Sebastian and his sister Viola, a young gentleman and lady of Messaline, were twins, and (which was accounted a great wonder) from their birth they so much resembled each other, that, but for the difference in their dress, they could not be known apart. They were both born in one hour, and in one hour they were both in danger of perishing, for they were shipwrecked on the coast of Illyria, as they were making a sea-voyage together. The ship, on board of which they were, split on a rock in a violent storm, and a very small number of the ship's company escaped with their lives. The captain of the vessel, with a few of the sailors that were saved, got to land in a small boat, and with them they brought Viola safe on shore, where she, poor lady, instead of rejoicing at her own deliverance, began to lament her brother's loss; but the captain comforted her with the assurance that he had seen her brother, when the ship split, fasten himself to a strong mast, on which, as long as he could see anything of him for the distance, he perceived him borne up above the waves. Viola was much consoled by the hope this account gave her, and now considered how she was to dispose of herself in a strange country, so far from home; and she asked the captain if he knew anything of Illyria. 'Ay, very well, madam,' replied the captain, 'for I was born not three hours' travel from this place.' 'Who governs here?' said Viola. The captain told her, Illyria was governed by Orsino, a duke noble in nature as well as dignity. Viola said, she had heard her father speak of Orsino, and that he was unmarried then. 'And he is so now,' said the captain; 'or was so very lately, for, but a month ago, I went from here, and then it was the general talk (as you know what great ones do, the people will prattle of) that Orsino sought the love of fair Olivia, a virtuous maid, the daughter of a count who died twelve months ago, leaving Olivia to the protection of her brother, who shortly after died also; and for the love of this dear brother, they say, she has abjured the sight and company of men.' Viola, who was herself in such a sad affliction for her brother's loss, wished she could live with this lady, who so tenderly mourned a brother's death. She asked the captain if he could introduce her to Olivia, saying she would willingly serve this lady. But he replied, this would be a hard thing to accomplish, because the lady Olivia would admit no person into her house since her brother's death, not even the duke himself. Then Viola formed another project in her mind, which was, in a man's habit, to serve the duke Orsino as a page. It was a strange fancy in a young lady to put on male attire, and pass for a boy; but the forlorn and unprotected state of Viola, who was young and of uncommon beauty, alone, and in a foreign land, must plead her excuse.
She having observed a fair behaviour in the captain, and that he showed a friendly concern for her welfare, entrusted him with her design, and he readily engaged to assist her. Viola gave him money, and directed him to furnish her with suitable apparel, ordering her clothes to be made of the same colour and in the same fashion her brother Sebastian used to wear, and when she was dressed in her manly garb, she looked so exactly like her brother that some strange errors happened by means of their being mistaken for each other; for, as will afterwards appear, Sebastian was also saved.
Viola's good friend, the captain, when he had transformed this pretty lady into a gentleman, having some interest at court, got her presented to Orsino under the feigned name of Cesario. The duke was wonderfully pleased with the address and graceful deportment of this handsome youth, and made Cesario one of his pages that being the office Viola wished to obtain: and she so well fulfilled the duties of her new station, and showed such a ready observance and faithful attachment to her lord, that she soon became his most favoured attendant. To Cesario Orsino confided the whole history of his love for the lady Olivia. To Cesario he told the long and unsuccessful suit he had made to one who, rejecting his long services, and despising his person, refused to admit him to her presence; and for the love of this lady who had so unkindly treated him, the noble Orsino, forsaking the sports of the field and all manly exercises in which he used to delight, passed his hours in ignoble sloth, listening to the effeminate sounds of soft music, gentle airs, and passionate love songs; and neglecting the company of the wise and learned lords with whom he used to associate, he was now all day long conversing with young Cesario. Unmeet companion no doubt his grave courtiers thought Cesario was for their once noble master, the great duke Orsino.
It is a dangerous matter for young maidens to be the confidants of handsome young dukes; which Viola too soon found to her sorrow, for all that Orsino told her he endured for Olivia, she presently perceived she suffered for the love of him; and much it moved her wonder, that Olivia could be so regardless of this her peerless lord and master, whom she thought no one could behold without the deepest admiration, and she ventured gently to hint to Orsino, that it was a pity he should affect a lady who was so blind to his worthy qualities; and she said: 'If a lady were to love you, my lord, as you love Olivia (and perhaps there may be one who does), if you could not love her in return, would you not tell her that you could not love, and must she not be content with this answer?' But Orsino would not admit of this reasoning, for he denied that it was possible for any woman to love as he did. He said, no woman's heart was big enough to hold so much love, and therefore it was unfair to compare the love of any lady for him, to his love for Olivia. Now, though Viola had the utmost deference for the duke's opinions, she could not help thinking this was not quite true, for she thought her heart had full as much love in it as Orsino's had; and she said: 'Ah, but I know, my lord. "What do you know, Cesario?' said Orsino. 'Too well I know,' replied Viola, 'what love women may owe to men. They are as true of heart as we are. My father had a daughter loved a man, as I perhaps, were I a woman, should love your lordship.' 'And what is her history?' said Orsino. 'A blank, my lord,' replied Viola: 'she never told her love, but let concealment, like a worm in 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' The duke inquired if this lady died of her love, but to this question Viola returned an evasive answer; as probably she had feigned the story, to speak words expressive of the secret love and silent grief she suffered for Orsino.
While they were talking, a gentleman entered whom the duke had sent to Olivia, and he said: 'So please you, my lord, I might not be admitted to the lady, but by her handmaid she returned you this answer: Until seven years hence, the element itself shall not behold her face; but like a cloistress she will walk veiled, watering her chamber with her tears for the sad remembrance of her dead brother.' On hearing this, the duke exclaimed: 'O she that has a heart of this fine frame, to pay this debt of love to a dead brother, how will she love, when the rich golden shaft has touched her heart!' And then he said to Viola: 'You know, Cesario, I have told you all the secrets of my heart; therefore, good youth, go to Olivia's house. Be not denied access; stand at her doors, and tell her, there your fixed foot shall grow till you have audience.' 'And if I do speak to her, my lord, what then?' said Viola. 'o then,' replied Orsino, 'unfold to her the passion of my love. Make a long discourse to her of my dear faith. It will well become you to act my woes, for she will attend more to you than to one of graver aspect.'
Away then went Viola; but not willingly did she undertake this courtship, for she was to woo a lady to become a wife to him she wished to marry: but having undertaken the affair, she performed it with fidelity; and Olivia soon heard that a youth was at her door who insisted upon being admitted to her presence. 'I told him,' said the servant, 'that you were sick: he said he knew you were, and therefore he came to speak with you. I told him that you were asleep: he seemed to have a foreknowledge of that too, and said, that therefore he must speak with you. What is to be said to him, lady? for he seems fortified against all denial, and will speak with you, whether you will or no.' Olivia, curious to see who this peremptory messenger might be, desired he might be admitted; and throwing her veil over her face, she said she would once more hear Orsino's embassy, not doubting but that he came from the duke, by his importunity. Viola, entering, put on the most manly air she could assume, and affecting the fine courtier language of great men's pages, she said to the veiled lady: 'Most radiant, exquisite, and matchless beauty, I pray you tell me if you are the lady of the house; for I should be sorry to cast away my speech upon another; for besides that it-is excellently well penned, I have taken great pains to learn it.' 'Whence come you, sir?' said Olivia. 'I can say little more than I have studied,' replied Viola; 'and that question is out of my part.' 'Are you a comedian?' said Olivia. 'No,' replied Viola; 'and yet I am not that which I play'; meaning that she, being a woman, feigned herself to be a man. And again she asked Olivia if she were the lady of the house. Olivia said she was; and then Viola, having more curiosity to see her rival's features, than haste to deliver her master's message, said: 'Good madam, let me see your face.' With this bold request Olivia was not averse to comply; for this haughty beauty, whom the duke Orsino had loved so long in vain, at first sight conceived a passion for the supposed page, the humble Cesario.
When Viola asked to see her face, Olivia said: 'Have you any commission from your lord and master to negotiate with my face?' And then, forgetting her determination to go veiled for seven long years, she drew aside her veil, saying: 'But I will draw the curtain and show the picture. Is it not well done?' Viola replied: 'It is beauty truly mixed; the red and white upon your cheeks is by Nature's own cunning hand laid on. You are the most cruel lady living, if you will lead these graces to the grave, and leave the world no copy.' 'O, sir,' replied Olivia, 'I will not be so cruel. The world may have an inventory of my beauty. As, item, two lips, indifferent red; item, two grey eyes, with lids to them; one neck; one chin; and so forth. Were you sent here to praise me?' Viola replied: 'I see what you are: you are too proud, but you are fair. My lord and master loves you. 0 such a love could but be recompensed, though you were crowned the queen of beauty: for Orsino loves you with adoration and with tears, with groans that thunder love, and sighs of fire.' 'Your lord,' said Olivia, 'knows well my mind. I cannot love him; yet I doubt not he is virtuous; I know him to be noble and of high estate, of fresh and spotless youth. All voices proclaim him learned, courteous, and valiant; yet I cannot love him, he might have taken his answer long ago.' 'If I did love you as my master does,' said Viola, 'I would make me a willow cabin at your gates, and call upon your name, I would write complaining sonnets on Olivia, and sing them in the dead of the night; your name should sound among the hills, and I would make Echo, the babbling gossip of the air, cry out Olivia. 0 you should not rest between the elements of earth and air, but you should pity me. 'You might do much,' said Olivia: 'what is your parentage?' Viola replied: 'Above my fortunes, yet my state is well. I am a gentleman.' Olivia now reluctantly dismissed Viola, saying: 'Go to your master, and tell him, I cannot love him. Let him send no more, unless perchance you come again to tell me how he takes it.' And Viola departed, bidding the lady farewell by the name of Fair Cruelty. When she was gone, Olivia repeated the words, Above my fortunes, yet my state is well. I am a gentleman. And she said aloud: 'I will be sworn he is; his tongue, his face, his limbs, action, and spirit, plainly show he is a gentleman.' And then she wished Cesario was the duke; and perceiving the fast hold he had taken on her affections, she blamed herself for her sudden love: but the gentle blame which people lay upon their own faults has no deep root; and presently the noble lady Olivia so far forgot the inequality between her fortunes and those of this seeming page, as well as the maidenly reserve which is the chief ornament of a lady's character, that she resolved to court the love of young Cesario, and sent a servant after him with a diamond ring, under the pretence that he had left it with her as a present from Orsino. She hoped by thus artfully making Cesario a present of the ring, she should give him some intimation of her design; and truly it did make Viola suspect; for knowing that Orsino had sent no ring by her, she began to recollect that Olivia's looks and manner were expressive of admiration, and she presently guessed her master's mistress had fallen in love with her. 'Alas,' said she, 'the poor lady might as well love a dream. Disguise I see is wicked, for it has caused Olivia to breathe as fruitless sighs for me as I do for Orsino.'
Viola returned to Orsino's palace, and related to her lord the ill success of the negotiation, repeating the command of Olivia, that the duke should trouble her no more. Yet still the duke persisted in hoping that the gentle Cesario would in time be able to persuade her to show some pity, and therefore he bade him he should go to her again the next day. In the meantime, to pass away the tedious interval, he commanded a song which he loved to be sung; and he said: 'My good Cesario, when I heard that song last night, methought it did relieve my passion much. Mark it, Cesario, it is old and plain. The spinsters and the knitters when they sit in the sun, and the young maids that weave their thread with bone, chant this song. It is silly, yet I love it, for it tells of the innocence of love in the old times.'
Viola did not fail to mark the words of the old song, which in such true simplicity described the pangs of unrequited love, and she bore testimony in her countenance of feeling what the song expressed. Her sad looks were observed by Orsino, who said to her: 'My life upon it, Cesario, though you are so young, your eye has looked upon some face that it loves: has it not, boy?' 'A little, with your leave,' replied Viola. 'And what kind of woman, and of what age is she?' said Orsino. 'Of your age and of your complexion, my lord,' said Viola; which made the duke smile to hear this fair young boy loved a woman so much older than himself, and of a man's dark complexion; but Viola secretly meant Orsino, and not a woman like him.
When Viola made her second visit to Olivia, she found no difficulty in gaining access to her. Servants soon discover when their ladies delight to converse with handsome young messengers; and the instant Viola arrived, the gates were thrown wide open, and the duke's page was shown into Olivia's apartment with great respect; and when Viola told Olivia that she was come once more to plead in her lord's behalf, this lady said: 'I desired you never to speak of him again; but if you would undertake another suit, I had rather hear you solicit, than music from the spheres.' This was pretty plain speaking, but Olivia soon explained herself still more plainly, and openly confessed her love; and when she saw displeasure with perplexity expressed in Viola's face, she said: 'O what a deal of scorn looks beautiful in the contempt and anger of his lip! Cesario, by the roses of the spring, by maidhood, honour, and by truth, I love you so, that, in spite of your pride, I have neither wit nor reason to conceal my passion.' But in vain the lady wooed; Viola hastened from her presence, threatening never more to come to plead Orsino's love; and all the reply she made to Olivia's fond solicitation was, a declaration of a resolution Never to love any woman.
No sooner had Viola left the lady than a claim was made upon her valour. A gentleman, a rejected suitor of Olivia, who had learned how that lady had favoured the duke's messenger, challenged him to fight a duel. What should poor Viola do, who, though she carried a manlike outside, had a true woman's heart, and feared to look on her own sword?
When she saw her formidable rival advancing towards her with his sword drawn, she began to think of confessing that she was a woman; but she was relieved at once from her terror, and the shame of such a discovery, by a stranger that was passing by, who made up to them, and as if he had been long known to her, and were her dearest friend, said to her opponent: 'If this young gentleman has done offence, I will take the fault on me; and if you offend him, I will for his sake defy you.' Before Viola had time to thank him for his protection, or to inquire the reason of his kind interference, her new friend met with an enemy where his bravery was of no use to him; for the officers of justice coming up in that instant, apprehended the stranger in the duke's name, to answer for an offence he had committed some years before: and he said to Viola: 'This comes with seeking you': and then he asked her for a purse, saying: 'Now my necessity makes me ask for my purse, and it grieves me much more for what I cannot do for you, than for what befalls myself. You stand amazed, but be of comfort.' His words did indeed amaze Viola, and she protested she knew him not, nor had ever received a purse from him; but for the kindness he had just shown her, she offered him a small sum of money, being nearly the whole she possessed. And now the stranger spoke severe things, charging her with ingratitude and unkindness. He said: 'This youth, whom you see here, I snatched from the jaws of death and for his sake alone I came to Illyria, and have fallen into this danger.' But the officers cared little for hearkening to the complaints of their prisoner, and they hurried him off, saying: 'What is that to us?' And as he was carried away, he called Viola by the name of Sebastian, reproaching the supposed Sebastian for disowning his friend, as long as he was within hearing. When Viola heard herself called Sebastian, though the stranger was taken away too hastily for her to ask an explanation, she conjectured that this seeming mystery might arise from her being mistaken for her brother; and she began to cherish hopes that it was her brother whose life this man said he had preserved. And so indeed it was. The stranger, whose name was Antonio, was a sea-captain. He had taken Sebastian up into his ship, when, almost exhausted with fatigue, he was floating on the mast to which he had fastened himself in the storm. Antonio conceived such a friendship for Sebastian, that he resolved to accompany him whithersoever he went; and when the youth expressed a curiosity to visit Orsino's court, Antonio, rather than part from him, came to Illyria, though he knew, if his person should be known there, his life would be in danger, because in a sea-fight he had once dangerously wounded the duke Orsino's nephew. This was the offence for which he was now made a prisoner.
Antonio and Sebastian had landed together but a few hours before Antonio met Viola. He had given his purse to Sebastian, desiring him to use it freely if he saw anything he wished to purchase, telling him he would wait at the inn, while Sebastian went to view the town; but Sebastian not returning at the time appointed, Antonio had ventured out to look for him, and Viola being dressed the same, and in face so exactly resembling her brother, Antonio drew his sword (as he thought) in defence of the youth he had saved, and when Sebastian (as he supposed) disowned him and denied him his own purse, no wonder he accused him of ingratitude.
Viola, when Antonio was gone, fearing a second invitation to fight, slunk home as fast as she could. She had not been long gone, when her adversary thought he -saw her return; but it was her brother Sebastian, who happened to arrive at this place, and he said: 'Now, sir, have I met with you again? There's for you'; and struck him a blow. Sebastian was no coward; he returned the blow with interest, and drew his sword.
A lady now put a stop to this duel, for Olivia came out of the house, and she too mistaking Sebastian for Cesario, invited him to come into her house, expressing much sorrow at the rude attack he had met with. Though Sebastian was as much surprised at the courtesy of this lady as at the rudeness of his unknown foe, yet he went very willingly into the house, and Olivia was delighted to find Cesario (as she thought him) become more sensible of her attentions; for though their features were exactly the same, there was none of the contempt and anger to be seen in his face, which she had complained of when she told her love to Cesario.
Sebastian did not at all object to the fondness the lady lavished on him. He seemed to take it in very good part, yet he wondered how it had come to pass, and he was rather inclined to think Olivia was not in her right senses; but perceiving that she was mistress of a fine house, and that she ordered her affairs and seemed to govern her family discreetly, and that in all but her sudden love for him she appeared in the full possession of her reason, he well approved of the courtship; and Olivia finding Cesario in this good humour, and fearing he might change his mind, proposed that, as she had a priest in the house, they should be instantly married. Sebastian assented to this proposal; and when the marriage ceremony was over, he left his lady for a short time, intending to go and tell his friend Antonio the good fortune that he had met with. In the meantime Orsino came to visit Olivia: and at the moment he arrived before Olivia's house, the officers of justice brought their prisoner, Antonio, before the duke. Viola was with Orsino, her master; and when Antonio saw Viola, whom he still imagined to be Sebastian, he told the duke in what manner he had rescued this youth from the perils of the sea; and after fully relating all the kindness he had really shown to Sebastian, he ended his complaint with saying, that for three months, both day and night, this ungrateful youth had been with him. But now the lady Olivia coming forth from her house, the duke could no longer attend to Antonio's story; and he said: 'Here comes the countess: now Heaven walks on earth! but for thee, fellow, thy words are madness. Three months has this youth attended on me': and then he ordered Antonio to be taken aside. But Orsino's heavenly countess soon gave the duke cause to accuse Cesario as much of ingratitude as Antonio had done, for all the words he could hear Olivia speak were words of kindness to Cesario: and when he found his page had obtained this high place in Olivia's favour, he threatened him with all the terrors of his just revenge; and as he was going to depart, he called Viola to follow him, saying: 'Come, boy, with me. My thoughts are ripe for mischief.' Though it seemed in his jealous rage he was going to doom Viola to instant death, yet her love made her no longer a coward, and she said she would most joyfully suffer death to give her master ease. But Olivia would not so lose her husband, and she cried: 'Where goes my Cesario?' Viola replied: 'After him I love more than my life.' Olivia, however, prevented their departure by loudly proclaiming that Cesario was her husband, and sent for the priest, who declared that not two hours had passed since he had married the lady Olivia to this young man. In vain Viola protested she was not married to Olivia; the evidence of that lady and the priest made Orsino believe that his page had robbed him of the treasure he prized above his life. But thinking that it was past recall, he was bidding farewell to his faithless mistress, and the young dissembler, her husband, as he called Viola, warning her never to come in his sight again, when (as it seemed to them) a miracle appeared! for another Cesario entered, and addressed Olivia as his wife. This new Cesario was Sebastian, the real husband of Olivia; and when their wonder had a little ceased at seeing two persons with the same face, the same voice, and the same habit, the brother and sister began to question each other; for Viola could scarce be persuaded that her brother was living, and Sebastian knew not how to account for the sister he supposed drowned being found in the habit of a young man. But Viola presently acknowledged that she was indeed Viola, and his sister, under that disguise.
When all the errors were cleared up which the extreme likeness between this twin brother and sister had occasioned, they laughed at the lady Olivia for the pleasant mistake she had made in falling in love with a woman; and Olivia showed no dislike to her exchange, when she found she had wedded the brother instead of the sister.
The hopes of Orsino were for ever at an end by this marriage of Olivia, and with his hopes, all his fruitless love seemed to vanish away, and all his thoughts were fixed on the event of his favourite, young Cesario, being changed into a fair lady. He viewed Viola with great attention, and he remembered how very -handsome he had always thought Cesario was, and he concluded she would look very beautiful in a woman's attire; and then he remembered how often she had said she loved him, which at the time seemed only the dutiful expressions of a faithful page; but now he guessed that something more was meant, for many of her pretty sayings, which were like riddles to him, came now into his mind, and he no sooner remembered all these things than he resolved to make Viola his wife; and he said to her (he still could not help calling her Cesario and boy): 'Boy, you have said to me a thousand times that you should never love a woman like to me, and for the faithful service you have done for me so much beneath your soft and tender breeding, and since you have called me master so long, you shall now be your master's mistress, and Orsino's true duchess.'
Olivia, perceiving Orsino was making over that heart, which she had so ungraciously rejected, to Viola, invited them to enter her house, and offered the assistance of the good priest, who had married her to Sebastian in the morning, to perform the same ceremony in the remaining part of the day for Orsino and Viola. Thus the twin brother and sister were both wedded on the same day: the storm and shipwreck, which had separated them, being the means of bringing to pass their high and mighty fortunes. Viola was the wife of Orsino, the duke of Illyria, and Sebastian the husband of the rich and noble countess, the lady Olivia.
SONGCome 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 strewn:Not a friend, not a friend greetMy poor corpse, where my bones shall be thrown.A thousand thousand sighs to save, lay me O whereSad true lover never find my grave, to weep there!
THE CHANGING ROLE IN VIOLA/CESARIO IN THE TWELFTH NIGHTIn Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night", it is clearly evident that thefluctuation in attitude to the dual role and situation and tribulationsimposed upon the character of Viola/Cesario ends up in a betterunderstanding of both sexes, and thus, allows Viola to have a betterunderstanding for Orsino. Near the opening of the play, when Viola isadopting her male identity, she creates another self, like two masks andmay decide to wear one or the other while swinging between the twoidentities in emotion and in character. She decides to take on thisidentity because she has more freedom in society in her Cesario mask, whichis evident when she is readily accepted by Orsino, whereas, in her femaleidentity she would not be. Thus, a customary role in society and to theoutlooks of others is portrayed.Orsino sees Cesario, as a young squire just starting out in the world,much like himself as a young, spry lad, so he has a tendency to be morewilling to unload onto her with his troubles and sorrows, seeking acompanion with which to share and to teach. Thus, Viola grows in her maledisguise to get a better feeling for his inner self, not the self that heshows to the public, or would reveal and share with Viola in her truefemale self, but rather his secret self, as he believes he shares with apeer. So, she grows to love him. But, Orsino's motivation is actually notlove for Viola, but rather he seems to be in love with love itself. Hisentire world is filled with love but he knows that there might be a turningpoint for him, like when he says:If music be the food of love, play on; give meexcess of it, that, surfeiting, the appetite maysicken, and so die. 1. (I,I,I-III)This quote shows that he knows that he is so caught up in "love", that hehopes his appetite for love may simmer when he takes more than he canhandle.1. Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night. Longman's Canada Limited, DonMills, Ontario, 1961. All subsequent quotes are from this edition.Near the end of the play, when all tricks and treacheries are revealedand all masks are lifted, Orsino "falls" in love with Viola. He firstforgives her/him of her/his duty to him, the master; then says that sheshall now be her master's mistress:Your master quits you; and for your servicedone him, so much against the mettle of yoursex, so far beneath your soft and tenderbreeding, and since you call'd me master forso long, here is my hand. You shall fromthis time be your master's mistress. (V,I,322-327)This is sort of a switching love as he thought he was in love with Oliviain the beginning, but, he readily switches his love to Viola, as he feelshe knows her personality well.As for Viola, she declares her love for Orsino many times, as if bysaying that she would love him if she were a lady. When Orsino first sendsCesario to act as a messenger and send Orsino's love to Olivia, Cesarioproclaims:I'll do my best to woo your lady; [aside] yet, a barful strife! Whoe'er I woo,myself would be his wife. (I,IV, 40-42)This shows that Viola knows what a difficult situation that she is in, andthat she might try to woo her out of loving Orsino, so that she might havehim for herself; except there is a slight, unexpected twist of fate...After Cesario leaves from Olivia's, she declares:"What is your parentage?" "Above my fortunes, yet my state is well; I am a gentleman." I'llbe sworn thou art. Thy tongue, thy face, thy limbs, and spirit, do give thee five-fold blazon.Not too fast: soft, soft! Unless the master werethe man. How now! Even so quickly may one catchthe plague? Methinks I feel this youth's per-fections with an invisible and subtle stealth tocreep in at mine eyes. Well, let it be. What ho, Malvolio! (I,V, 289-298)Olivia, is thinking back to her question to Cesario, and his response toit. Then she replies to Cesario's response, to herself, thinking abouthim. She agrees with his response, then goes over his many delightfulfeatures, and wonders how she so quickly has caught the plague of love foryoung Cesario. She decides that it is her feeling towards his youthfulperfections that creep into her heart and to her eyes. Then she agreeswith her decision, and sends for Malvolio, in hope that he may recallCesario, so that she may talk with him again. Olivia feels a strongpassionate love for Cesario, even though it was love at first sight forher. Cesario presented (himself) very magnificently and left a lastingimpression in Olivia's mind.The next time that Cesario came by, Olivia declared:Cesario, by the roses of the spring, by maid-hood, honour, truth and everything, I love thee so, that, maugre all thy pride, nor witnor reason can my passion hide. (III,I,145-148)This verifies that Olivia is profoundly in love with Cesario, despite allhis pride. But, Cesario does not possess the same sentiments for Olivia ashe says:By innocence I swear, and by my youth, I have one heart, one bosom and one truth, And thatno woman has; nor never none shall mistress be of it, save I alone. And so adieu, good madam. (III,I,153-157)Here, Viola tells Olivia that she could never love her, nor any other womanbecause she only has one love (to Orsino) and is loyal. But, Olivia isstill in love, and requests that Cesario return.Overall, Viola learns that in the role of Cesario she had to be quickon her feet, and defend the probing questions and statements as to her loveand others love for her. As well she acquired the skill to bide her time,until the time was right, lest she reveal her true self or intentions.
Twelfth Night - Analysis of Fools A fool can be defined in many meanings according to theOxford English Dictionary On Historical Principles. The wordcould mean "a silly person", or "one who professionallycounterfeits folly for the entertainment of others, a jester,clown" or "one who has little or no reason or intellect" or"one who is made to appear to be a fool" (word originated fromNorth Frisian). In english literature, the two main ways whichthe fool could enter imaginative literature is that "He couldprovide a topic, a theme for mediation, or he could turn into astock character on the stage, a stylized comic figure". InWilliam Shakespeare's comedy, Twelfth Night, Feste the clown isnot the only fool who is subject to foolery. He and many othercharacters combine their silly acts and wits to invade othercharacters that "evade reality or rather realize a dream", while"our sympathies go out to those". "It is natural that the foolshould be a prominent & attractive figure and make an importantcontribution to the action" in forming the confusion and thehumor in an Elizabethan drama. In Twelfth Night, the clown andthe fools are the ones who combine humor & wit to make the comedywork. Clowns, jesters, and Buffoons are usually regarded as fools. Their differences could be of how they dress, act or portrayed insociety. A clown for example, "was understood to be a country bumpkin or 'cloun'". In Elizabethan usage, the word 'clown' isambiguous "meaning both countryman and principal comedian". Another meaning given to it in the 1600 is "a fool or jester". As for a buffoon, it is defined as "a man whose profession is tomake low jests and antics postures; a clown, jester, fool". The buffoon is a fool because "although he exploits his ownweaknesses instead of being exploited by others....he resemblesother comic fools". This is similar to the definition of a'Jester' who is also known as a "buffoon, or a merry andrew. Onemaintained in a prince's court or nobleman's household". Asyou can see, the buffoon, jester and the clown are all depictedas fools and are related & tied to each other in some sort ofway. They relatively have the same objectives in their roles butin appearance wise (clothes, physical features) they may bedifferent. In Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, Feste's role in thisIllyrian comedy is significant because "Illyria is a countrypermeated with the spirit of the Feast of Fools, where identitiesare confused, 'uncivil rule' applauded...and no harm is done". "In Illyria therefore the fool is not so much a critic of hisenvironment as a ringleader, a merry-companion, a Lord ofMisrule. Being equally welcome above and below stairs.." makesFeste significant as a character. In Twelfth Night, Feste playsthe role of a humble clown employed by Olivia's father playingthe licensed fool of their household. We learn this in Olivia'sstatement stating that Feste is "an allowed fool"(I.v.93) meaninghe is licensed, privileged critic to speak the truth of the people around him. We also learn in a statement by Curio to theDuke that Feste is employed by Olivia's father. "Feste thejester... a fool that the Lady Olivia's father took much pleasurein"(II.iv.11). Feste is more of the comic truth of the comedy. Although hedoes not make any profound remarks, he seems to be the wisestperson within all the characters in the comedy. Viola remarksthis by saying "This fellow's wise enough to play thefool"(III.i.61). Since Feste is a licensed fool, his main rolein Twelfth Night is to speak the truth. This is where the humorlies, his truthfulness. In one example he proves Olivia to be atrue fool by asking her what she was mourning about. The pointFeste tried to make was why was Olivia mourning for a personwho's soul is in heaven? "CLOWN Good madonna, why mourn'st thou?OLIVIA Good Fool, for my brother's death.CLOWN I think his soul is in hell, madonna.OLIVIA I know his soul is in heaven, fool.CLOWN The more fool, madonna, to mourn for your brother's soul, being in heaven. Take away the fool,gentlemen.Adding to the humor of the comedy, Feste, dresses up as Sir Topaz, the curate and visits the imprisoned Malvolio with Maria and Sir Toby. There he uses his humor to abuse Malvolio who is still unaware that he is actually talking to the clown than to the real Sir Topas. Feste (disguised as Sir Topaz) calls Malvolio a "lunatic" (IV.ii.23), "satan"(IV.ii.32) and confuses him by wittingly making him a fool. Throughout the play, Malvolio has always been the person whointentionally spoils the pleasure of other people(killjoy). He is Feste's worst nightmare in the play, but in the end is triumphed over by Feste completely and is the only character to show a negative attitude and a dignity reversed. "MALVOLIO: I'll be revenged on the whole pack of you!" (V.i.378) At the end of the comedy, Feste, "is given the last word and is left in possession of the stage".Maria, Olivia's companion is another person who seems enthusiastic in playing pranks on other people. In Twelfth Night, she plays the unsuspecting role of a behind the scene fool who gives ideas to Feste, Sir Andrew & Sir Toby to assist her in her plans. In two incidents, she remains quiet while her plans are carried out by either the Knights or the Clown. Part of the humor that lies in this comedy is that Maria's pranks are harsh & cruel, using love and power (status of Olivia)to attack Malvolio, steward of Olivia, who is "....sick of self love"(I.v.90). For this, Malvolio's greed for power ends himself locked up in a dark cell and is accused of being mad.She also prepares Feste to disguise as Sir Topaz. This is seen in the quote: "Nay,I prithee put on this gown and this beard; make him believe thou are Sir Topas the curate; do it quickly. I'll call Sir Toby the whilst." (IV.ii.1,2,3) Combined with otherfools, Maria helps make Twelfth Night a hilariously funny comedy.Lastly, Sir Toby Belch is another fool in Twelfth Night. His role is helping "on the game of make-believe". Always convincing & encouraging the rich Sir Andrew Aguecheek that he has a chance of winning Lady Olivia's love. He is similar to Feste, except he plays the role of a knight and is Olivia's kinsman. His role is similar to a fool because he depicts many pranks of a fool. For example in Act II scene iii, while he was drunk he sings along with Feste when Malvolio barges in to shut them up. Whenever there is a prank, Maria invites Sir Toby toparticipate. One such prank was to assist Maria's fake letter to make Malvolio think Olivia is in love with him. Sir Toby's make-believe scheme works convincingly on Malvolio. Another prank was to accompany the disguised Feste (Sir Topaz) into the dark cell where Malvolio was imprisoned. This accompaniment was probably to assure Malvolio that the real Sir Topaz is visiting him. Yet it is another make-believe schemeof Sir Toby. In Twelfth Night, the fools are the ones that control the comedy and humor in the play. They assist in the make believe game and fool around with characters who "evade reality or ratherrealize a dream". In Twelfth Night, Feste, Maria and Sir Toby are the fools that make the comedy work in many senses. They create the confusion through humor and it all works out in the end to make William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night a really funny Elizabethan play.
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