Summary of the Play
This is a play about love, placed in a festive atmosphere in which three couples are brought together happily. It opens with Orsino, the Duke of Illyria, expressing his deep love for the Countess Olivia. Meanwhile, the shipwrecked Viola disguises herself as a man and endeavors to enter the Duke’s service. Although she has rejected his suit, the Duke then employs Viola, who takes the name of Cesario, to woo Olivia for him. Ironically, Cesario falls in love with the Duke, and Olivia falls in love with Cesario, who is really Viola disguised.
In the midst of this love triangle are the servants of Olivia’s house and her Uncle Toby. The clown provides entertainment for the characters in both houses and speaks irreverently to them. He is the jester of the play. Maria, Olivia’s woman, desires to seek revenge on Malvolio, Olivia’s steward. To the delight of Sir Toby, Olivia’s uncle, and his friend Sir Andrew, Maria comes up with a plot to drop love letters supposedly written by Olivia in Malvolio’s path. When she does, they observe him, along with Fabian, another servant, as Malvolio falls for the bait. Believing that Olivia loves him, he makes a fool of himself.
The love plot moves along as Cesario goes to woo Olivia for the Duke. The second time that Cesario appears at Olivia’s home Olivia openly declares her love for Cesario. All along, Sir Andrew has been nursing a hope to win Olivia’s love. When he plans to give up on her, Sir Toby suggests that Sir Andrew fight with Cesario to impress Olivia. Cesario, however, refuses to fight.
In the meantime, Viola’s brother, who is also shipwrecked, makes his way to safe lodging in Illyria with Antonio the sea captain. After the fight between Cesario and Sir Andrew begins, Antonio intervenes to save Cesario, whom he takes for Sebastian. But the Duke’s officers promptly arrest Antonio for a past offense. Olivia later comes upon Sir Andrew and Sebastian wrangling at her house. Olivia, thinking Sebastian is Cesario, leads Sebastian to marriage in a nearby chapel.
The complications of identity are unraveled in the fifth act. Cesario finally reveals that he is Viola. Sebastian recognizes her as his sister. The Duke takes Viola up on her love offerings and proposes to her. Olivia assures Malvolio that she did not write the letter that so disturbed him. Sir Toby marries Maria in appreciation for her humiliating scheme.
Estimated Reading Time
You can read through Twelfth Night in about three and a half hours. But, when reading Shakespeare, you should plan to re-read at least one more time. When you read more carefully, paying attention to difficult words and Shakespeare’s exquisite use of language, your reading time will necessarily increase. Your more careful reading may take about six hours.
Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Viola and Sebastian, brother and sister twins who closely resemble each other, are separated when the ship on which they are passengers is wrecked during a great storm at sea. Each thinks that the other is dead and sets out alone with no hope of being reunited.
The lovely and charming Viola is cast upon the shores of Illyria, where she is befriended by a kind sea captain. They decide to dress Viola in men’s clothing and have her take service as a page in the household of young Duke Orsino. Dressed in man’s garb, Viola calls herself Cesario and becomes the duke’s personal attendant. Impressed by the youth’s good looks and pert but courtly speech, Orsino sends “him” as his envoy of love to woo the Countess Olivia, who is mourning the death of her young brother.
The wealthy Olivia lives in a splendid palace with her maid, Maria; her drunken old uncle, Sir Toby Belch; and her steward, Malvolio. Maria and Sir Toby are a happy-go-lucky pair who drink and carouse with Sir Andrew Aguecheek, an ancient nobleman who is much enamored of Olivia. In return for grog supplied by Sir Andrew, Sir Toby is supposed to press Sir Andrew’s suit with Olivia. Actually, however, Sir Toby never stays sober long enough to keep his part of the bargain. All these affairs are observed disapprovingly by Malvolio, Olivia’s ambitious, narrow-minded steward, who cannot tolerate jollity in those about him.
When Cesario arrives at the palace, Olivia...
(The entire section is 1080 words.)
Summary and Analysis
Act I, Scene 1 Summary and Analysis
Orsino: the Duke of Illyria, who is madly in love with Olivia
Curio: one of the Duke’s attendants
Valentine: another gentleman attending the Duke
The play opens at the Duke’s palace in Illyria. The Duke is lovesick, and so the first 15 lines express his powerful love for the Countess Olivia. He pours forth sweet words of passion for his love object.
He desires to have music feed his appetite for love. He feels at first that he can’t get enough of the energizing “food of love,” but abruptly urges the musicians to stop playing: “Enough, no more!”
Then, addressing the “spirit of love,” he characterizes it as so broad a force that nothing can outdo or overcome it. Love is very, very powerful.
After this outpouring, one of the Duke’s attendants, Curio, asks him if he plans to go hunting. But Orsino is in no mood for recreation; he is deeply in love. So his response is more than a mere “no.” He says that his desire for Olivia has stronger control over him than anything else.
Valentine, another attendant, enters with words that the Duke does want to listen to because they concern Olivia. Valentine informs the Duke of Olivia’s mourning. She is grieving the loss of her dead brother and plans to stay in mourning for a long time. So, for her, love is out!
This news frustrates the Duke. He realizes that he...
(The entire section is 854 words.)
Act I, Scene 2 Summary and Analysis
Viola: the female of a twin brother–sister pair, who enters Illyria disguised as Cesario and finds love
A Sea Captain: a friend to Viola who comes ashore with her
The setting of this scene is appropriately away from the majestic atmosphere of the Duke’s palace. We meet Viola and a captain on a seacoast. Viola’s practical nature serves to complement the Duke’s romantic character.
Shipwrecked, Viola asks the Captain and sailors where she is. The Captain tells her that they are in a region called “Illyria.” Her brother, who had also been on the ship with her, is separated from them, which causes Viola to wonder if he has drowned. The Captain suggests that he may still be alive because he last saw him struggling to stay afloat.
The Captain was born and raised in Illyria, and he knows about the Duke’s courtship with Olivia. The Captain relates Olivia’s disinclination to accept Orsino’s pledge, as he has heard from gossip.
Upon hearing this, Viola is moved to serve Olivia. But the Captain tells her that that is impossible. Olivia has closed herself off to any new relationships while she deeply mourns the loss of her brother.
Viola quickly gets another idea. She decides to serve the Duke instead, as his eunuch. Since she is a woman, that plan will require a disguise: “Conceal me what I am.” This plan is very practical, for it...
(The entire section is 672 words.)
Act I, Scene 3 Summary and Analysis
Sir Toby Belch: Olivia’s uncle, who drinks a lot
Maria: Olivia’s lady-in-waiting
Sir Andrew Aguecheek: Sir Toby’s friend, who thinks he is a potential suitor for Olivia
This scene is set in Olivia’s house, but we do not as yet meet Olivia. She is in extended mourning. Sir Toby, her uncle, opens with a question about Olivia. He is talking to Maria, Olivia’s lady-in-waiting, who responds with a complaint about Toby’s late carousing.
Maria refers to Sir Toby’s friend, Sir Andrew, as a fool. She heard that Sir Toby had brought him to the house to woo Olivia. Sir Toby, on the other hand, praises the many virtues his friend possesses. He is handsome, has a good income, and speaks several languages. Furthermore, they are drinking buddies.
When Sir Andrew enters, Sir Toby immediately urges him on Maria, “board her, woo her, assail her,” though Sir Andrew misunderstands him at first. As Sir Toby’s meaning dawns on him, he asserts that he wouldn’t do such a thing in Olivia’s house.
Before departing, Maria invites Sir Andrew for a drink. Sir Toby realizes that her invitation was made in a joking manner, and he engages Sir Andrew in a playful conversation. Sir Andrew talks of leaving, having lost hope of winning Olivia’s love. He believes the Count Orsino has a much better chance for her than he does. Nonetheless, Sir Toby reassures...
(The entire section is 703 words.)
Act I, Scene 4 Summary and Analysis
We find Viola (now named “Cesario”) on her fourth day in the Duke’s palace, her disguise having gained her the access she wished. Valentine is amazed, in fact, at how much favor she has already gained with the Duke.
The Duke assigns Cesario the task of pursuing Olivia for him. He urges him to be aggressive: “Be clamorous and leap all civil bounds.” The Duke is confident that Cesario can effectively persuade Olivia to respond to his true passion. Cesario is doubtful.
Part of the Duke’s confidence owes to his intuition of Cesario’s real feminine qualities. He implies, in other words, that she can play the womanly matchmaker role well. He promises him a reward if he is successful in his undertaking.
Viola’s last lines allude to another plot strand in the play, her love for the Duke, which she cannot reveal because of her disguise.
It is appropriate to consider a definition of the type of play (or “genre”) that Twelfth Night is. Twelfth
Night belongs to a species of drama known as “comedy.” We expect the course of action in a comedy to be different from that in a tragedy. As M.H. Abrams puts it in A Glossary of Literary Terms:
Romantic comedy, as developed by Shakespeare and some of his Elizabethan contemporaries, is concerned with a love affair that involves a beautiful and idealized heroine (sometimes disguised as...
(The entire section is 440 words.)
Act I, Scene 5 Summary and Analysis
Olivia: the countess with whom Orsino is in love and who rejects him
Clown: servant to Olivia who sings and provides entertainment
Malvolio: steward to Olivia
This scene opens with Maria and the Clown engaged in conversation. Maria, wondering where the Clown has been, tells him that he’ll be punished for his absence unless he has good reason for it. This threat fails to scare the Clown, as he shows in his offhand replies.
The Clown is equally offhand with Olivia when she enters. He responds to her with insult, ironically calling her a “fool.” Although she tries to get rid of him, the Clown prevails on her to prove that she is the fool. To that end, he questions her about her mourning her brother’s death.
Unoffended, Olivia turns to her steward Malvolio for his opinion of the Clown. An exchange of insults follows her question. The Clown puts down Malvolio and Malvolio puts down the Clown. Malvolio considers the Clown a stupid, useless character. Olivia sides with the Clown, even calling Malvolio an “egotist,” because the Clown is only playing his role as “fool” properly.
Maria announces Cesario’s arrival. Olivia is not in the mood to listen to a suit from the Duke. Malvolio returns to Olivia to tell her that Cesario stubbornly refuses to leave until Olivia will speak with him. Olivia wonders what kind of man he is. She allows him...
(The entire section is 852 words.)
Act II, Scene 1 Summary and Analysis
Antonio: a sea captain, friend to Sebastian, who wishes to serve him
Sebastian: Viola’s twin brother, who survives the shipwreck and initially believes Viola has drowned
This short scene serves the purpose of letting us know that Sebastian, Viola’s twin brother, has reached the shores of Illyria. We need this information to prepare our understanding of later scenes.
Sebastian tells us a little about himself, thus informing us that he has a twin sister. He thinks that she drowned while he managed to gain safety.
He wishes to separate from Antonio and wander about the area. But shortly afterward, he contradicts himself in this intention by stating that he, specifically, wants to go to “the Count Orsino’s court.” Although Antonio offers to serve Sebastian, he cannot go immediately with him to Orsino’s court because he has “many enemies” there. Yet, we will learn that Antonio’s affection for Sebastian is strong enough to prompt him to follow after him eventually.
Notice the very straightforward and formal manner in which these men talk to one another. Since this scene serves an informative purpose, the formal dialogue is most appropriate. There is very little poetry in this scene. They are not expressing their love for a woman as Orsino was doing in the first scene. The dialogue serves up numerous indications that its...
(The entire section is 512 words.)
Act II, Scene 2 Summary and Analysis
Malvolio catches up with Cesario to give him the ring from Olivia. Naturally, he is surprised inasmuch as he knows he did not leave a ring. Malvolio also repeats Olivia’s desire not to have any further dealings with Orsino. Before leaving, Malvolio puts the ring on the ground.
Left alone on stage, Cesario utters a soliloquy in which he expresses his confusion over the ring. He now realizes that Olivia has fallen in love with him. “She loves me sure,” he asserts. He acknowledges that the disguise must be responsible for stirring up her love. He finishes up the soliloquy wondering how this mistaken love on his part and frustrated love on his master’s part will be resolved. As matters currently stand, there is a mess for all the lovers involved. Time will bring in the solutions.
It is useful to understand the function of a soliloquy in drama. Sometimes a playwright cannot include important information about character or plot in the dialogue, so a soliloquy may become necessary.
Soliloquy is the act of talking to oneself, silently or aloud. In drama it denotes the convention by which a character, alone on the stage, utters his thoughts aloud; the playwright uses this device as a convenient way to convey directly to the audience information about a character’s motives, intentions, and state of mind, as well as for purposes of general exposition. (Abrams, 180)...
(The entire section is 541 words.)
Act II, Scene 3 Summary and Analysis
In case we’d forgotten about the merriment of the play, this scene puts us back in Olivia’s house and opens with the leader of the party, Sir Toby. If we follow the love plot of the previous scene, we are then led astray by what these two men say. They begin by talking about going to bed early. Sir Toby says that going to bed after midnight is equal to going to bed early. Toby calls for some wine to have with their food.
When Feste the Clown enters, Andrew compliments his singing voice and his skill displayed in entertainment the previous night: “Why, this is best fooling, when all is done.” Then, continuing in this vein, Sir Toby calls for another frequently used element in Shakespeare’s plays—a song. Feste suggests either a love song or a song with a moral. Naturally, a love song is apropos. The Clown sings a song that recalls the Duke’s elevated emotion of the first scene; he also defines “love.” Very pleased with the Clown’s song, they engage him in some more singing.
Nevertheless, Maria enters and chides them for their nonsense. Sir Toby banters with her, as is appropriate to his role as “lord of misrule,” (to use the holiday expression). Malvolio’s questions refer to their purpose as the merrymakers in the play. His question, “Do ye make an alehouse of my lady’s house?”, best points up the intersection of the holiday atmosphere and the love theme, which constitutes the play’s...
(The entire section is 759 words.)
Act II, Scene 4 Summary and Analysis
In this scene, we are back at the Duke’s palace. Once again, the Duke wants to hear some music, the food for his love. He calls for the Clown, who happens not to be there at the moment. While waiting for the Clown to be located, he speaks with Cesario.
The Duke affirms his true love. He continues to be the passionate lover who yearns for his beloved. His emotions, as a lover, are topsy-turvy.
The Duke surmises that Cesario had once also been in love, as he currently is. He answers “yes” that she was of the same age and temperament as the Duke. He responds with his belief that the woman should be the younger of the pair, so as to ensure that the love remain robust.
The Clown returns and Orsino is eager for a love song, a song that deals with the innocence of love, such as he is experiencing. The emphasis in the Clown’s song is prophetic. It focuses on the Duke’s frustration with and failure to obtain Olivia, his heart’s desire. The lover in the song is “slain by a fair cruel maid.” In short, it’s a song of unrequited love.
Interestingly, in spite of the Duke’s praise for this song, the Clown insults Orsino in a manner similar to the way he insulted Olivia in Act I. The Clown suggests that he lacks consistency and direction, though the logical form of his expression is not so apparent as in his insult to Olivia.
The Duke sends Cesario to Olivia to woo her for him....
(The entire section is 698 words.)
Act II, Scene 5 Summary and Analysis
Fabian: the servant to Olivia who is the third spectator to Malvolio’s humiliation
This scene is devoted exclusively to the devious comic plot. Sir Toby gathers Fabian, another servant, and Andrew to enjoy the exercise in shame that Maria is about to execute. Fabian seems to have a bone to pick with him, so he is interested in what will happen to Malvolio.
Maria has the whole trick worked out. They will hide in a box tree and observe as Malvolio picks up the falsified letter to read it. Olivia is on Malvolio’s mind when he enters. Sir Toby and Fabian believe that Malvolio’s arrogance makes him suitable game for the trap that’s been set. Malvolio fancies himself a suitor to Olivia.
Speaking aloud, Malvolio continues to let his imagination run wild over the prospect of loving Olivia and the accompanying self-aggrandizement. While doing so, Sir Toby, Fabian, and Andrew devilishly comment on his behavior. That they are sadistic in intention is evident in such remarks as “Pistol him, pistol him” and “O for a stonebow, to hit him in the eye.”
Eventually Malvolio sees the letter, which appears to him to be in Olivia’s handwriting. Though it is a love letter, it doesn’t completely mention Malvolio by name. Malvolio takes the declaration of love to be addressed to him because it identifies the beloved as “M,O,A,I,” four letters that can be found in...
(The entire section is 987 words.)
Act III, Scene 1 Summary and Analysis
Cesario and Feste the Clown are conversing in Olivia’s garden. Cesario, of course, has arrived with the purpose of courting Olivia. Cesario begins by asking the Clown if he earns a living with his tabor. In addition to engaging Cesario in wordplay, the Clown comments on the arbitrariness of words. People can do whatever they like with them regardless of good or bad intentions. Cesario briefly turns the conversation to identifying the fool. Feste, as usual, cannot give her a straight answer. He answers ironically that Olivia has no fool until she marries the man who will accept the role. In a short span, the Clown mentions a beard for Cesario, coins earning interest, and the love story of Troilus and Cressida. The Clown then goes to fetch Olivia. While awaiting Olivia, Cesario praises Feste’s skillfulness at being a fool.
Sir Toby and Andrew arrive before Olivia. Sir Toby informs Cesario that Olivia is eager to see him. Paradoxically, Cesario asserts that he is Olivia’s servant as well as Orsino’s because the Duke has put himself at Olivia’s service. His servant therefore is also hers. Olivia insists that she does not want to hear anymore wooing. Orsino is out.
Olivia, recalling the ring, broaches the subject of love toward Cesario. Cesario, rather than accept her love, says that he feels pity for Olivia. Cesario faithfully suggests the Duke’s love again only to hear Olivia pour out her feelings of love...
(The entire section is 1045 words.)
Act III, Scene 2 Summary and Analysis
Sir Andrew is disappointed that Olivia has not shown an interest in him. He has seen her giving more attention to Cesario than to him. Fabian claims that Olivia was deliberately trying to exasperate Andrew so as to spur him to more aggressive action. Andrew should have seized the moment to prove his masculinity: “You should have banged the youth into dumbness.” Having failed to act has put Andrew way out of Olivia’s thoughts, unless he can act quickly to arouse her admiration with his valor. Andrew agrees.
Sir Toby’s idea for Andrew to achieve Olivia’s love is to challenge Cesario to a fight. A fight will kindle her admiration. Sir Toby tells Andrew to write out a provocative challenge—“Let there be gall enough in thy ink”—to Cesario. Despite this incitement, Sir Toby says he will not actually deliver the letter to the youth.
Sir Toby espies Maria with a term of affection. Maria informs them how hilarious Malvolio’s deception has turned out. He has obeyed every point of the letter. She manifests her sadistic pleasure in the way he is so taken over by the letter.
Sir Toby plays his role as “lord of misrule” in this scene as well as in others. No sooner has Sir Andrew conveyed his frustration at winning Olivia’s hand than does Toby devise a hostile plan to get her attention. It might be more proper to designate someone to court Olivia, as Cesario has done for...
(The entire section is 480 words.)
Act III, Scene 3 Summary and Analysis
This short scene lets us know that Sebastian and Antonio are making their way into the action; they have not been left out. Antonio explains to a grateful Sebastian that both love and concern for his safety urged him to catch up to the youth. Antonio knows the area; Sebastian does not.
Sebastian desires to do some sightseeing in town, to see the “memorials and the things of fame,” but Antonio has to back out. Antonio is wanted by Orsino’s court for his part in a previous incident at sea. Sebastian reckons that perhaps he has murdered. Not so; Antonio says he is only guilty of piracy.
Antonio gives his money to Sebastian in case he wishes to purchase something, while Antonio lays low. He also recommends an inn where they can meet (the Elephant). They agree to find each other there.
This scene does advance the plot even though there is no mention of either character’s being in love. Sebastian is Viola’s twin brother. As far as the love theme is concerned, we can predict—since a theme should be coherently worked out—that just as Viola has a place in the love plot, so too will Sebastian. He is a missing link. Olivia, Orsino, and Cesario expressing love make an uneven number. One more is needed to make two couples. These two couples, as they will eventually turn out to be, constitute two of the three love knots that are realized by the end of the play. Malvolio’s love comes to...
(The entire section is 412 words.)
Act III, Scene 4 Summary and Analysis
Servant: the one who informs Olivia of Cesario’s return
First Officer: one of the Duke’s officials who comes to arrest Antonio
Second Officer: accompanies the First Officer to carry out the arrest
Olivia, longing for Cesario and out of sorts, wonders where Malvolio is. Here, she commends his nature as agreeable to her. Maria alerts her to his agitated state: “He is sure possessed.” In accordance with the letter, Malvolio is smiling about the place. Nonetheless, Olivia wants to see him because she feels as disturbed as he.
Malvolio speaks to Olivia as though she knew about the letter. His smiling doesn’t fit the mood Olivia is in. After Malvolio refers to his cross-gartering, Olivia asks if there is something wrong. Malvolio only mentions the commands of the letter to explain his behavior. For the rest of the dialogue between them, Malvolio quotes directly from Maria’s letter, while Olivia intersperses her bewildered replies. Having been subjected to this unaccountable behavior, Olivia considers Malvolio to be mad: “Why, this is very midsummer madness.” At this point, a servant enters with news that Cesario has come.
In his soliloquy, Malvolio sounds convinced that Olivia is following the letter. So, her bewilderment was lost on him as he raved on. He thanks Jove for the divine assistance he’s been given.
Sir Toby, along with...
(The entire section is 1555 words.)
Act IV, Scene 1 Summary and Analysis
The Clown and Sebastian are talking in front of Olivia’s house. Sebastian, unlike his sister, has not taken so well to Feste. They seem at odds with each other. Sebastian dismisses the Clown, maintaining that he has no business with him. The Clown, characteristically clever, responds by denying the reality of everything: “Nothing that is so is so.” Indeed, Sebastian is not Cesario. Sebastian orders Feste to take his folly elsewhere. The Clown, clever though he be, is not omniscient, so he thinks that Sebastian is just pretending ignorance. He requests a message for Olivia. Sebastian dismisses him with an insult, but not without giving him a tip. The Clown is thankful.
Sir Andrew, Sir Toby, and Fabian enter. Sir Andrew immediately strikes Sebastian, mistaking him for Cesario. Though puzzled, Sebastian strikes multiple blows in return. Sir Toby joins the fray to help Sir Andrew by seizing Sebastian. After witnessing the fray, the Clown goes off to inform Olivia.
They continue the fight, with Sir Andrew threatening legal action and Sebastian ordering them to let go. Sebastian forcefully disentangles himself from their holds and warns them that on further provocation, he’ll draw his sword. Apparently, Sir Toby cannot resist; he draws on Sebastian.
Olivia enters and surveys the scene to her distaste. The fracas is yet another instance of Sir Toby’s uncivilized tastes. She orders them to stop and get out....
(The entire section is 702 words.)
Act IV, Scene 2 Summary and Analysis
Maria gives the Clown a gown and beard, apparently wishing to prolong the sham with Malvolio. Feste readily accepts the offer to play Chaucer’s Sir Topas. He has a stereotyped notion of a curate and a student, which he doesn’t fit, though he does account himself an honest man and a good citizen. Sir Toby enters, greeting him as a parson, and pushes him on to Malvolio.
The Clown, dressed as Sir Topas, visits Malvolio in a very dark room. Malvolio immediately orders Sir Topas to go to Olivia without specifying the contents of his message. Malvolio perceives himself as a wronged man. He says that to Sir Topas and, in the same breath, he asserts his sanity. Sir Topas responds with assurance of his own mildness. Malvolio insists that the house is dark and that his abusers have laid him in the darkness. Sir Topas points out that there are sources of light coming into the room. Malvolio suggests that it’s perhaps a figurative darkness surrounding him as well as maintaining his sanity once again. Sir Topas does not admit to any darkness, insinuating instead that Malvolio is full of perplexity.
Malvolio asks for a test of his sanity, to which Sir Topas responds with a question about Pythagoras’ doctrine. Malvolio answers aptly, but Sir Topas does not admit his sanity.
According to Maria, Malvolio is so blinded he cannot even see the Clown’s disguise. The Clown goes once more, at Sir Toby’s prompting, to talk...
(The entire section is 826 words.)
Act IV, Scene 3 Summary and Analysis
This scene is set in the garden, a fitting locale for the culmination of a love match. Sebastian tries to come to terms with his good luck in his opening soliloquy. This love match is so quick that we have no inkling as to Sebastian’s feelings about love as an experience and as they relate to Olivia.
He tells us that she gave him a pearl. He marvels at his new-found sweetheart and discounts that he is mad. He wishes for Antonio, who he couldn’t locate at the Elephant, and for his esteemed advice. The improbability of his good fortune leads him to doubt the reality of what has happened. Unlike Cesario, however, he doesn’t reject Olivia’s gift of love. When the thought crosses his mind that Olivia may be mad, he dispels it immediately with the knowledge that Olivia is such a competent and fit manager of the affairs of her household. His good instincts conclude that there’s some kind of deception attaching to Olivia’s love.
Olivia wastes no time in proposing marriage. She has brought a priest to Sebastian to marry them. She invites Sebastian to the nearby chapel to participate in the ceremony. She promises him confidentiality until such time as he becomes ready to divulge the news of their wedlock. Sebastian accepts, pledging his everlasting faithfulness.
In this scene, one of the love matches is fully realized. Olivia and Sebastian marry. This is a hasty move for Sebastian, who...
(The entire section is 370 words.)
Act V, Scene 1 Summary and Analysis
This scene forms a conglomeration of previous elements in the play. We are before Olivia’s house when it opens with Fabian and the Clown. Fabian is asking Feste to show him Malvolio’s letter to Olivia, which he doesn’t want to show him.
After this brief exchange, the Duke, Cesario, Curio, and other lords are on the scene. After inquiring of Feste and Fabian if they are connected to Olivia, the Duke recognizes one of them as the Clown. Upon being asked how he is, the Clown starts in with his wordplay. He answers ironically that, as far as his foes are concerned, he is better, and as far as his friends are concerned, he is worse. That makes no sense to the Duke, so he requests an explanation. The Clown’s explanation holds that friends deceive, while enemies tell the cold truth. Once explained, the Duke likes the idea and tips him. The Clown wants more and gets another coin from the Duke. Before leaving to summon Olivia, the Clown requests yet another coin from the Duke.
Antonio and the officers then enter. Cesario recognizes Antonio as the man who stepped in on his fight with Sir Andrew. The Duke also recognizes Antonio from the time when he did courageous battle with one of his ships. An officer relates that he arrested Antonio while fighting in the street. Cesario hastens to his defense mentioning his help, though his speech quite perplexed him.
Antonio recounts how he saved Sebastian, inadvertently...
(The entire section is 1433 words.)