightst have done this without thy beard and gown. He sees thee not.
  • TOBY
  • To him in thine own voice, and bring me word how thou find'st him.
  • Toby and Maria exit.
  • FOOL
  • Master Malvolio?
  • MALVOLIO
  • Ay, good Fool.
  • FOOL
  • Alas, sir, how fell you besides your five wits?
  • MALVOLIO
  • I am as well in my wits, Fool, as thou art.
  • FOOL
  • But as well? Then you are mad indeed.
  • The Fool changes his voice to that of Sir Topas.
  • FOOL
  • Malvolio, Malvolio, thy wits the heavens restore.
  • MALVOLIO
  • Sir Topas! Good Fool, some ink, paper, and light; and convey what I will set down to my lady.
  • FOOL
  • I will help you to ‘t. But tell me true, are you not mad indeed, or do you but counterfeit?
  • MALVOLIO
  • Believe me, I am not. I tell thee true.
  • FOOL
  • Nay, I'll ne'er believe a madman till I see his brains. I will fetch you light and paper and ink.
  • MALVOLIO
  • Fool, I'll requite it in the highest degree. I prithee, begone.
  • The Fool exits.
  • Act 4, Scene 3
  • Sebastian is on stage.
  •  
  •  
  • Sebastian to himself
  •  
  • This is the air; that the glorious sun,
  • And this the pearl she gave me. What is done
  • Is not madness, yet wonder doth enwrap
  • Me thus. Where's Antonio now that I
  • Might need his golden counsel in this flap
  • That surrounds me. Though my soul disputes my
  • Better sense that this some error, yet this
  • Accident and flood of fortune doth miss
  • All reasonable discourse, yet I'm ready
  • To distrust mine eyes and wrangle with good
  • And persuasive reason that the lady
  • Is or I am mad. Yet if she, how could
  • She command deftly? ‘Tis conceivable
  • There's something here that is deceivable.
  • Olivia and a Priest enter.
  • OLIVIA TO SEBASTIAN
  • If you mean well, now go with me and with this holy man into the chantry by. There, plight me the full assurance of your faith.
  • SEBASTIAN
  • I'll follow this good man and go with you and, having sworn truth, ever will be true.
  • OLIVIA
  • Then lead the way, good father, and heavens so shine that they may fairly note this act of mine.
  • They exit.
  • Act 5, Scene 1
  • Orsino, Viola, Curio and others are on stage. The Fool and Fabian enter.
  • ORSINO
  • Belong you to the Lady Olivia, friends.
  • FOOL
  • Ay, sir, we are some of her trappings.
  • ORSINO
  • I know thee we. How dost thou, my good fellow?
  • Orsino gives him a coin.
  • ORSINO
  • If you will let your lady know I am here to speak with her, and bring her along with you, it may awake my bounty further.
  • The Fool exits. Antonio and Officers enter.
  • VIOLA
  • Here comes the man, sir, that did rescue me.
  • ORSINO
  • That face of his I do remember well. What's the matter.
  • FIRST OFFICER
  • Orsino, this is that Antonio that the Phoenix. This is he that did the Tiger board when your young nephew Titus lost his leg. Here in the streets in private brabble did we apprehend him.
  • VIOLA
  • He did me kindness, sir.
  • ORSINO
  • Notable pirate, what foolish boldness brought thee to thine enemies?
  •  
  •  
  • Antonio to Orsino
  •  
  • Antonio never yet was a thief
  • Though I doth confess, based on sound belief,
  • Orsino's enemy. I did redeem
  • That most ingrateful boy there by your side,
  • Past hope he was, from a sea that did teem
  • Rudely with enraged foam; there had he died
  • Had not I in dedication, without
  • Retention, given life back to him. Doubt
  • Not I, when I, exposed to grave danger
  • In this most adverse town, drew to defend
  • Him beset. When I taken, did occur
  • To him to know me not. He, to a friend
  • Loyal to him for these twenty years, doth sink
  • To this, in the time it takes me to blink.
  • VIOLA
  • How can this be?
  • ORSINO TO ANTONIO
  • When came he to this town?
  • ANTONIO
  • Today, my lord.
  • Olivia and attendants enter.
  • ORSINO
  • Now heaven walks on earth! But for thee, fellow, thy words are madness. Three months this youth hath tended upon me.
  • OLIVIA
  • Cesario, you do not keep promise with me?
  • VIOLA
  • Madam?
  • ORSINO
  • Gracious Olivia----
  • OLIVIA
  • What do you say, Cesario?
  • VIOLA
  • My lord would speak; my duty hushes me.
  • ORSINO
  • What, to perverseness? What shall I do?
  • OLIVIA
  • Even what it please my lord that shall become him.
  • ORSINO
  • But this your minion, whom I know you love, and whom, by heaven I swear, I tender dearly, him will I tear out of that cruel eye where he sits crowned in his master's spite. Come, boy, with me. My thoughts are ripe in mischief. I'll sacrifice the lamb that I do love to spite a raven's heart within a dove.
  • VIOLA
  • And I. most willingly, to do you rest a thousand deaths would die.
  • OLIVIA
  • Where goes Cesario?
  • VIOLA
  • After him I love more than I love these eyes, more than my life.
  • OLIVIA
  • How am I beguiled!
  • VIOLA
  • Who does beguile you? Who does do you wrong?
  • OLIVIA
  • Hast thou forgot thyself? Is it so long? Call forth the holy father.
  • An attendant exits.
  • ORSINO TO VIOLA
  • Come, away!
  • OLIVIA
  • Cesario, husband, stay.
  • ORSINO
  • Husband?
  • OLIVIA
  • Ay, husband. Can he that deny?
  • ORSINO
  • Her husband, sirrah?
  • VIOLA
  • No, my lord, not I.
  • The Priest enters.
  • OLIVIA
  • Father, reveal what thou dost know hath newly passed between this youth and me.
  • PRIEST
  • A contract of eternal bond of love, attested by the holy close of lips, strengthened by interchangement of your rings, sealed in my function, by my testimony.
  • ORSINO TO VIOLA
  • O thou dissembling cub! Farewell, and take her, but direct thy feet where thou and I henceforth may never meet.
  • VIOLA
  • My lord, I do protest----
  • Andrew enters.
  • ANDREW
  • A surgeon! Send one presently to Sir Toby.
  • OLIVIA
  • What's the matter?
  • ANDREW
  • He broke my head across, and has give Sir Toby a bloody coxcomb too.
  • OLIVIA
  • Who has done this, Sir Andrew?
  • ANDREW
  • The Count's gentleman, one Cesario.
  • ORSINO
  • My gentleman Cesario?
  • ANDREW
  • By God's little lives, here he is!
  • VIOLA
  • Why do you speak to me? I never hurt you. You drew your sword upon me without cause, but I bespake you fair and hurt you not.
  • Toby and the Fool enter.
  • ORSINO
  • How now, gentleman? How is ‘t with you?
  • TOBY
  • That's all one. Has hurt me, and there's th' end on ‘t.
  • TOBY TO THE FOOL
  • Sot, didst see Dick Surgeon, sot?
  • FOOL
  • O, he's drunk, Sir Toby, an hour agone; his eyes were set at eight i' th' morning.
  • OLIVIA
  • Get him to bed, and let his hurt be looked to.
  • Toby, Andrew, Fool and Fabian exit. Sebastian enters.
  • SEBASTIAN
  • I am sorry, madam, I have hurt your kinsman. Pardon me, sweet one, even for the vows we made each other but so late ago.
  • ORSINO
  • One face, one voice, one habit, and two persons! A natural perspective, that is and is not!
  • SEBASTIAN
  • How have the hours racked and tortured me since I have lost thee.
  • ANTONIO
  • Sebastian are you? Than these two creatures. Which is Sebastian?
  • OLIVIA
  • Most wonderful!
  • SEBASTIAN LOOKING AT VIOLA
  • Do I stand there? I never had a brother. I had a sister, whom the blind waves and surges have devoured. Of charity, what kin are you to me?
  • VIOLA
  • Of Messaline. Sebastian was my father. Such a Sebastian was my brother, too.
  • SEBASTIAN
  • Were you a woman, as the rest goes even I should my tears let fall upon your cheek and say “Thrice welcome, drowned Viola.”
  • VIOLA
  • My father had a mole upon his brow.
  • SEBASTIAN
  • And so had mine.
  • VIOLA
  • And died that day when Viola from her birth had numbered thirteen years.
  • SEBASTIAN
  • O, that record is lively in my soul!
  • VIOLA
  • Do not embrace me till each circumstance of place, time, fortune, do cohere and jump that I am Viola; which to confirm, I'll bring you to a captain in this town, where lie my maiden weeds; by whose gentle help I was preserved to serve this noble count.
  • SEBASTIAN TO OLIVIA
  • So comes it, lady, you have been mistook. But nature to her bias drew in that. You would have been contacted to a maid.
  • ORSINO TO OLIVIA
  • Be not amazed. I shall have share in this most happy wrack.
  • VIOLA
  • And all those sayings will I overswear.
  • ORSINO
  • Give me thy hand, and let me see thee in thy woman's weeds.
  • VIOLA
  • The Captain that did bring me first on shore hath my maid's garments. He, upon some action, is now in durance at Malvolio's suit.
  • Fabian enters. The Fool enters with a letter.
  • OLIVIA
  • Fetch Malvolio hither.
  • OLIVIA TO THE FOOL
  • How does he, sirrah?
  • FOOL
  • He has here writ a letter to you. I should have given ‘t you today morning. But as a madman's epistles are no gospels, so it skills not much when they are delivered.
  • Olivia gives the letter to Fabian.
  • OLIVIA TO FABIAN
  • Read it you, sirrah.
  • THE LETTER READS
  • By the Lord, madam, you wrong me, and the world shall know it. Though you have put me into darkness and given your drunken cousin rule over me, yet have I the benefit of my senses as well as your Ladyship. I have your own letter that induced me to the semblance I put on, with the which I doubt not but to do myself much right or you much shame. Think of me as you please. I leave my duty a little unthought of and speak out of my injury. The madly used Malvolio.
  • OLIVIA
  • Did he write this?
  • FOOL
  • Ay, madam.
  • OLIVIA
  • See him delivered, Fabian, Bring him hither.
  • Fabian exits.
  • OLIVIA TO ORSINO
  • My lord, these things further thought on, to think me as well a sister as a wife, one day shall we crown th' alliance on it, here at my house, and at my proper cost.
  • ORSINO
  • A sister! You are she.
  • Malvolio and Fabian enter.
  • MALVOLIO
  • Madam, you have done me wrong, notorious wrong.
  • OLIVIA
  • Have I, Malvolio? No.
  • MALVOLIO
  • Lady, you have. Pray you peruse that letter. You must not now deny it is you hand.
  •  
  •  
  • Malvolio to Olivia
  •  
  • Tell me why, having given me such clear
  • Signs of favor, having bade me come here
  • Smiling and cross-gartered, asking me to
  • Frown upon Sir Toby, to parade in
  • Yellow stockings, giving me fresh hope, you
  • Suffered me to be imprisoned? What sin
  • Did I? You say, steward, this is not your
  • Hand, ‘tis Maria's, and that she did lure
  • Me to this insult, and she says I wast
  • Mad. Please let me speak. If Maria writ
  • The letter, and admit, I'll be less lost,
  • And if these mean acts ‘gainst me do not fit,
  • Then my desire for just revenge will fade
  • If injuries both sides be justly weighed.
  • Malvolio exits.
  • OLIVIA
  • He hath been most notoriously abused.
  • ORSINO
  • Pursue him and entreat him to a peace. He hath not told us of the Captain yet. When that is known, and golden time convents, a solemn combination shall be made of our dear souls. Cesario, come, for so you shall be while you are a man. But when in other habits you are seen, Orsino's mistress, and his fancy's queen.
  • All but the Fool exit.
  • FOOL
  • A great while ago the world begun, with 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.
  • He exits.

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