Twelfth Night key quotes – Sebastian

My stars shine darkly over me -Act 2 scene 1-although mentioning fate and believing himself to have a rocky future, Sebastian scrubs up quite nicely, possibly having the best, albeit confusing experience out of all the characters – he makes a new best friend; beats up some ruffians who claim to know him; is begged to be married by a beautiful, wealthy lady; reunites with his (previously assumed dead) sister; and gets to live happily ever after
My bosom is full of kindness, and I am yet so near the manners of my mother, that, upon the least occasion more, mine eyes will tell tales of me -Act 2 scene 1-emotive language suggesting a close bond is feminine and fits in with the theme of role-reversal-deep relationship between Seb and Ant
You should find better dealing -Act 3 scene 3-to Antonio, after he has followed S into Illyria-suggests that Sebastian views himself as unworthy of Antonio-the contrasting semantic fields between the two suggest unrequited love, and not the close relationship between men that was common in contemporary times
Belike you slew great number of his people -Act 3 scene 3-to Antonio, about his fight in Illyria a while ago-Seb’s use of ‘belike’, which connotes probability, and the lack of a question mark suggest Sebastian knows Antonio well enough (after less than 3 months) to assume he is a strong warrior
Do not then walk too open -Act 3 scene 3-to Antonio, about being in Illyria-keeping oneself hidden links in with the theme of disguise-is Sebastian’s advice said to be caring? or does the lack of lexis therefore suggest he is merely saying it to say something as a response to a story he doesn’t care much for; is he indifferent to Antonio?
Go to, go to, thou art a foolish fellow -Act 4 scene 1 (a scene that has Sebastian encounter 3 sets of people, each believing him to be Cesario, provoking in him a crescendo of bewilderment)-to Feste, who believes him to be Cesario (or does he)-epizeuxis of an expression of disapprobation suggests Sebastian deems Feste an embarrassing person to be around-descriptive adjective furthers this and creates dramatic irony because he is unaware of Feste’s role as a licensed fool
There’s money for thee. If you tarry longer I shall give worse payment -Act 4 scene 1-to Feste-motif of Feste as a licensed fool; Sebastian’s ignorance in this and comic confusion-his threat distinguishes him from Viola
Are all the people mad? -Act 4 scene 1-after hitting Andrew a number of times because he suddenly attacked him-dramatic irony-link to Malvolio who has been tricked into being mad; he ponders, later, whether he is being tricked with madness, but dismisses it
(aside) What relish is in this? How runs the stream?Or am I mad, or else this is a dream:Let fancy still my sense in the Lethe sleep -If it be thus to dream, still let me sleep! -Act 4 scene 1-when Toby, Andrew, and Fabian have left and Olivia has just begged him to be with her, thinking him to be Cesario-rhyming couplets throughout emphasise his passion-bawdy humour-his wondering about sanity relates to Malvolio’s false madness (this is funny, that was cruel – both false madness)-Lethe was a river in the underworld whose water caused those to forget the past (both twins using Olivia as a coping mechanism for grief); Shakespeare uses a lot of classical imagery when love is in the air (Diane and Acteon 1,1; Cupid 1,1)-double entendree ‘fancy’ meaning imagination or sexual desire-more passion in the manner he says this than in anything he says about/to Antonio – Sebastian is hetero/bisexual
Madam, I will -Act 4 scene 1-responding to Olivia’s wishes that he “be ruled by me”-his readiness is cheeky and funny and allows actor to create physical humour in the manner he says it-comic comparison to Viola’s resistance to Olivia; for Olivia, the only way to get a man to love her is to stop him mid-fight (subversion of gender roles – women don’t interfere with fights, men fight them entirely)
This is the air, that is the glorious sun, this pearl she gave me -Act 4 scene 3-soliloquy before Olivia enters with a priest where Seb explains how strange it is that Olivia fell so quickly for him-semantic field of nature (air, sun, pearl – link to “how runs the stream” in 4,1) reflects how he feels for her and possibly that heterosexual love is natural compared to the lack of any romance alluded to at all when Seb talking to Ant – S mocking love at first sight-Olivia has gifted Sebastian a valuable pearl, placing value on their relationship – all moving very quickly for Seb poor guy (or not really)
His counsel now might do me golden service -Act 4 scene 3-about Antonio, who he “could not find at the elephant”-reveals something about how he perceived their relationship compared to how audience/Antonio views it – unrequited love is sort of tragic; aspect of tragi-comedy-comedy through comic misunderstanding of their relationship
Yet doth this accident and flood of fortune so far exceed all instance .., that I am ready to distrust mine own eyes … that I am mad -Act 4 scene 3-‘but this sudden flood of good luck is so strange that I’m ready to distrust my own eyes (when they tell me I’m not insane)’-nautical motif crops up again-tragic aspect of the tragi-comedy appears; he is so used to bad luck that a ‘flood of fortune’ is so strange to him that he believes he’s going mad
[Olivia acts] with such a smooth, discreet, and stable bearing -Act 4 scene 3-Olivia’s authoritativeness rears its head-theme of role reversal in gender-Shakespeare writing for Queen Elizabeth’s appreciation/praise, or creating humour through a female character with power?
there’s something in’t that is deceivable -Act 4 scene 3-summarises the play-link to “nothing that is so is so”, and some others that have slipped my mind at present
I’ll follow this good man, and go with you,And having sworn truth, ever will be true -Act 4 scene 3-rhyming couplet and iambic pentameter suggest true love is present (I.P reflects heart beat and Shakes uses it a lot to resemble love)-mocking love at first sight – and how deep this love is!-point to be made about Sebastian’s sexuality – he knew Antonio for three months and didn’t fall for him, but has known Olivia for less than a day and is more than willing to marry her-follow on point to be made about Shakespeare’s portrayal of sexuality – heterosexuality is often fast-paced and shallow (Orsino/Olivia, Sebastian/Olivia, Viola/Orsino) whereas homosexual relationships in the play tend to be from a deeper angle (Orsino/Cesario, Antonio/Sebastian, Olivia/Viola)
Antonio, O my dear Antonio!How have the hours racked and tortured me -Act 5-best friends! – link to when girls see each other in the hallway after a long weekend-synonymous verbs suggesting a deep relationship that he does not show when he finally meets his um dead sister, sebastian what’s good
I had a sister, whom the blind waves and surges have devoured -Act 5-descriptive adjective suggests the waves were lacking judgement by being indifferent to Viola’s beauty and devouring her; is Viola’s beauty masculine or feminine? either way, Orsino/Olivia is gay (my bets are on Orsino, Olivia just wants to get hitched)
lady you have been mistook; but nature to her bias drew in that -Act 5-about Olivia being engaged to both twins (bisexual icon tbh)-suggesting nature inclined Olivia to choose the right twin and attracted her to Sebastian through Viola’s male disguise-although this could be Bill acquitting Olivia of the (well-founded) suspicion of homoerotic desire, Sebastian said it, not her