Twelfth Night

Plot/Summary Duke Orsino is in love with Lady Olivia, who is mourning the death of her brother and does not love him back. On the shores of Illyria, there is a terrible shipwreck and Viola has been separated from her twin brother, Sebastian, whom she believes is now dead. Viola decides to find some work and dresses up like a man named Cesario to go work for Duke Orsino. Cesario becomes the duke’s favorite and is sent as a page to deliver messages of love to Olivia. Viola starts to fall for Duke Orsino and Olivia begins to fall for Cesario. The people in Olivia’s house decide to play a prank on Malvolio to make him believe that Olivia is in love with him so they forge a letter in her hand and it forces Malvolio to do strange things. Sebastian is alive after all, and comes to Illyria with his friend, Antonio. Sir Andrew, who wants to marry Olivia, sees that she has fallen for Cesario and challenges him to a duel. The duel occurs between him and Sebastian instead, and when Olivia sees them she asks Sebastian (thinking he is Cesario) to marry her and he accepts. Antonio sees Cesario and Cesario denies knowing him and Antonio is taken away. When Cesario and Orsino arrive to Olivia’s place, she refers to Cesario as her husband and the duke feels betrayed but Cesario is confused. Sebastian appears and they realize that Cesario (Viola) and Sebastian are siblings and all is resolved.
Setting Illyria
Reading in class patterns in soliloquies, analysis of what has just happened, Viola (Cesario) – realizing that Olivia has fallen in love with him but not wanting it to be true in fear of betraying Orsino, Sebastian – trying to process the idea of an engagement/marriage with a complete stranger
Themes love as a cause of suffering, uncertainty of gender, folly of ambition
Viola young woman washed up on the shores of Illyria after her ship wrecked, disguises as a man named Cesario to find work at Duke Orsino’s palace, she ends up falling in love with him but cannot tell him because of her disguise
Orsino nobleman, Duke of Illyria, in love with Olivia but quickly grows fond of his new page, Cesario
Olivia beautiful noble lady of Illyria, mourning the death of her brother, being courted by Orsino and Sir Andrew, whom she refuses to marry for at least seven years because of her brother’s death, ends up falling in love with Cesario
Sebastian Viola’s lost twin brother, confused when people seem to know him upon reaching Illyria, ends up marrying Olivia because she thinks he is Cesario
Malvolio Lady Olivia’s head servant, has a very high level of self-righteousness, pesters the other household members about drinking and having fun, gets tricked into thinking Olivia is in love with him and ends up looking and acting like a fool
Feste the clown in Olivia’s household, goes between houses of Orsino and Olivia, earns his living by making pointed jokes, singing old songs, being generally witty, and offering good advice cloaked under a layer of foolishness, seems to be the wisest character
Sir Toby Olivia’s uncle who is trying to set her up with Sir Andrew Aguecheek, lives in the house and spends all of his time drinking and being loud, joins with Maria to pull the prank on Malvolio
Maria Olivia’s waiting-gentlewoman, very clever and daring, conjures up the plan to prank Malvolio with a forged letter from Olivia
Sir Andrew Aguecheek friend of Sir Toby, attempts to court Olivia
Antonio friend of Sebastian that saved him after he shipwrecked, becomes fond of Sebastian and follows him to Illyria, gives him money, seems to be romantically attracted to Sebastian