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Twelfth Night, or What You Will - in brief

Cast of players

Viola – a lady of Messaline, shipwrecked on the shores of a country called Illyria. She spends nearly the entire play in drag as a youth named Cesario (the script always calls her Viola, regardless)

Count Orsino, the duke of Illyria
Valentine & Curio, gentlemen serving Orsino

Olivia, a countess (with whom Orsino believes himself to be in love)
Maria, a gentlewoman who waits on Olivia
Sir Toby Belch, Olivia's cousin (and, as his name indicates, a comical character)
Sir Andrew Aguecheek, Sir Toby's companion (Also a comical character; his surname is pronounced
  Egg-you-cheek, btw, and means – according to my copy of Filthy Shakespeare - "pox-infected buttocks").
Malvolio, Olivia's steward (His name means "ill will", and he's portrayed as a Puritan –
  and therefore an object of scorn and mockery for Shakespeare)
Fabian, a gentleman in Olivia's household
Feste, a fool or jester; notations in the earliest folios indicate that the role was played
  by the troupe's comic actor.

Sebastian, Viola's twin brother
Antonio, Sebastian's friend, who saved Sebastian from drowning

Captain, who rescued Viola from drowning and helped her transform into a man
Priest, also called Sir Topas


Scene 1: Duke Orsino's castle
If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.

Orsino Woe! I am sick with love for Olivia, and she'll have nothing to do with me.

Valentine Sorry, my lord – Olivia won't see me. She's declared herself in mourning for seven years for her dearly departed brother.

Orsino Man – if she can show that much love for a mere brother, think how deeply she will love a husband some day! I have got to get me some of that.

Scene 2: The sea coast of Illyria

Viola "What country, friends, is this?"

Captain This is Illyria, lady.

Viola "And what should I do in Illyria?" Do you think there's any chance at all that my brother survived the ship wreck?

Captain "It is perchance that you yourself were saved." But I suppose there's an outside chance that he made it.

Viola So . . . who's in charge around here?

Captain Orsino.

Viola I hear he's a bachelor.

Captain Yeah, but he's pining for Olivia, and she's in mourning and won't see anyone.

Viola Figures. How 'bout I dress up like a boy, and we'll say I'm a eunuch, and I'll go work for the Duke. He sounds hot. Better yet, how 'bout you say nothing at all, but pretend to be my mute servant? I'll pay you.

Captain Deal!

Scene 3: Olivia's house

Sir Toby Belch I am drunk! As usual! And loud! Also as usual! HA!

Maria Sir Toby, you are drunk, as usual, and loud, and it's getting on my lady's nerves. Also, your "friend" is an ass.

Sir Toby My friend, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, is as tall as any man in Illyria.

Maria Also, you tend to have no point when you speak.

Sir Andrew *enters* I am an ass! And/or a bumbling idiot!

Maria I shall amuse Sir Toby with ribald puns that go right over your head, you bumbling idiot, Sir Andrew. And now, good night. *flounces off*

Scene 4: Duke Orsino's palace

Orsino I need Cesario. Hey, Cesario – go over to Olivia's house, and stand there until she lets you in to make my suit for me.

Viola From what I hear, she won't let me in.

Orsino Stay there as long as it takes, and be rude if need be. If you do get to talk to her, "then unfold the passion of my love." Act it out if you must. With you being so young and girlish, she's bound to listen. In fact, you're so young that anyone who calls you a man is a liar.

Viola Dude. You have no idea. "I'll do my best to woo your lady." [Aside: What a mess! I want to marry Orsino myself!]

Scene 5: Olivia's house

Maria Where the hell have you been? My lady is ready to hang you or turn you out. Here comes my lady – make a good excuse for yourself, if you're smart.

Feste *aside*
Wit, an 't be thy will, put me into good fooling!
Those wits that think they have thee do very oft prove fools,
and I that am sure I lack thee may pass for a wise man.
For what says Quinapalus?* "Better a witty Fool than a foolish wit."
[*Quinapalus is not a real philosopher, but one invented by Feste.]

Olivia Take the fool away.

Feste I'll prove that the only true fool here is you, my lady. You're the one mourning for a brother who is in heaven.

Olivia What do you say, Malvolio?

Malvolio I am superior and smug with designs above my station, and I say that he's a loser.

Olivia "Oh, you are sick of self-love, Malvolio, and taste with a distempered appetite."

*Enter Maria*
Maria There's a handsome young man outside from the Count, who wants to see you. Sir Toby's with him.

Olivia Not Sir Toby! He's a drunk! Malvolio, go see what he wants. If it's to tell me about the count's suit, "I am sick, or not at home; what you will, to dismiss it."

Sir Toby *enters* I am drunk! HA!

Olivia Deal with Sir Toby, would you, Feste? *Feste follows Sir Toby out*

Malvolio *enters* The youth at the gate won't leave. Says he'll stand there and hold your gate up if need be.

Olivia What's he look like?

Malvolio He's kind of young and girly.

Olivia Send him in. I like girlish young men.

Viola *enters to find Olivia veiled and other women present* I'd love to say my speech and all, but can you tell me if one of you is Olivia, and which one? I worked hard on this.

Olivia Are you an actor?

Viola No, but to tell you the truth, I swear I am not what I seem. I'm here to speak to you alone. "What I am and what I would are as secret as maidenhead: to your ears, divinity; to any other's, profanation."

Olivia Wow. That's hot. Everyone out. I'll hear what this boy has to say.

Viola Orsino loves you, and you are terribly cruel to refuse him.

Olivia I cannot love him.

Viola If I loved you the way my master did, I would not give up.

Olivia What would you do?

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
And make the babbling gossip of the air
Cry out 'Olivia!' O, You should not rest
Between the elements of air and earth,
But you should pity me!

Olivia So . . .Cesario. Tell your boss I cannot love him. And never to send anyone to me again. Unless it's you. Can you come tomorrow? Please say yes.

*Viola leaves*
Olivia Ooh. He's hot. I think I'm in love. I'll send Malvolio after him with my ring, to ensure that he comes back tomorrow.


Scene 1: The sea coast

Sebastian Hey Antonio. Thanks for saving me from drowning. I wish my twin sister, Viola, hadn't drowned. I can't think of her without crying. Peace out - I'm heading for Orsino's court.

Antonio I have serious backstory that makes that a bad idea for me. You go without me. I'll come along after you later on because I am desperately in love with you. Or something.

Scene 2: A street

Malvolio You! Hold up. Take this ring back, my lady says to bugger off.

Viola I didn't give her a ring. WTF?

Malvolio *throws ring at Viola's feet and flounces off in a huff*

Viola *picks ring up* What is up with that chick? Oh dear. I think she fell for me.
She loves me, sure; the cunning of her passion
Invites me in this churlish messenger.
None of my lord's ring! why, he sent her none.
I am the man: if it be so, as 'tis,
Poor lady, she were better love a dream.
. . .
How will this fadge? my master loves her dearly;
And I, poor monster, fond as much on him;
And she, mistaken, seems to dote on me.
What will become of this? As I am man,
My state is desperate for my master's love;
As I am woman,--now alas the day!--
What thriftless sighs shall poor Olivia breathe!
O time! thou must untangle this, not I;
It is too hard a knot for me to untie!

Scene 3: Olivia's house
Sir Toby and Sir Andrew carouse, running into Feste, who sings a love song for them. O Mistress Mine, which I posted in April during National Poetry Month.

When Sir Toby Belch and Sir Andrew Aguecheek continue to be rowdy, Maria comes to tell them to keep it down or else Olivia will turn them out, warning them about Malvolio. Sure enough, Malvolio comes as well and is censorious and rude.

Sir Toby Art any more than a
steward? Dost thou think, because thou art
virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?

Malvolio *flounces off in a huff*

Maria He's such a Puritan.

All agree that nobody likes a Puritan. And that Malvolio is a pompous ass, who needs to brought down a few pegs. For sport. Maria says she'll forge Olivia's handwriting and direct a letter to Malvolio to make him think Olivia is in love with him. [KRF: I confess to not finding the Malvolio subplot particularly interesting or amusing, so I'm giving it short shrift. You may, of course, wish to give it longer shrift, as is your prerogative.]

Scene 4: Duke Orsino's palace [KRF: Perhaps my favorite scene in the play, so I'll be quoting from it at length here.]

Orsino I'd like to hear last night's song again. What do you think of it, Cesario?

Viola "It gives a very echo to the seat/Where Love is throned."

Orsino Whoa! Sounds to me like you know what it is to be in love. "What kind of woman is it?"

Viola "Of your complexion."

Orsino She's not good enough for you, then. How old is she?

Viola About your years, my lord.

Too old by heaven: let still the woman take
An elder than herself: so wears she to him,
So sways she level in her husband's heart:
For, boy, however we do praise ourselves,
Our fancies are more giddy and unfirm,
More longing, wavering, sooner lost and worn,
Than women's are.

Viola     I think it well, my lord.

Feste *Enters, and sings*
Come away, come away, death,
And in sad cypress let me be laid;
Fly away, fly away breath;
I am slain by a fair cruel maid.
My shroud of white, stuck all with yew,
O, prepare it!
My part of death, no one so true
Did share it.
Not a flower, not a flower sweet
On my black coffin let there be strown;
Not a friend, not a friend greet
My poor corpse, where my bones shall be thrown:
A thousand thousand sighs to save,
Lay me, O, where
Sad true lover never find my grave,
To weep there!

Orsino Go to Olivia and tell her of my love.

Viola But if she cannot love you, sir?

Duke Orsino I cannot be so answered.

Viola Sooth, but you must.
Say that some lady, as perhaps there is,
Hath for your love a great a pang of heart
As you have for Olivia: you cannot love her;
You tell her so; must she not then be answered?

Duke Orsino 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[.] . . .

Viola Ay, but I know –

Duke Orsino What dost thou know?

Too well what love women to men may owe:
In faith, they are as true of heart as we.
My father had a daughter loved a man,
As it might be, perhaps, were I a woman,
I should your lordship.

Duke Orsino And what's her history?

A blank, my lord. She never told her love,
But let concealment, like a worm i' the bud,
Feed on her damask cheek: she pined in thought,
And with a green and yellow melancholy
She sat like patience on a monument,
Smiling at grief. Was not this love indeed?
We men may say more, swear more: but indeed
Our shows are more than will; for still we prove
Much in our vows, but little in our love.

Duke Orsino But died thy sister of her love, my boy?

Viola I am all the daughters of my father's house,
And all the brothers too: and yet I know not.

Scene 5: Olivia's garden

Maria drops the letter she wrote where she's sure Malvolio will find it. Fabian, Sir Toby and Sir Andrew hide out to observe him. Malvolio comes out, speaking aloud about his hope of becoming Count. He fantasizes about wealth and power to castigate Sir Toby and Sir Andrew, then finds the letter on the path.

Malvolio "By my life, this is my lady's hand these be her very C's, her U's and her T's and thus makes she
her great P's."

[KRF: Note – this is lowbrow humor at its best, for Malvolio has just spelled out a rather unsavory word for the female genitalia (the word "and" would have sounded like "N"), then referred to urination. To be certain that we get the joke, Shakespeare has Sir Andrew repeat part of it.]

Sir Andrew "Her C's, her U's and her T's: why that?"

Malvolio *reads the letter aloud* "In my stars I am above thee; but be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em."

Maria comes back and speaks with Sir Toby, Sir Andrew and Fabian. She tells them that when Malvolio next goes before Olivia, he'll be smiling, cross-gartered, and wearing yellow stockings (an outmoded color that Olivia hates).


Scene 1: Olivia's garden

Cesario *enters, speaks with Feste*

Feste "Now Jove, in his next commodity of hair, send thee a beard!"

Viola "By my troth, I'll tell thee, I am almost sick for one, [Aside] though I would not have it grow on my chin." Is the lady of the house around?

Olivia Yoo-hoo! Cute boy! *Grabs Cesario and heads into the garden*

Viola I'm here to woo you for Count Orsino.

Olivia Forget Orsino. I want you. That's why I sent the ring.

Viola "I pity you."

Olivia "That's a degree to love."

Viola Nope. We frequently pity our enemies.

Olivia Oh well. I tried. Off you go, due west.

Viola "Then westward-ho!" Anything you want me to tell the count?

Olivia Yes. Let's engage in amusing double-speak!
I prithee, tell me what thou thinkest of me.

Viola That you do think you are not what you are.

Olivia If I think so, I think the same of you.

Viola Then think you right: I am not what I am.

Olivia I would you were as I would have you be!

Viola Would it be better, madam, than I am?
I wish it might, for now I am your fool.

Olivia "Love sought is good, but given unsought better."

By innocence I swear, and by my youth
I have one heart, one bosom and one truth,
And that no woman has; nor never none
Shall mistress be of it, save I alone.

Scene 2: Olivia's house

Sir Andrew I'm out of here. Clearly Olivia prefers that Cesario kid.

Fabian I'll bet she's just trying to make you jealous. Do some grand gesture.

Sir Andrew I'll go write up a challenge for that youth. *bumbles off*

Maria *enters, tells them to come observe Malvolio, who is smiling, cross-gartered and in yellow stockings*

Scene 3: A street

Sebastian It's good to see you here, Antonio.

Antonio Good to see you, too. Since I rescued you, I owe you a lifetime of service. For I have completely misunderstood that particular axiom, or else I'm madly in love with you, or something. But it's terribly dangerous for me to be here, since I'm a wanted man here.

Sebastian I'll bet you killed a lot of Orsino's men.

Antonio Not really, but I'm notorious around here. Here. Have all my money, in case you find a trifle you want to buy. See you at the Elephant Inn in an hour.

Scene 4: Olivia's garden
Malvolio comes to Olivia, smiling and speaking familiarly. He quotes the letter, offers to go to bed with Olivia, and generally gives her reason to believe him mad. Olivia entrusts his care to Sir Toby; Malvolio lords it over Sir Toby, Fabian and Maria, then exits. In a huff.

Fabian "If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction."

Sir Toby Let's lock him up like a madman.

Sir Andrew brings his letter, which they read aloud. It's hilarious. Sir Toby decides not to deliver the letter to Cesario, but to convey the challenge verbally. You can watch some of Malvolio's antics and Sir Andrew's letter here:

[Olivia and Viola enter]

Olivia I know I keep going on and on about my love for you. Sorry.

Viola You sound just like Orsino, always going on about being in love. I just want you to love my master.

Olivia I can't love him. I love you. Here, wear this piece of jewelry with my picture on it and come again tomorrow.

Viola Good God, woman, don't you ever give up?

[Olivia exits; Sir Toby and Fabian enter.]

Sir Toby Sir Andrew has challenged you to a duel. He's a complete beast. I'm certain he'll kill you. HA!

Viola Yikes! I'll just run in the house and ask the lady to protect me.

Sir Toby Nope. If you try it, I'll fight you myself.

Viola Can't you just offer my apologies for me?

Sir Toby HA! I'll see. Stay here with Fabian.

[Sir Toby returns, having fetched Sir Andrew.]
Sir Toby The boy's a devil and will doubtless run you through. HA!

Sir Andrew Crap! I'll give him my horse if he'll leave me alone.

Sir Toby *tells each of the potential combattants that the other doesn't really want to fight; they agree on a quick pass in the interests of honor, the challenge already having been issued*

Antonio *arrives on the scene* Put up your sword! I'll fight instead of this boy, because I am madly in love with him.

Sir Toby Well, then, I'll fight you instead of Sir Andrew, since he's worthless. HA!

*Officers arrive to arrest Antonio*

Antonio Hey, boy, I'm terribly sorry to ask for my purse back, but could I have it please? I'm particularly unhappy to deprive you of the use of it.

Viola Say what? I'm very grateful to you for helping me out, so I'll lend you money, although I don't have all that much.

Antonio "Will you deny me now?" Must I remind you of all the things I've done for you, you ingrate?

Viola Say what? That is to say, I don't know you, sir. Sorry to hear you're crazy.

Antonio Dude! I totally pulled you out of the ocean and kept you from drowning, SEBASTIAN!

Officer Wow, this Antonio guy really is crazy. *Leads Antonio away*

Viola It sounds like that Antonio believes what he says. I sure wish I could believe him – it would mean that my brother isn't dead, and that he lives on outside my looking-glass, since I sure do look like him in this disguise! *Exits*

Sir Toby What a rogue that boy is! Dishonest and cowardly!

Sir Andrew "I'll after him again and beat him."

Sir Toby "Do; cuff him soundly, but never draw thy sword."

Sir Andrew Just watch me!

Sir Toby This I have to see!


Scene 1: Before Olivia's house

Feste Come along. I was sent for you.

Sebastian Say what? Get outta here!

No, I do not know you; nor
I am not sent to you by my lady, to bid you come
speak with her; nor your name is not Master Cesario;
nor this is not my nose neither. Nothing that is so is so.

Sebastian Enough foolishness!

[Enter Sir Andrew, Sir Toby and Fabian]

Sir Andrew Now, sir, I've met you again. *Hits him* There's for you.

Sebastian *Hits him back, repeatedly* Why, there's for thee, and there, and there. Are all
the people mad?

Sir Toby I am going to throw your dagger over the house, young man.

Feste And I am going to get my lady. She is going to be pissed at a few of you, SIR TOBY. *goes to get Olivia*

*Sir Toby and Sebastian start to mix it up until Olivia gets there*

Olivia Hold, Toby! You ungrateful wretch! Get out of my sight!
Sorry, dear Cesario.

*Sir Toby, Sir Andrew and Fabian exit*

Olivia Please don't be too angry. Come inside with me, and I'll tell you stories about Sir Toby that will make you laugh for sure. Please don't say no!

Sebastian [Aside] What on earth is going on around here? Is everyone mad? Am I dreaming? "If it be thus to dream, still let me sleep!"

Olivia No, come with me. Please do as I say!

Sebastian "Madam, I will."

Olivia "O, say so, and so be!"

Scene 2: Olivia's house

Maria Here, Fool, dress like Sir Topas the Priest and visit Malvolio in his cell.

Feste "Well, I'll put it on, and I will dissemble myself/in't; and I would I were the first that ever/dissembled in such a gown."

*Sir Toby comes to watch Feste trick Malvolio into thinking he speaks with a priest; Malvolio asserts that he's not mad, but is being mistreated; Feste continues to counterfeit that he's the priest for while longer, then leaves. I don't find the scene funny, and so cannot make it seem so. "Sir Topas" takes his leave, and Sir Toby tells Feste to go back to Malvolio as himself and, if possible, to find a way to get Malvolio out of there, since Sir Toby's in enough trouble with Olivia as it is.*

Feste, *sings*
I am gone, sir,
And anon, sir,
I'll be with you again,
In a trice,
Like to the old Vice,
Your need to sustain;
Who, with dagger of lath,
In his rage and his wrath,
Cries, ah, ha! to the devil:
Like a mad lad,
Pare thy nails, dad;
Adieu, good man devil.

Scene 3: Olivia's garden

Sebastian "This is the air; that is the glorious sun;
This pearl she gave me, I do feel 't and see 't;
And though 'tis wonder that enwraps me thus,
Yet 'tis not madness. Where's Antonio, then?
I could not find him at the Elephant."
I sure could use his help, though, because things around here are wondrous strange (oops – wrong play!)
Perhaps I am mad, after all, or else the lady is, but her estate seems to run so well that I'm pretty sure she's sane. Things are not as they seem, methinks.

[Enter OLIVIA and Priest]

Olivia Sorry to be hasty, but if you're sincere, you'll come marry me right away. That way, my "most jealous and too doubtful soul/ May live at peace." And don't worry, the priest will keep it a secret until you're willing to make it known, and then we'll have a massive party. "What do you say?"

"I'll follow this good man, and go with you;
And, having sworn truth, ever will be true."

Olivia Let's do this!

Act V

Scene 1: Before Olivia's house

Fabian Let me see Malvolio's letter.

Feste Nope.

[Enter Orsino, Viola, Curio and more]

Orsino Hey! I know you – you're with Olivia! How do you do?

Feste "Truly, sir, the better for my foes and the worse for my friends."

Orsino Don't you have that backwards?

Feste Nope. My friends "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 negatives make your two affirmatives why then, the worse for my friends and the better for my foes."

Orsino Well said. Here's a tip. Go fetch Olivia for me, would you?

[Feste goes to fetch Olivia; Antonio and the officers enter.]

Orsino Hey! You're that Antonio! I don't like you. You're trouble.

Viola "He did me kindness, sir, drew on my side"

Orsino What's the story here?

Antonio I'm in love with that boy, ever since I pulled him out of the ocean and saved his life. And then I drew to protect him, again out of love, thereby exposing myself. To your men, I mean. My identity, that is, not my, um, self, so to speak. And then, when I asked for it, he wouldn't give me back my own purse that I handed him only half an hour earlier.

Viola Say what?

Orsino Okay, Mr. Smartypants, when did this boy get to town?

Antonio Just today. And for the past three months, he's spent every minute with me. Because I am obsessed and won't let him out of my sight.

[Enter Olivia and a bunch of people.]

Here comes the countess: now heaven walks on earth.
But for thee, fellow; fellow, thy words are madness:
Three months this youth hath tended upon me;
But more of that anon. Take him aside.

Olivia What do you want my lord, apart from me, since you can't have me? Cesario, you are not keeping your promise to me.

Viola Say what?

Orsino Allow me to expound upon –

Olivia Don't you have something you want to say, Cesario?

Viola Hey, Orsino's speaking; I've got nothing to say to you.

Olivia If Orsino's talking to me, I don't want to hear it.

Orsino "Still so cruel?"

Olivia "Still so constant, lord."

Orsino Well, if you aren't a rude piece of baggage! I've tried to convey my love, but I'm not sure what else to do.

Olivia Go jump in a lake, more or less.

Orsino If I were really melodramatic, instead of only mostly melodramatic,
I'd kill you for refusing my love. But instead, I'm going to take this boy, since I can
see how you keep looking at him, and maybe I'll kill him instead, just to spite you.

Viola Sounds good to me – I'm happy to die, if it makes you happy.

Olivia "Where goes Cesario?"

Viola "After him I love/More than I love these eyes, more than my life,/
More, by all mores, than e'er I shall love wife."

Olivia What the heck is wrong with you? Have you forgotten me already? Somebody drag the priest out!

Orsino Come on, Cesario.

Olivia "Whither, my lord? Cesario, husband, stay."

Orsino Bwah?

Viola Husband? I call "not it"!

Olivia I shall now say something that is nearly identical to what Maria said in the letter for Malvolio: "take thy fortunes up;/Be that thou know'st thou art, and then thou art/As great as that thou fear'st." Oh good – here's the priest. Tell everyone how I'm married to this boy.

Priest Yep. Married. Two hours ago.

Orsino "O thou dissembling cub!" One of these days, your lies will trip you up.
Enjoy your wife, but be sure to keep clear of me from now on.

Viola Say what?

[Enter Sir Andrew.]

Sir Andrew Get a doctor for Sir Toby! He's broken open Sir Toby's head, and mine, too! I want my mommy!

Olivia Who did this, Sir Andrew?

Sir Andrew Count Orsino's man, Cesario. We thought he was a coward, "but he's the very devil incardinate."

Orsino My Cesario?

Sir Andrew Yes. Your man. The one standing right here. [To Viola.] I can't believe you did that.

Viola Say what?

[Enter Sir Toby and Feste.]

Sir Andrew You know what you did. Just look at poor Sir Toby!

Sir Toby I am drunk! HA!

Olivia Who on earth has done all this? Get Sir Toby out of here and patch him up!

[Exit Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, Fabian, and Feste; Enter Sebastian]

Sebastian [To Olivia.] I'm terribly sorry, sweetheart, but I bashed your cousin over the head. I can tell from the way you're looking at me that something's amiss, but I didn't mean to upset you, what with us being married only two hours and all.

"One face, one voice, one habit, and two persons,
A natural perspective, that is and is not!"

Sebastian [To Antonio.] Antonio! I've been looking for you. I mean, when I wasn't marrying strangers and engaging in sword fights and fisticuffs, anyhow. What's up?

How have you made division of yourself?
An apple cleft in two is not more twin
Than these two creatures. Which is Sebastian?

Olivia Whoa!

Whoa! He does look like me. Who are you? Where are you from? Are we related?

I'm, from Messaline. "Sebastian was my father./Such a Sebastian was my brother, too."
When he drowned, he looked just like you do right now.

If you were a woman, "I should my tears let fall upon your cheek/And say 'Thrice-welcome, drownèd Viola!'"

Viola *is happy*

Sebastian [To Olivia.] Dear Olivia, aren't you glad you married the male twin, even if it was by mistake? You'd have been betrothed to a maid. Although, inasmuch as I'm a virgin, I'm kinda sorta like a maiden.

Orsino Well, Olivia, looks like you lucked out. He seems nice enough. And now that it turns out that Cesario isn't actually a dude, I can act on all that sexual tension I've been feeling! "Boy, thou hast said to me a thousand times/Thou never shouldst love woman like to me."

Viola "And all those sayings will I overswear," because I meant every word.

Orsino Give me your hand, and let me see you in women's clothing.

Viola The captain who helped me has my girl clothes, but he was locked up because of some lawsuit by Malvolio somewhere along the line. I guess that explains why nobody's seen him around since Act I, scene 2.

Olivia Malvolio will let him out. Oh. Right. Malvolio's nuts.

Feste *enters* Hello again. Here's a letter from Malvolio.

Fabian *reads letter aloud* . . . and, to sum up, I'm not nuts.

Orsino He doesn't sound nuts.

Olivia No, he doesn't. Go and bring him here, Fabian. And you, Orsino. I hope you'll like having me as a sister-in-law. You and my ex-boyfriend/your girlfriend can get married here tomorrow if you want. I'll pay for it, even.

Orsino Good plan. [To Viola.]
Your master quits you; and for your service done him,
So much against the mettle of your sex,
So far beneath your soft and tender breeding,
And since you called me "master" for so long,
Here is my hand. You shall from this time be
Your master's mistress.

[Enter Malvolio.]

Malvolio You have wronged me. [He sums up: sent me letter, which I followed, locked up in a madhouse, etc.] See? Here's your letter.

Olivia That's not my writing; it's Maria's.

Fabian Yeah, here's what happened (tells story), and now Sir Toby has married Maria.

Olivia [To Malvolio.] "Alas, poor fool, how have they baffled thee!"

Why, "some are born great, some achieve greatness,
and some have greatness thrown upon them. I was one, sir, in this
interlude; one Sir Topas, sir; but that's all one. "By the Lord, fool,
I am not mad." But do you remember? "Madam, why laugh you at such
a barren rascal; an you smile not, he's gagged"?
And thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenges.

Malvolio I'll be revenged on the lot of you! *flounces off in a huff*

Olivia "He hath been most notoriously abused."

Orsino Someone go pay him off. And you, Cesario – you get to keep that name until you get your women's clothes on. After that, you'll be my mistress and my queen. Unless I prefer you in drag, but perhaps we'll keep that between ourselves.

[Exit all but Feste.]

When that I was and a little tiny boy,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
A foolish thing was but a toy,
For the rain it raineth every day.
But when I came to man's estate,
With hey, ho, & c.
'Gainst knaves and thieves men shut their gate,
For the rain, & c.
But when I came, alas! to wive,
With hey, ho, & c.
By swaggering could I never thrive,
For the rain, & c.
But when I came unto my beds,
With hey, ho, & c.
With toss-pots still had drunken heads,
For the rain, & c.
A great while ago the world begun,
With hey, ho, & c.
But that's all one, our play is done,
And we'll strive to please you every day.

Here's Feste's final song from the 1996 movie, which has some lines cut in:

Kiva - loans that change lives

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( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 18th, 2009 03:30 am (UTC)
Excellent! I really like that movie too (especially seeing 'Miss Lucy Steele' as Viola :) And the sexual tension between Orsino and Viola/Cesario has some great moments there, as well.
Jun. 18th, 2009 03:47 am (UTC)
Yeah - the scene when they're in the barn with Feste and nearly kiss is pretty hot, actually. M actually found all of the scenes with sexual chemistry to be uncomfortable to watch: Seeing Viola in drag with Orsino made her uncomfortable (not so much the idea of two guys together, but more that one of them wasn't really a guy), and seeing her in drag with Olivia made her uncomfortable as well (for the same reason). Something about the idea of someone being in disguise as the opposite gender felt a bit dangerous to her, I think.
Jun. 18th, 2009 04:15 am (UTC)
I can see that -- I would have been uncomfortable too, as a kid. I think that barn scene might be my favorite from the whole movie -- something about their souls reaching out to the other, regardless of the supposed gender ;)
Jun. 18th, 2009 09:26 am (UTC)
Tanita Says :)
We did this at Mills -- and it's a school for women, so somehow, this was even more farcical...

And really -- I'm in the UK. The rain, it raineth every day... is pretty much stuck in my head...
Jun. 18th, 2009 12:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Tanita Says :)
It's raining here in New Jersey (again) as well. I do so love Ben Kingsley's performance of that song, though, which I find haunting - and hear often in my head (or sing aloud) whether it's raining or no.
Jun. 22nd, 2009 10:53 am (UTC)
I've heard of a production of this,
In which Orsino was a woman. Unfortunately, dressed as one.

this made the courtship of Olivia make NO SENSE. What is wrong with people? Can't they read the plays?

But I've always thought an all-female or all-male production, would make the Sebastian/Viola scene a lot easier.
Jun. 19th, 2009 12:19 am (UTC)
Aguecheek--eww, but I'm pretty sure if I had encountered that definition when I was a little less, ahem, mature than I am now, my friends and I would've taken great delight in using it as an obscure insult.

This is just begging to be an LJ userpic: "Let's engage in amusing double-speak!"

I love how hardly anyone goes anywhere in this play unless they're disguised or being mistaken for someone else!

LMAO: "I've been looking for you. I mean, when I wasn't marrying strangers and engaging in sword fights and fisticuffs, anyhow."

And the rain it certainly raineth every day--around here, anyway.
Jun. 19th, 2009 12:36 am (UTC)
The rain, it raineth, and it causeth the basement to be damp. Fie on the every-day rain!

I am pleased beyond belief to have caused ass removing laughter. I aim to amuse, after all, so knowing I manage to succeed from time to time makes my day!
Jun. 19th, 2009 02:35 am (UTC)
"Sir Toby Belch I am drunk! As usual! And loud! Also as usual! HA!"
"I shall amuse Sir Toby with ribald puns that go right over your head"
including cleavage jokes!
"Antonio: I'm in love with that boy"
There's a lot of that going on in this play! =)
Jun. 19th, 2009 03:22 am (UTC)
There is indeed a lot of that going on in this play. Glad you enjoyed the post!
Jun. 22nd, 2009 10:50 am (UTC)
Wonderful retelling. I love poor Antonio. And the bit about "unless I prefer you in drag," is priceless.
Jun. 22nd, 2009 03:25 pm (UTC)
Re: Perfect!
Thanks! I seriously love this play. Later today, I'm moving on to As You Like It, which Harold Bloom loves (and seems to think is superior to Twelfth Night, a point on which we differ). But I do love the woman-in-drag trope, that's for sure!
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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