Twelfth Night Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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In Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, why did Antonio follow Sebastian even when Sebastian couldn't pay him to be his guide?

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Antonio rescues Sebastian from the stormy sea and feels responsible for him. Not only that, the two men form a strong friendship as Sebastian regains his strength under Antonio's watch. Even though Antonio is an enemy to Duke Orsino and Illyria, he knows that Sebastian does not know the territory as well as he does; and, for Sebastian's safety and Antonio's concern for him, he catches up to help out. Antonio explains to Sebastian why he wants to help him travel safely through Illyria:

"Being skilless in these parts; which to a stranger,
Unguided and unfriended, often prove
Rough and unhospitable: my willing love,
The rather by these arguments of fear,
Set forth in your pursuit" (III.iii.9-13).

Loyalty within friendship is shown to a deep degree here. The audience knows little as to how the friendship became so strong is such a short amount of time, but the expressions of gratitude and love between the two certainly show devotion and commitment to the relationship. It would seem like the right thing to do to offer one's self up to help a stranger, but also to offer money, time, and possibly more for a true friend.

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