The 2nd scene of the 1st act introduces Viola in the company of a Captain & Sailors, on the sea-coast of Illyria. Although Viola, a young woman of noble birth, has been rescued after a shipwreck, she is apprehensive of the death of her twin brother, Sebastian, in the disaster. The Captain, however, consoles Viola that her brother, clinging to a floating mast like 'Arion on the dolphin's back', had an outside chance to save himself. Viola also learns from the Captain that the ruler of Illyria is 'a noble duke', Orsino. She remembers his name which she heard from her dead father. Viola's remark that duke Orsino 'was a bachelor then' suggests her early interest in the 'noble duke'. Viola now looks for some shelter & an employment in the unfamiliar land. Since Countess Olivia continues to be in a mourning state because of her brother's death and 'hath abjur'd the company/And sight of men', Viola conceives the plan assuming the disguise of a page-boy to enter Orsino's service. She asks the Captain to lead her to the court of duke Orsino.
The scene, a part of the play's exposition, gives forth the following issues to remember:
1) Viola, the fascinating young heroine, is introduced;
2) Viola has a twin brother in Sebastian, and whether Sebastian is dead or still alive is not confirmed.
3) Viola betrays a feeling for the 'noble duke' of Illyria. This feeling is soon going to mature into a strong love which shall be an important element of the main plot of the play;
4) Viola's plan to wear a male disguise and seek employment in Orsino's court leads to the central motif in the play;
5) Viola, in male attire, shall be a look-alike of Sebastian, and if Sebastian is alive and if he appears in Illyria, a comedy of errors due to mistaken identity is on the cards;
6) Duke Orsino courts Countess Olivia, though Olivia does not entertain Orsino's suit.