Twelfth Night Quotes – Meaning

“If music be the food of love, play on” (I.i.1) he wants to have an abundance of love
“That say thou art a man: Diana’s lip / Is not more smooth and rubious; thy small pipe / Is as the maiden’s organ, shrill and sound, / And all is semblative a woman’s part.” (I.iv.31-34) The duke is talking to cesario about how much he looks like a woman, has feminine traits, lips, body, voice, etc…
“Whoe’er I woo, myself would be his wife.” (I.iv.42) She’ll go woo olivia, but viola wants to be his wife, not anybody else
“Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage.” (I.v.19) If he’s hung, he’ll have a great marriage — he’ll be really good in bed and he’ll have a great marriage
“He is very well-favoured and he speaks very shrewishly; one would think his mother’s milk were scarce out of him” (I.v.159-162) He looks super young, like he just got done breastfeeding
“Make me a willow cabin at your gate, / And call upon my soul within the house; / Write loyal cantons of contemned love / And sing them loud even in the dead of night; / Halloo your name to the reverberate hills” (I.v.268) if I were in love with you I would do these things, oliva starts to fall in love with cesario here
“Not to be a-bed after midnight is to be betimes” (II.iii.2) they are going to bed early because they are going to bed in the morning (after midnight)
“There is a fair behavior in thee, captain, / And though that nature with a beauteous wall / Doth oft close in pollution, yet of thee / I will believe thou hast a / mind that suits / With this thy fair and outward character. / I prithee—and I’ll pay / thee bounteously— / Conceal me what I am, and be my aid / For such disguise / as haply shall become / The form of my intent.” (I.ii.44-52) she is talking about dressing up and disguising herself as a man & going to the duke’s court and will work for him, offers captain money for his help
“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em” (II.v.144-146) some people are born great, some earn greatness other ways, the letter is giving malvolio greatness by telling him what to do to make him great
“This fellow is wise enough to play the fool / And to do that well craves a kind of wit” (III.i.60-61) he’s smart and has to be to play the fool
“Love sought is good, but giv’n unsought is better” (III.i.56) she’s trying to thrust her love on cesario, confessing her love for him, so he doesn’t have to go find love because she’s right there
“He does smile his face into more lines than is in the new map with the augmentation of the Indies (III.ii.78-80) malvolio is doing everything we told him to do, and because of his smiling he is developing more lines
“I hate ingratitude more in a man / Than lying, vainness, babbling, drunkenness, / Or any taint of vice whose strong corruption / Inhabits our frail blood” (III.iv.354-357) Antonio is accusing Cesario that he’s being ungrateful and he says he’s not ungrateful
“What relish is in this? How runs the stream? / Or I am mad, or else this is a dream. / Let fancy still my sense in Lethe steep; / If it be thus to dream, still let me sleep!” (IV.i.60-64) he’s not sure if he’s crazy or dreaming but if it is a dream don’t let me wake up because he likes how it’s going
“There is no woman’s sides / Can bide the beating of so strong a passion / As love doth give my heart; no woman’s heart / So big, to hold so much. They lack retention. / Alas, their love may be called appetite, / No motion of the liver, but the palate, / That suffer surfeit, cloyment, and revolt. / But mine is all as hungry as the sea, / And can digest as much. Make no compare / Between that love a / woman can bear me / And that I owe Olivia.” (II.iv.91-101) a woman can’t love as much as a man can, when cesario is telling him that there is a woman who loves him as much as he loves olivia
Better a witty fool, than a foolish wit. He’s a witty fool, it’s better to be that than to appear smart than pretend to be it’s better to actually be smart and “play” dumb than to be dumb and pretend to be smart
Marry, sir, they praise me and make an ass of me;/ now my foes tell me plainly I am an ass: so that by/ my foes, sir I profit in the knowledge of myself,/ and by my friends, I am abused: so that,/ conclusions to be as kisses, if your four negativesmake your two affirmatives why then, the worse for/ my friends and the better for my foes. his friends make him look bad and his enemies just tell him he’s bad. his enemies help him more than his friends do
What would my lord, but that he may not have,/ Wherein Olivia may seem serviceable? what can she do for him to make him go away because she doesn’t want him to bother her anymore
And let me see thee in thy woman’s weeds. he wants to see her in woman’s clothing