Twelfth Night Important quotes

“If music be the food of love, play on” – Act 1 Scene 1 The opening line of the play, sets up the theme of the play, and instantly presents Orsino, as a hopeless romantic.
“Yet a barful strife!” – Act 1 Scene 4 Viola, in a declaration of love for Orsino, pained by the fact that she must woo a woman for the ma she loves.
“That say thou art a man.”- Act 1 Scene 4 Orsino, to viola , as cesario. Ironic humour, but also imposes gender roles, and fluidity between gender.
“Make me a willow cabin at your gate and call upon my soul within the house” – Act 1 Scene 5 Cesario’s demanding and cheeky, playful behaviour, is what causes Olivia to fall for him/her.
“Not yet old enough for a man, nor young enough for a boy” – Act 1 Scene 5 Malvolio discussing Cesario, highlights his feminine features, presenting him as a ‘young adult’. Highlights Malvolio’s pompous and judgemental character.
“Even so quickly may one catch the plague?” – Act 1 Scene 5 Olivia, compares her love for cesario to a plague. The comparison to a plague, foreshadows that this one sided romance is doomed, and it is, although both end with suitable lovers.
“Disguise, I see, thou art a wickedness”- Act 2 Scene 2 Personification of disguise, which is presented as the antagonist of the play, due to the confusion that arises due to it. The use of thou, shows that Viola is unhappy with the consequence of her disguise. (Thou is often used when talking to someone of a lower class, can be see as insulting)
“O time, thou must untangle this, not I. It is too hard a knot for me t’untie.” – Act 2 Scene 2 One of the last lines of Violas soliloquy, which reinforces the circular motif of the soliloquy, which was also presented in the form of a ring. Time in personified, and Viola uses ‘thou’ to address it.
“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.” – Act 2 Scene 5 Malvolio, is reading the love letter from Olivia. This line, is used to make a mockery of Malvolio, but also highlights the importance of social class during the Shakespearean era. There’s a use of an innuendo in this line, with ‘thrust’, which has sexual connotations.
“She did commend my yellow stockings of late” – Act 2 Scene 5 This line presents Malvolio as delusional. Malvolio definitely isn’t witty, so the jokes based around him are usually to mock him, which is whats happening here. Malvolio is also delusional at the fact he believes he carry marry above his social class.
“This fellow is wise enough to play the Fool” – Act 3 Scene 1 Despite being called “fool,” Feste is a highly skilled performer, comedian, and musician. He is perhaps the wisest character in the play, and his quick wit, highlights this. Viola, recognises this, perhaps because she is also presented as someone she is not.
“My desire, more sharp than fil├Ęd steel” and “My willing love” – Act 3 Scene 3 Antonio, the least heterosexual character in the play, showing his love for Sebastian. Antonio, a long with Malvolio, seems to be the only character who isn’t paired off with someone at the end, despite having a better relationship with Sebastian, than Olivia.
“If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction” – Act 3 Scene 4 Fabian, acknowledges how highly unrealistic the prank on Malvolio is, a long with many other plot devices, through this line, which shows an awareness of the play itself, through the use of ironic humour.
“This pearl she gave me, I do feel ‘t and see ‘t.” – Act 4 Scene 3 Sebastian, in order for the plot to make sense, must be a man, who cares for someones looks and riches, rather than personality itself, and moves on from lover to lover. His romance with Sebastian, now seems entirely one sided, as he doesn’t seem to care about Antiono, the way Antonio cars about him.
“But that’s all one, our play is done and we’ll strive to please you every day” – Act 5 Scene 1 This line, by Feste, is the final line of the play, which ends with music, similarly to the beginning of the play. This line, as well as emphasising Feste’s wit, also makes the audience question their relationship with the characters.