Research Paper: Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night Written by William Shakespeare
Main Characters Orsino, Viola, Olivia, Sebastian, Malvolio
Viola “A young woman of aristocratic birth, and the play’s protagonist. Washed up on the shore of Illyria when her ship is wrecked in a storm, Viola decides to make her own way in the world. She disguises herself as a young man, calling herself “Cesario,” and becomes a page to Duke Orsino. She ends up falling in love with Orsino—even as Olivia, the woman Orsino is courting, falls in love with Cesario. Thus, Viola finds that her clever disguise has entrapped her: she cannot tell Orsino that she loves him, and she cannot tell Olivia why she, as Cesario, cannot love her. Viola’s poignant plight is the central conflict in the play.”
Duke Orsino “A powerful nobleman in the country of Illyria. Orsino is lovesick for the beautiful Lady Olivia, but finds himself becoming more and more fond of his handsome new page boy, Cesario, who is actually a woman—Viola. Orsino is a vehicle through whom Shakespeare explores the absurdity of love. A supreme egotist, Orsino mopes around complaining how heartsick he is over Olivia, when it is clear that he is chiefly in love with the idea of being in love and enjoys making a spectacle of himself.”
Lady Olivia “A wealthy, beautiful, and noble Illyrian lady. Olivia is courted by Orsino and Sir Andrew Aguecheek, but to each of them she insists that she is in mourning for her recently deceased brother and will not marry for seven years. Olivia and Orsino are similar characters in that each seems to enjoy wallowing in his or her own misery. Viola’s arrival in the masculine guise of Cesario enables Olivia to break free of her self-indulgent melancholy.”
Sebastian “Viola’s lost twin brother. When Sebastian arrives in Illyria, traveling with Antonio, his close friend and protector, he discovers that many people seem to think that they know him. Furthermore, the beautiful Lady Olivia, whom Sebastian has never met, wants to marry him.”
Malvolio “The straitlaced steward—or head servant—in the household of Lady Olivia. Malvolio is very efficient but also very self-righteous, and he has a poor opinion of drinking, singing, and fun. His priggishness and haughty attitude earn him the enmity of Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and Maria, who play a cruel trick on him, making him believe that Olivia is in love with him. In his fantasies about marrying his mistress, Malvolio reveals a powerful ambition to rise above his social class.”
Fool “The clown, or court jester, of Olivia’s household. The Fool, also known as Feste, moves between Olivia’s and Orsino’s homes, earning his living by making pointed jokes, singing old songs, being generally witty, and offering good advice cloaked under a layer of foolishness. In spite of being a professional fool, Feste often seems the wisest character in the play.”
Sir Toby Beich “Olivia’s uncle. Olivia lets Sir Toby live with her but does not approve of his rowdy behavior, practical jokes, heavy drinking, late-night carousing, or friends (specifically the idiotic Sir Andrew). But Sir Toby has an ally—and eventually a mate—in Olivia’s sharp-witted serving-woman, Maria. Together, they bring about the triumph of fun and disorder, which Sir Toby embodies, and the humiliation of the controlling, self-righteous Malvolio”
Maria “Olivia’s clever, daring young serving-woman. Maria is remarkably similar to her antagonist, Malvolio, who harbors aspirations of rising in the world through marriage. However, Maria succeeds where Malvolio fails—perhaps because she is more in tune than Malvolio with the anarchic, topsy-turvy spirit that animates the play.”
Sir Andrew “A friend of Sir Toby’s. Sir Andrew Aguecheek attempts to court Olivia, but he doesn’t stand a chance. He thinks that he is witty, brave, young, and good at languages and dancing, but he is actually a complete idiot.”
Antonio “A man who rescues Sebastian after his shipwreck. Antonio has become very fond of Sebastian, caring for him, accompanying him to Illyria, and furnishing him with money—all because of a love so strong that it seems to be romantic in nature. When the principal characters marry at the end of the play, Antonio is left out, his love for Sebastian unrequited.”
Valentine and Curio “Two gentlemen who work for Duke Orsino.”
Fabian “A servant in Olivia’s household. He assists Maria and Sir Toby in their plot to humiliate Malvolio.”
Captain “The sea captain who rescues Viola after the shipwreck. He helps Viola become a page to Duke Orsino and keeps her identity a secret.”
Setting, Illyria pages 11-12 Viola: What country, friends, is this?Captain: This is Illyria, lady.
Duke Orsino explains his love for Olivia the first time. page 8 Orsino: If music be the food of love, play on;Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,The appetite may sicken, and so die.That strain again! it had a dying fall:O, it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound,That breathes upon a bank of violets,Stealing and giving odour! Enough; no more:’Tis not so sweet now as it was before.
This is the first time Viola hears about Duke Orsino. page 13-14 Viola: Who govern here?Captain: a noble duke, in nature as his name. Viola: What is the name?Captain: Orsino
Description of Olivia pages 14-15 CAPTAIN”A virtuous young woman, the daughter of a count who died last year. Her brother had custody of her for a while, but then he died too. They say she’s totally sworn off men now, in memory of her brother.” said by Captain
This is when Viola asks Captain to help her fake an identity to get closer with the Duke. page 16 “I prithee—and I’ll pay thee bounteously—Conceal me what I am, and be my aidFor such disguise as haply shall becomeThe form of my intent. I’ll serve this duke.Thou shall present me as an eunuch to him.It may be worth thy pains, for I can singAnd speak to him in many sorts of musicThat will allow me very worth his service.What else may hap to time I will commit.Only shape thou thy silence to my wit.” said by Olivia
Captain agrees to help Viola fake her identity. page 16 “Be you his eunuch, and your mute I’ll be:When my tongue blabs, then let mine eyes not see.” said by Captain
This is the first time Viola is introduced as Cesario. ACT 1 SCENE 4
Orsino tells Cesario(Viola) to go find Olivia page 30 (to VIOLA and attendants)Stand you a while aloof. (to VIOLA) Cesario,Thou know’st no less but all. I have unclaspedTo thee the book even of my secret soul.Therefore, good youth, address thy gait unto her;Be not denied access, stand at her doors,And tell them there thy fixed foot shall growTill thou have audience.
Orsino tells Cesario how to get Olivia’s attention. Cesario denies at first. page 31 O, then unfold the passion of my love,Surprise her with discourse of my dear faith:It shall become thee well to act my woes;She will attend it better in thy youthThan in a nuncio’s of more grave aspect.
Orsino describes Cesario’s character appearance page 33 Dear lad, believe it.For they shall yet belie thy happy yearsThat say thou art a man. Diana’s lipIs not more smooth and rubious. Thy small pipeIs as the maiden’s organ, shrill and sound,And all is semblative a woman’s part.I know thy constellation is right aptFor this affair. (to CURIO and attendants) Some four or five attend him.All, if you will, for I myself am bestWhen least in company. (to VIOLA) Prosper well in this,And thou shalt live as freely as thy lord,To call his fortunes thine.
Maria, the servant of Olivia, tells the Fool to go away because he is unwanted. This shows how women have authority. page 35 Peace, you rogue, no more o’ that. Here comes my lady.Make your excuse wisely, you were best.
Olivia tells Malvolio to stop insulting the Fool. This shows how Olivia is rejecting Malvolio because he only said that to try and get Olivia to agree with him. page 40 Oh, you are sick of self-love, Malvolio, and taste with a distempered appetite. 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 is basically saying that she doesn’t have any interest in what Orsino has to say/offer. page 42 “If it be a suit from the count, I am sick, or not at home. What you will, to dismiss it.” said Olivia
Malvolio tells Olivia that the man(Cesario) outside has refused to leave until he speaks with Olivia. page 45 “Madam, yond young fellow swears he will speak with you. I told him you were sick. He takes on him to understand so much, and therefore comes to speak with you. I told him you were asleep. He seems to have a foreknowledge of that too, and therefore comes to speak with you. What is to be said to him, lady? He’s fortified against any denial.” said Malvolio
Olivia rejects Cesario for the second time. page 45 “Tell him he shall not speak with me.”said Olivia
Olivia says this to Cesario. This is an example of how women empower the men because she was giving him major attitude. page 53 “Have you any commission from your lord to negotiate with my face? You are now out of your text.”said Olivia
Olivia describes the positive features of Corsino, but still rejects his love. page 55 Your lord does know my mind. I cannot love him.Yet I suppose him virtuous, know him noble,Of great estate, of fresh and stainless youth. In voices well divulged, free, learned, and valiant;And in dimension and the shape of natureA gracious person. But yet I cannot love him;He might have took his answer long ago.
Olivia continues to reject Orsino and pays Cesario to leave her alone. page 57 “Go back to your lord. I can’t love him. Tell him not to send any more messengers—unless you feel like coming back to tell me how he took the bad news.” said Olivia
Corsino gives Olivia her money back, refusing to be paid. He lectures Olivia about how she is rejecting the counts love. page 57 I am no fee’d post, lady. Keep your purse.My master, not myself, lacks recompense.Love make his heart of flint that you shall love,And let your fervor, like my master’s, bePlaced in contempt. Farewell, fair cruelty.
After Malvolio gives Cesario the ring from Olivia, Cesario realizes that Olivia has a crush on him. page 68 “I left no ring with her. What means this lady?Fortune forbid my outside have not charmed her!She made good view of me, indeed so muchThat sure methought her eyes had lost her tongue,For she did speak in starts distractedly.She loves me, sure! The cunning of her passionInvites me in this churlish messenger.” said Cesario- to himself
Orsino tells Cesario his thoughts on love. He still doesn’t know that Cesario is Viola. page 88 “Come hither, boy. If ever thou shalt love,In the sweet pangs of it remember me;For such as I am, all true lovers are,Unstaid and skittish in all motions elseSave in the constant image of the creatureThat is beloved. How dost thou like this tune?”said Orsino
Orsino is telling Cesario to not love Olivia. This is not a direction form of rejection however Orsino is trying to convince Cesario not to love Olivia, but really Cesario aka Viola, loves Orsino. “Then let thy love be younger than thyself,Or thy affection cannot hold the bent.For women are as roses, whose fair flowerBeing once displayed, doth fall that very hour.”said Orsino
Orsino tells Cesario to go back to Olivia and remind her of his love for her. Orsino still isn’t accepting Olivia’s rejection. “Once more, Cesario,Get thee to yond same sovereign cruelty.Tell her my love, more noble than the world,Prizes not quantity of dirty lands;The parts that fortune hath bestowed upon her,Tell her, I hold as giddily as fortune;But ’tis that miracle and queen of gemsThat nature pranks her in attracts my soul.”said Orsino
Orsino describes how he cannot go without Olivia and that no woman should ever be loved by him as much as he loves Olivia. There is no woman’s sidesCan bide the beating of so strong a passionAs love doth give my heart. No woman’s heartSo big, to hold so much. They lack retention.Alas, their love may be called appetite,No motion of the liver, but the palate,That suffer surfeit, cloyment, and revolt;But mine is all as hungry as the sea,And can digest as much. Make no compareBetween that love a woman can bear meAnd that I owe Olivia.
Orsino has Cesario give Olivia a jewel to express his love. He hopes that the jewel with persuade Olivia to love him. Ay, that’s the theme.To her in haste. Give her this jewel. SayMy love can give no place, bide no denay.
Fool tells Cesario that he doesn’t care about anything. “Not so, sir, I do care for something. But in my conscience, sir, I do not care for you. If that be to care for nothing, sir, I would it would make you invisible.”said Fool
Fool admits that he knows lady Olivia dislikes him and rejects his humor. “No, sir. Lady Olivia doesn’t want to have anything to do with foolishness. So she won’t have a fool until she gets married. Fools are to husbands as anchovies are to sardines—husbands are the bigger ones. I’m not her fool. I just make words into whores for her.”said Fool
Olivia tells everyone to leave her to be alone because she wants to be with Cesario. “Let the garden door be shut, and leave me to my hearing.”said Olivia
Olivia tells Cesario how little she thinks of Orsino. Repeating that she will always reject his love. “For him, I think not on him. For his thoughts,Would they were blanks, rather than fill’d with me.”said Olivia
Olivia admits that she will never love Orsino. “O, by your leave, I pray you,I bade you never speak again of him.But, would you undertake another suit,I had rather hear you to solicit thatThan music from the spheres.”said Olivia
Olivia talks to herself, saying how much she loves Cesario outloud. “Oh, what a deal of scorn looks beautifulIn the contempt and anger of his lip!A murderous guilt shows not itself more soonThan love that would seem hid. Love’s night is noon.” said Olivia to herself
Olivia confesses her love to Cesario. “Cesario, by the roses of the spring,By maidhood, honor, truth, and everything,I love thee so, that, maugre all thy pride,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,But rather reason thus with reason fetter.Love sought is good, but given unsought better.” said Olivia
Since Cesario is actually Viola, she is repulsed by the idea of loving another woman but Olivia thinks Viola is Cesario. “By innocence I swear, and by my youthI have one heart, one bosom, and one truth,And that no woman has, nor never noneShall mistress be of it, save I alone.And so adieu, good madam. NevermoreWill I my master’s tears to you deplore.”said Cesario(Viola)
Olivia is known for rejecting Orsino, but can’t handle being rejected herself. Yet come again, for thou perhaps mayst moveThat heart, which now abhors, to like his love.
Olivia plans to see Cesario again. “I have sent after him. He says he’ll come.How shall I feast him? What bestow of him?For youth is bought more oft than begged or borrow’d.”said Olivia to herself
Malvolio is professing his love to Olivia but she is confused. OLIVIAWhat sayest thou?MALVOLIO”And some have greatness thrust upon them.”OLIVIAHeaven restore thee!etc.
Malvolio expresses his emotions after being rejected by Olivia in this quote. Go, hang yourselves all! You are idle, shallow things. I am not of your element. You shall know more hereafter.
Sebastian rejects the fools humor. I prithee, foolish Greek, depart from me. There’s money for thee. (giving money) If you tarry longer, I shall give worse payment.
Olivia says this quote when she walks in on Sir Toby pulling his sword on Cesario. Will it be ever thus? Ungracious wretch,Fit for the mountains and the barbarous caves,Where manners ne’er were preach’d! Out of my sight!—Be not offended, dear Cesario.—Rudesby, be gone!
Olivia says this to Cesario. This is an example of how women can sometimes have a higher control over men. Come with me, please. I wish you’d do what I ask!
Maria convinces Fool to dress up as Sir Topas to trick Sir Toby. Nay, I prithee, put on this gown and this beard. Make him believe thou art Sir Topas the curate. Do it quickly. I’ll call Sir Toby the whilst.
Olivia and Sebastian are getting married. He shall conceal itWhiles you are willing it shall come to note,What time we will our celebration keepAccording to my birth. What do you say?
Olivia says this to Cesario. “What can I give you that you want, my lord, except the one thing you can’t have? Cesario, you missed your appointment with me.”
Orsino says this to Olivia. Why should I not, had I the heart to do it,Like to the Egyptian thief at point of death,Kill what I love?—A savage jealousyThat sometimes savors nobly. But hear me this:Since you to nonregardance cast my faith,And that I partly know the instrumentThat screws me from my true place in your favor,Live you the marble-breasted tyrant still.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 eyeWhere 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 loveTo spite a raven’s heart within a dove.
Cesario(Viola) tells Orsino how he(she) would die 1000 deaths just so Orsino could be happily loved And I, most jocund, apt, and willingly,To do you rest, a thousand deaths would die.
Cesario follows Orsino, leaving Olivia behind. After him I loveMore than I love these eyes, more than my life,More, by all mores, than e’er I shall love wife.If I do feign, you witnesses above,Punish my life for tainting of my love!
Quoted from Cory Grewell The feeling of rejection that comes from unrequited love—love that is not returned by the beloved—is experienced by all three members of the love triangle that forms the basis of the romantic plot in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.
Quoted from Cory Grewell Orsino, the duke of Illyria, is in love with Olivia, who refuses his love because she is mourning the recent death of her brother and claims that she therefore cannot love.
Quoted from Cory Grewell Orsino repeatedly complains of the injustice of his rejection. He reasons that because he loves so much and because Olivia is so worthy of love, given her beauty and noble nature, it is only natural that she should return his love.
Quoted from Cory Grewell Viola rejects Olivia as a lover, in part because she realizes that Olivia has fallen in love with an illusion (her disguise) and would not love her if she knew that Cesario was a woman, but also because Viola has fallen in love with Orsino herself.
Quoted from Cory Grewell Viola herself experiences rejection because her disguise will not allow her to even make her love for Orsino known.
Quoted from Cory Grewell The identification of rejection with death is so strong that near the play’s conclusion, when Orsino realizes that one of the main reasons that Olivia will not return his love is her affection for Cesario (Viola), he says that he will kill Cesario in order to remove this impediment. Because Viola feels the rejection of her unrequited love so strongly, she is willing to die as Cesario rather than continue to live in rejection herself.
Quoted from Cory Grewell What the rejection of all of these characters have in common is that they have somehow either misplaced their affections or been mistaken in how they present them.
Quoted from Cory Grewell Thus, in Twelfth Night, Shakespeare presents an argument that the rejection that accompanies unrequited love is a product of misplaced affections, and if one loves a proper person and woos in a proper way, the rejection of unrequited love can be avoided.
Quoted from Cory Grewell Because of this defective romantic imagination, Orsino is unwilling to accept the reality of Olivia’s rejection.
Quoted from Cory Grewell At first glance this conversation merely appears part of an overall strategy to make Malvolio think he is mad, but upon further consideration Feste seems to have an instructional purpose and method that again make reference to mortality.
The priest confuses Cesario for Sebastian and he tells Orsino that Cesario is married to Olivia but really he isn’t. A contract of eternal bond of love,Confirmed by mutual joinder of your hands,Attested by the holy close of lips,Strengthened by interchangement of your rings,And all the ceremony of this compactSealed in my function, by my testimony,Since when, my watch hath told me, toward my graveI have traveled but two hours.
Orsino confronts Cesario about marrying Olivia. O thou dissembling cub! What wilt thou beWhen time hath sowed a grizzle on thy case?Or will not else thy craft so quickly growThat thine own trip shall be thine overthrow?Farewell, and take her; but direct thy feetWhere thou and I henceforth may never meet.
Cesario tries to plead his case to Orsino My lord, I do protest—
Olivia also mistakes Sebastian as Cesario O, do not swear!Hold little faith, though thou hast too much fear.
Orsino says this, discovering that Sebastian and Cesario are two different people. One face, one voice, one habit, and two persons!A natural perspective, that is and is not!
Antonio is confused about which is Sebastian and which is Cesario How have you made division of yourself?An apple, cleft in two, is not more twinThan these two creatures. Which is Sebastian?
Viola admits that she pretended to be Cesario. Of Messaline. Sebastian was my father;Such a Sebastian was my brother too,So went he suited to his watery tomb.If spirits can assume both form and suitYou come to fright us.
Viola tells Cesario how and why she dressed as a man. The captain that did bring me first on shoreHath my maid’s garments. He, upon some action,Is now in durance at Malvolio’s suit,A gentleman and follower of my lady’s.
Conversation between the Clown and Olivia 1/3 page 214 Truly, madam, he holds Beelzebub at the staves’ end as well as a man in his case may do. 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.
Conversation between the Clown and Olivia 2/3 page 214 No, madam, I do but read madness. An your ladyship will have it as it ought to be, you must allow vox.
Conversation between the Clown and Olivia 3/3 page 214 See him delivered, Fabian; bring him hither.
Conversation between Duke and Olivia 1/2 page 222 Madam, I am most apt to embrace your offer.(to VIOLA)Your master quits you, and for your service done him,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 beYour master’s mistress.
Conversation between Malvolio and Olivia page 214 Alas, Malvolio, this is not my writing,Though, I confess, much like the character.But out of question, ’tis Maria’s hand.And now I do bethink me, it was sheFirst told me thou wast mad, then camest in smiling,And in such forms which here were presupposedUpon thee in the letter. Prithee, be content.This practice hath most shrewdly passed upon thee;But when we know the grounds and authors of it,Thou shalt be both the plaintiff and the judgeOf thine own cause.
7 Good madam, hear me speak,And let no quarrel nor no brawl to comeTaint the condition of this present hour,Which I have wonder’d at. In hope it shall not,Most freely I confess, myself and TobySet this device against Malvolio here,Upon some stubborn and uncourteous partsWe had conceived against him. Maria writThe letter at Sir Toby’s great importance,In recompense whereof he hath married her.How with a sportful malice it was followed,May rather pluck on laughter than revenge,If that the injuries be justly weighedThat have on both sides passed.
Said by the Clown on page 230 Why, “some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrown upon them.” I was one, sir, in this interlude, one Sir Topas, sir, but that’s all one. (imitates MALVOLIO) “By the Lord, fool, I am not mad.”—But do you remember? “Madam, why laugh you at such a barren rascal; an you smile not, he’s gagged?” and thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenges.
Said by Malvolio to the Clown on page 230 I’ll be revenged on the whole pack of you.
Said by the Clown to Cesario on page 232 He hath not told us of the captain yet.When that is known and golden time convents,A solemn combination shall be madeOf our dear souls.—Meantime, sweet sister,We will not part from hence. 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.
Fool Ends in song pages 237-239 When that I was and a little tiny boy,With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,A foolish thing was but a toy,For the rain it raineth every day.But when I came to man’s estate,With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,’Gainst knaves and thieves men shut their gate,For the rain it raineth every day.But when I came, alas! to wive,With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,By swaggering could I never thrive,For the rain it raineth every day.But when I came unto my beds,With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,With toss-pots still had drunken heads,For the rain it raineth every day.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.