home contact

Twelfth Night

Please see the bottom of the page for full explanatory notes and helpful resources.

 [Enter OLIVIA and MARIA] 
OLIVIA I have sent after him: he says he'll come; 
 How shall I feast him? what bestow of him? 
 For youth is bought more oft than begg'd or borrow'd. 
 I speak too loud.
 Where is Malvolio? he is sad and civil, 
 And suits well for a servant with my fortunes: 
 Where is Malvolio? 
MARIA He's coming, madam; but in very strange manner. He 
 is, sure, possessed, madam.
OLIVIA Why, what's the matter? does he rave? 10
MARIA No. madam, he does nothing but smile: your 
 ladyship were best to have some guard about you, if 
 he come; for, sure, the man is tainted in's wits. 
OLIVIA Go call him hither.
 [Exit MARIA] 
 I am as mad as he, 
 If sad and merry madness equal be. 
 [Re-enter MARIA, with MALVOLIO] 
 How now, Malvolio! 
MALVOLIO Sweet lady, ho, ho. 
OLIVIA Smilest thou?
 I sent for thee upon a sad occasion. 19
MALVOLIO Sad, lady! I could be sad: this does make some 
 obstruction in the blood, this cross-gartering; but

 what of that? if it please the eye of one, it is 
 with me as the very true sonnet is, 'Please one, and
 please all.' 
OLIVIA Why, how dost thou, man? what is the matter with thee? 
MALVOLIO Not black in my mind, though yellow in my legs. It 
 did come to his hands, and commands shall be 
 executed: I think we do know the sweet Roman hand.
OLIVIA Wilt thou go to bed, Malvolio? 
MALVOLIO To bed! ay, sweet-heart, and I'll come to thee. 30
OLIVIA God comfort thee! Why dost thou smile so and kiss 
 thy hand so oft! 
MARIA How do you, Malvolio?
MALVOLIO At your request! yes; nightingales answer daws. 
MARIA Why appear you with this ridiculous boldness before my lady? 
MALVOLIO 'Be not afraid of greatness:' 'twas well writ. 
OLIVIA What meanest thou by that, Malvolio? 
MALVOLIO 'Some are born great,'--
MALVOLIO 'Some achieve greatness,'-- 
OLIVIA What sayest thou? 
MALVOLIO 'And some have greatness thrust upon them.' 
OLIVIA Heaven restore thee!
MALVOLIO 'Remember who commended thy yellow stockings,'-- 
OLIVIA Thy yellow stockings! 
MALVOLIO 'And wished to see thee cross-gartered.' 
OLIVIA Cross-gartered! 
MALVOLIO 'Go to thou art made, if thou desirest to be so;'--
OLIVIA Am I made? 50
MALVOLIO 'If not, let me see thee a servant still.' 
OLIVIA Why, this is very midsummer madness. 
 [Enter Servant] 
Servant Madam, the young gentleman of the Count Orsino's is 
 returned: I could hardly entreat him back: he
 attends your ladyship's pleasure. 
OLIVIA I'll come to him. 
 [Exit Servant] 
 Good Maria, let this fellow be looked to. Where's 
 my cousin Toby? Let some of my people have a special 
 care of him: I would not have him miscarry for the
 half of my dowry. 59
 [Exeunt OLIVIA and MARIA] 
MALVOLIO O, ho! do you come near me now? no worse man than 
 Sir Toby to look to me! This concurs directly with 
 the letter: she sends him on purpose, that I may 
 appear stubborn to him; for she incites me to that
 in the letter. 'Cast thy humble slough,' says she; 
 'be opposite with a kinsman, surly with servants; 
 let thy tongue tang with arguments of state; put 
 thyself into the trick of singularity;' and 
 consequently sets down the manner how; as, a sad
 face, a reverend carriage, a slow tongue, in the 
 habit of some sir of note, and so forth. I have 
 limed her; but it is Jove's doing, and Jove make me 
 thankful! And when she went away now, 'Let this 
 fellow be looked to:' fellow! not Malvolio, nor
 after my degree, but fellow. Why, every thing 
 adheres together, that no dram of a scruple, no 
 scruple of a scruple, no obstacle, no incredulous 
 or unsafe circumstance--What can be said? Nothing 
 that can be can come between me and the full
 prospect of my hopes. Well, Jove, not I, is the 
 doer of this, and he is to be thanked. 77
 [Re-enter MARIA, with SIR TOBY BELCH and FABIAN] 
SIR TOBY BELCH Which way is he, in the name of sanctity? If all 
 the devils of hell be drawn in little, and Legion 
 himself possessed him, yet I'll speak to him.
FABIAN Here he is, here he is. How is't with you, sir? 
 how is't with you, man? 
MALVOLIO Go off; I discard you: let me enjoy my private: go 
MARIA Lo, how hollow the fiend speaks within him! did not
 I tell you? Sir Toby, my lady prays you to have a 
 care of him. 
MALVOLIO Ah, ha! does she so? 
SIR TOBY BELCH Go to, go to; peace, peace; we must deal gently 
 with him: let me alone. How do you, Malvolio? how
 is't with you? What, man! defy the devil: 
 consider, he's an enemy to mankind. 92
MALVOLIO Do you know what you say? 
MARIA La you, an you speak ill of the devil, how he takes 
 it at heart! Pray God, he be not bewitched!
FABIAN Carry his water to the wise woman. 
MARIA Marry, and it shall be done to-morrow morning, if I 
 live. My lady would not lose him for more than I'll say. 
MALVOLIO How now, mistress! 
SIR TOBY BELCH Prithee, hold thy peace; this is not the way: do 
 you not see you move him? let me alone with him.
FABIAN No way but gentleness; gently, gently: the fiend is 
 rough, and will not be roughly used. 
SIR TOBY BELCH Why, how now, my bawcock! how dost thou, chuck?
SIR TOBY BELCH Ay, Biddy, come with me. What, man! 'tis not for 
 gravity to play at cherry-pit with Satan: hang 
 him, foul collier! 
MARIA Get him to say his prayers, good Sir Toby, get him to pray. 110
MALVOLIO My prayers, minx! 
MARIA No, I warrant you, he will not hear of godliness. 
MALVOLIO Go, hang yourselves all! you are idle shallow 
 things: I am not of your element: you shall know 
 more hereafter.
SIR TOBY BELCH Is't possible? 
FABIAN If this were played upon a stage now, I could 
 condemn it as an improbable fiction. 
SIR TOBY BELCH His very genius hath taken the infection of the device, man. 
MARIA Nay, pursue him now, lest the device take air and taint. 121
FABIAN Why, we shall make him mad indeed. 
MARIA The house will be the quieter. 
SIR TOBY BELCH Come, we'll have him in a dark room and bound. My 
 niece is already in the belief that he's mad: we 
 may carry it thus, for our pleasure and his penance,
 till our very pastime, tired out of breath, prompt 
 us to have mercy on him: at which time we will 
 bring the device to the bar and crown thee for a 
 finder of madmen. But see, but see. 
 [Enter SIR ANDREW] 
FABIAN More matter for a May morning. 130
SIR ANDREW Here's the challenge, read it: warrant there's 
 vinegar and pepper in't. 
FABIAN Is't so saucy? 
SIR ANDREW Ay, is't, I warrant him: do but read. 
 'Youth, whatsoever thou art, thou art but a scurvy fellow.' 
FABIAN Good, and valiant. 
SIR TOBY BELCH [Reads] 'Wonder not, nor admire in thy mind, 
 why I do call thee so, for I will show thee no reason for't.' 
FABIAN A good note; that keeps you from the blow of the law. 141
SIR TOBY BELCH [Reads] 'Thou comest to the lady Olivia, and in 
 sight she uses thee kindly: but thou liest in thy
 throat; that is not the matter I challenge thee for.' 
FABIAN Very brief, and to exceeding good sense--less. 
SIR TOBY BELCH [Reads] 'I will waylay thee going home; 
 where if it be thy chance to kill me,'-- 
FABIAN Good. 148
SIR TOBY BELCH [Reads] 'Thou killest me like a rogue and a villain.' 
FABIAN Still you keep o' the windy side of the law: good.
SIR TOBY BELCH [Reads] 'Fare thee well; and God have mercy 
 upon one of our souls! He may have mercy upon mine; but 
 my hope is better, and so look to thyself. Thy 
 friend, as thou usest him, and thy sworn enemy, 
 If this letter move him not, his legs cannot:
 I'll give't him. 
MARIA You may have very fit occasion for't: he is now in 
 some commerce with my lady, and will by and by depart. 
SIR TOBY BELCH Go, Sir Andrew: scout me for him at the corner the 
 orchard like a bum-baily: so soon as ever thou seest
 him, draw; and, as thou drawest swear horrible; for 
 it comes to pass oft that a terrible oath, with a 
 swaggering accent sharply twanged off, gives manhood 
 more approbation than ever proof itself would have 
 earned him. Away! 164
SIR ANDREW Nay, let me alone for swearing. 
SIR TOBY BELCH Now will not I deliver his letter: for the behavior 
 of the young gentleman gives him out to be of good 
 capacity and breeding; his employment between his 
 lord and my niece confirms no less: therefore this
 letter, being so excellently ignorant, will breed no 
 terror in the youth: he will find it comes from a 
 clodpole. But, sir, I will deliver his challenge by 
 word of mouth; set upon Aguecheek a notable report 
 of valour; and drive the gentleman, as I know his
 youth will aptly receive it, into a most hideous 
 opinion of his rage, skill, fury and impetuosity. 
 This will so fright them both that they will kill 
 one another by the look, like cockatrices. 177
 [Re-enter OLIVIA, with VIOLA] 
FABIAN Here he comes with your niece: give them way till
 he take leave, and presently after him. 
SIR TOBY BELCH I will meditate the while upon some horrid message 
 for a challenge. 
OLIVIA I have said too much unto a heart of stone 
 And laid mine honour too unchary out:
 There's something in me that reproves my fault; 
 But such a headstrong potent fault it is, 
 That it but mocks reproof. 
VIOLA With the same 'havior that your passion bears 
 Goes on my master's grief.
OLIVIA Here, wear this jewel for me, 'tis my picture; 
 Refuse it not; it hath no tongue to vex you; 190
 And I beseech you come again to-morrow. 
 What shall you ask of me that I'll deny, 
 That honour saved may upon asking give?
VIOLA Nothing but this; your true love for my master. 
OLIVIA How with mine honour may I give him that 
 Which I have given to you? 
VIOLA I will acquit you. 
OLIVIA Well, come again to-morrow: fare thee well:
 A fiend like thee might bear my soul to hell. 
 [Re-enter SIR TOBY BELCH and FABIAN] 
SIR TOBY BELCH Gentleman, God save thee. 
VIOLA And you, sir.
SIR TOBY BELCH That defence thou hast, betake thee to't: of what 
 nature the wrongs are thou hast done him, I know
 not; but thy intercepter, full of despite, bloody as 
 the hunter, attends thee at the orchard-end: 
 dismount thy tuck, be yare in thy preparation, for 
 thy assailant is quick, skilful and deadly. 
VIOLA You mistake, sir; I am sure no man hath any quarrel
 to me: my remembrance is very free and clear from 
 any image of offence done to any man. 
SIR TOBY BELCH You'll find it otherwise, I assure you: therefore, 
 if you hold your life at any price, betake you to 
 your guard; for your opposite hath in him what
 youth, strength, skill and wrath can furnish man withal. 212
VIOLA I pray you, sir, what is he? 
SIR TOBY BELCH He is knight, dubbed with unhatched rapier and on 
 carpet consideration; but he is a devil in private 
 brawl: souls and bodies hath he divorced three; and
 his incensement at this moment is so implacable, 
 that satisfaction can be none but by pangs of death 
 and sepulchre. Hob, nob, is his word; give't or take't. 
VIOLA I will return again into the house and desire some 
 conduct of the lady. I am no fighter. I have heard
 of some kind of men that put quarrels purposely on 
 others, to taste their valour: belike this is a man 
 of that quirk. 223
SIR TOBY BELCH Sir, no; his indignation derives itself out of a 
 very competent injury: therefore, get you on and
 give him his desire. Back you shall not to the 
 house, unless you undertake that with me which with 
 as much safety you might answer him: therefore, on, 
 or strip your sword stark naked; for meddle you 
 must, that's certain, or forswear to wear iron about you.
VIOLA This is as uncivil as strange. I beseech you, do me 
 this courteous office, as to know of the knight what 
 my offence to him is: it is something of my 
 negligence, nothing of my purpose. 
SIR TOBY BELCH I will do so. Signior Fabian, stay you by this
 gentleman till my return. 
VIOLA Pray you, sir, do you know of this matter? 
FABIAN I know the knight is incensed against you, even to a 
 mortal arbitrement; but nothing of the circumstance more. 240
VIOLA I beseech you, what manner of man is he?
FABIAN Nothing of that wonderful promise, to read him by 
 his form, as you are like to find him in the proof 
 of his valour. He is, indeed, sir, the most skilful, 
 bloody and fatal opposite that you could possibly 
 have found in any part of Illyria. Will you walk
 towards him? I will make your peace with him if I 
VIOLA I shall be much bound to you for't: I am one that 
 had rather go with sir priest than sir knight: I 
 care not who knows so much of my mettle. 250
 [Re-enter SIR TOBY BELCH, with SIR ANDREW] 
SIR TOBY BELCH Why, man, he's a very devil; I have not seen such a 
 firago. I had a pass with him, rapier, scabbard and 
 all, and he gives me the stuck in with such a mortal 
 motion, that it is inevitable; and on the answer, he 
 pays you as surely as your feet hit the ground they
 step on. They say he has been fencer to the Sophy. 
SIR ANDREW I'll not meddle with him. 
SIR TOBY BELCH Ay, but he will not now be pacified: Fabian can 
 scarce hold him yonder. 259
SIR ANDREW Plague on't, an I thought he had been valiant and so
 cunning in fence, I'ld have seen him damned ere I'ld 
 have challenged him. Let him let the matter slip, 
 and I'll give him my horse, grey Capilet. 
SIR TOBY BELCH I'll make the motion: stand here, make a good show 
 on't: this shall end without the perdition of souls.
 Marry, I'll ride your horse as well as I ride you. 
 [Re-enter FABIAN and VIOLA] 
 I have his horse to take up the quarrel: 
 I have persuaded him the youth's a devil. 
FABIAN He is as horribly conceited of him; and pants and 
 looks pale, as if a bear were at his heels. 270
SIR TOBY BELCH [To VIOLA] There's no remedy, sir; he will fight 
 with you for's oath sake: marry, he hath better 
 bethought him of his quarrel, and he finds that now 
 scarce to be worth talking of: therefore draw, for 
 the supportance of his vow; he protests he will not hurt you. 
VIOLA [Aside] Pray God defend me! A little thing would 
 make me tell them how much I lack of a man.
FABIAN Give ground, if you see him furious. 
SIR TOBY BELCH Come, Sir Andrew, there's no remedy; the gentleman 
 will, for his honour's sake, have one bout with you; 
 he cannot by the duello avoid it: but he has 
 promised me, as he is a gentleman and a soldier, he
 will not hurt you. Come on; to't. 283
SIR ANDREW Pray God, he keep his oath! 
VIOLA I do assure you, 'tis against my will. 
 [They draw] 
 [Enter ANTONIO] 
ANTONIO Put up your sword. If this young gentleman 
 Have done offence, I take the fault on me:
 If you offend him, I for him defy you. 
SIR TOBY BELCH You, sir! why, what are you? 
ANTONIO One, sir, that for his love dares yet do more 290
 Than you have heard him brag to you he will. 
SIR TOBY BELCH Nay, if you be an undertaker, I am for you.
 [They draw] 
 [Enter Officers] 
FABIAN O good Sir Toby, hold! here come the officers. 
SIR TOBY BELCH I'll be with you anon. 
VIOLA Pray, sir, put your sword up, if you please. 
SIR ANDREW Marry, will I, sir; and, for that I promised you, 
 I'll be as good as my word: he will bear you easily
 and reins well. 
First Officer This is the man; do thy office. 
Second Officer Antonio, I arrest thee at the suit of Count Orsino. 301
ANTONIO You do mistake me, sir. 
First Officer No, sir, no jot; I know your favour well,
 Though now you have no sea-cap on your head. 
 Take him away: he knows I know him well. 
ANTONIO I must obey. [To Viola] 
 This comes with seeking you: 
 But there's no remedy; I shall answer it.
 What will you do, now my necessity 
 Makes me to ask you for my purse? It grieves me 
 Much more for what I cannot do for you 310
 Than what befalls myself. You stand amazed; 
 But be of comfort.
Second Officer Come, sir, away. 
ANTONIO I must entreat of you some of that money. 
VIOLA What money, sir? 
 For the fair kindness you have show'd me here, 
 And, part, being prompted by your present trouble,
 Out of my lean and low ability 
 I'll lend you something: my having is not much; 
 I'll make division of my present with you: 320
 Hold, there's half my coffer. 
ANTONIO Will you deny me now?
 Is't possible that my deserts to you 
 Can lack persuasion? Do not tempt my misery, 
 Lest that it make me so unsound a man 
 As to upbraid you with those kindnesses 
 That I have done for you.
VIOLA I know of none; 
 Nor know I you by voice or any feature: 
 I hate ingratitude more in a man 
 Than lying, vainness, babbling, drunkenness, 
 Or any taint of vice whose strong corruption 330
 Inhabits our frail blood. 
ANTONIO O heavens themselves! 
Second Officer Come, sir, I pray you, go. 
ANTONIO Let me speak a little. This youth that you see here 
 I snatch'd one half out of the jaws of death,
 Relieved him with such sanctity of love, 
 And to his image, which methought did promise 
 Most venerable worth, did I devotion. 
First Officer What's that to us? The time goes by: away! 
ANTONIO But O how vile an idol proves this god
 Thou hast, Sebastian, done good feature shame. 340
 In nature there's no blemish but the mind; 
 None can be call'd deform'd but the unkind: 
 Virtue is beauty, but the beauteous evil 
 Are empty trunks o'erflourish'd by the devil.
First Officer The man grows mad: away with him! Come, come, sir. 
ANTONIO Lead me on. 
 [Exit with Officers] 
VIOLA Methinks his words do from such passion fly, 
 That he believes himself: so do not I. 
 Prove true, imagination, O, prove true,
 That I, dear brother, be now ta'en for you! 350
SIR TOBY BELCH Come hither, knight; come hither, Fabian: we'll 
 whisper o'er a couplet or two of most sage saws. 
VIOLA He named Sebastian: I my brother know 
 Yet living in my glass; even such and so
 In favour was my brother, and he went 
 Still in this fashion, colour, ornament, 
 For him I imitate: O, if it prove, 
 Tempests are kind and salt waves fresh in love. 
SIR TOBY BELCH A very dishonest paltry boy, and more a coward than
 a hare: his dishonesty appears in leaving his 
 friend here in necessity and denying him; and for 
 his cowardship, ask Fabian. 362
FABIAN A coward, a most devout coward, religious in it. 
SIR ANDREW 'Slid, I'll after him again and beat him.
SIR TOBY BELCH Do; cuff him soundly, but never draw thy sword. 
SIR ANDREW An I do not,-- 
FABIAN Come, let's see the event. 
SIR TOBY BELCH I dare lay any money 'twill be nothing yet. 

Next: Twelfth Night, Act 4, Scene 1


Explanatory Notes for Act 3, Scene 4

From Twelfth Night Or What You Will. Ed. Kenneth Deighton. London: Macmillan.

1. he says he'll come, Warburton, who is followed by some edd., takes this to mean, suppose he says he'll come.

2. How ... him? What kind of banquet shall I prepare for him? What kind of feast will he be likely to appreciate? What ... him? What present shall I make him? For of = on, see Abb. § 175.

3. For youth ... borrow'd, for youth (young persons) is more often won over by gifts than by fair words or promises.

4. I ... loud, i.e, there is a danger of my being overheard.

5. sad and civil, grave and decorous of manner; for sad = grave, serious, cp. M. A. i. 1. 185, "Speak you this with a sad brow?"

6. with my fortunes, of one in such sorrow as myself.

9. possessed, i.e. by an evil spirit, as frequently in Shakespeare.

11, 2. your ladyship were best, for this ungrammatical remnant of ancient usage, see Abb. § 230: if he come, in case he should come; subjunctive.

13. tainted in's wits, diseased in his mind, not quite in his right senses; for tainted cp. above, iii. 1. 75.

15. If sad ... be, if a sorrowful madness, such as mine, is as much madness as a merry madness, such as his.

19. I sent ... occasion, I sent for you about a matter of a sad nature.

20. I could be sad, I could easily be sad, though I smile so much.

20, 1. this does ... cross-gartering, this fashion of cross-gartering prevents a healthy circulation of the blood, and so disposes me to sadness.

21, 2. but what of that, but never mind that, that does not matter.

22, 3. if it please ... all, if it pleases the eyes of her whom it is intended to please, that is enough for me, for, as the ballad says, by pleasing her I please all whom I have any wish to please; Please one ... all, the title and burthen of an old ballad which may be found in full in Staunton's Shakespeare.

24. how dost thou, how are you? what is your state?

26. Not black ... legs. Not black-hearted, cruel, in my mind, though, etc.; probably with an allusion to the effect produced by tight ligatures.

27. It did ... executed, the letter came into my hands, and the commands contained in it shall be obeyed; Malvolio fancies he is cleverly putting the idea into such enigmatical language that Olivia alone will understand the hidden meaning.

28. the sweet Roman hand, the delicate Italian handwriting.

31. comfort thee, have mercy upon you in this delusion of yours: kiss thy hand, by way of salutation; cp. Oth. ii. 1. 175, "it had been better you had not kissed your three fingers so oft, which now again you are most apt to play the sir in," i.e. display your courtly manners, as Malvolio here fancies he is doing.

34. At your ... daws. What! am I to answer the question when asked by such as you? yes, I will, for nightingales sometimes answer the notes of jackdaws, and therefore I may without loss of dignity answer the question of a mere servant like Maria.

35. with ... boldness, with this fantastic assurance.

44. Heaven restore thee! i.e to your right senses.

50. Am I made? Am I a made woman? see note on. ii. 5. 138

52. very ... madness, attributing to the dog days, the hottest days of summer, that effect upon men which they sometimes produce upon dogs.

54. I could ... back, it was with the greatest difficulty I could induce him to return. For the omission of the verb of motion, see Abb. §§ 30, 41. he attends ... pleasure, he waits to know what you wish of him.

57. be looked to, be taken care of, as one not fit to take care of himself.

58. my people, my servants, retainers, cp. i. 5. 96.

58, 9. I would ... dowry, I would rather lose half my dowry than that any evil should befal him.

60. do you... now? "do you understand me now? do you know who I am?" (Wright): no worse man, no meaner person.

61. concurs directly, is entirely in accordance with.

67. consequently, thereafter, in continuation of her instructions; cp. K. J. iv. 2. 240, "Yea, without stop, didst let my heart consent. And consequently thy rude hand to act The deed."

67-9. as, a sad ... forth, telling me, for instance, that I should wear a serious look, should carry myself with a grave air, be slow of speech, after the fashion of some person of distinction, and other things of the same purport; for habit, cp. M. A. iv. 1. 229, "And every lovely organ of her life Shall come apparell'd in more precious habit."

69. I have limed her, I have caught her by my various attractions as birds are caught by bird-lime; cp. M. A. iii. 1. 104, "She's limed, I warrant you; we have caught her, madam."

71, 2. fellow! not Malvollo, taking the word which Olivia had used with careless contempt, in the sense more complimentary to himself of 'companion,' a sense common at the time.

72. after my degree, in accordance with my position as steward; for after, in this sense, see Abb. § 141.

73. adheres together, coheres, is of a piece: that no ... scruple, so that not the very smallest particle; with a play upon the word scruple in its two senses of a minute weight and of a slight doubt; scruple, " — F. scruple 'a little sharp stone falling into a man's shoe, and hindering his gate [gait]; also a scruple, doubt, fear, difficulty, care, trouble of conscience; also a scruple, a weight amounting unto the third part of a dram;' Cot. — Lat. scrupulum, acc. of scrupulus, a small sharp stone. Dimin. of scrupus a sharp stone ..." (Skeat, Ety. Dict.). For the play upon the word, cp. ii. H. IV. i. 2. 149, "but how I should be your patient to follow your prescriptions, the wise may make some dram of a scruple, or indeed a scruple itself."

74. no incredulous ... cirumstance, no utterly unexpected or dangerous circumstance (can stand in my way); for adjectives used both actively and passively, see Abb. § 3.

75. What can be said? He breaks off for want of words to express his complete assurance: Nothing ... hopes, I may say in a word that nothing can ever happen to interrupt the complete realization of those hopes which I now see so plainly before me.

78. Which way is he? whereabouts is he?

79. be drawn in little, be represented in the small compass of this one fellow; cp. Haml. ii. 2. 384, "his picture in little," i.e. in miniature: Legion, an allusion to Christ's cure of the man possessed of devils, Mark v. 9, "For he [Christ] said unto him, Come out of the man thou unclean spirit. And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, My name is Legion: for we are many."

83. I discard you, I dismiss you from my presence; Malvolio's affectation of a haughty style in being "opposite with a kinsman": discard, lit. to throw away, get rid of, a useless card, one of no value in the game; cp. i. H. IV, iv. 2. 30, "discarded unjust serving-men": my private, my privacy; another piece of affectation; "in private," i.e. when a person is alone, is common enough in Shakespeare, but he does not elsewhere use "my private."

86. how hollow, with what a hollow voice.

86, 7. have a care of him, take care of him; not, as the phrase more usually means, "beware of him."

89. Go to, pretending to rebuke Maria for jesting at Malvolio's infirmity.

90. let me alone, leave me to deal with him.

91. defy the devil, an allusion to James iv. 7, "Resist the devil, and he will flee from thee." he's an ... mankind, cp. Macb. iii. 1, 69, "and mine eternal jewel [i.e. soul] Given to the common enemy of man.

94. La you, see for yourself; an exclamation once frequent: at heart, to heart, as we now say.

96. for more ... say, for more money than I can say, i.e. for anything.

100. you move him, excite him.

101. No way but gentleness, the only way of dealing with him to any purpose is to be gentle with him.

102. and will ... used, refuses to submit to rough treatment.

103. my bawcock! my fine fellow; Fr. beau coq; fine cock; cp. H. V. iii. 2. 26, "Good bawcock, bate thy rage; use lenity, sweet chuck."

104. chuck, another burlesque term of endearment, chicken, of which word it is a variant.

106. Ay, Biddy ... me, Ritson suggests that these words formed part of an old song; Malone says that Come, Bid, come, are words of endearment used by children to chickens and other domestic fowl.

106, 7. What, man ... Satan: why, man! it is not suitable for a man of your dignified character to play at games with Satan, i.e. to be on familiar terms with him: cherry-pit, "is pitching cherry stones into a little hole. Nash speaking of the paint on ladies' faces, says, 'you may play at cherry-pit in their cheeks'"... (Steevens).

107, 8. foul collier, the devil is likened by Sir Toby to a collier because of his blackness. Johnson quotes the proverb, "Like will to like (as the Devil said to the Collier)."

111. minx, you pert monkey.

112. No, I ... godliness. Ah, I was sure he would not have anything to do with godliness; said with pretended pity for his indignant repudiation of their being any necessity for him to say his prayers.

114. I am ... element, I belong to a higher sphere of existence than you; see note on iii. 1. 51: hereafter, darkly hinting at the lofty position to which he is destined, and the treatment they will receive at his hands when he has attained to it.

118, 9. His very ... device, our stratagem has been so successful that his whole nature is infected with the disease we desired to put upon him; cp. M. A. ii. 3. 126, "He hath ta'en the infection: hold it up," said in the case of the stratagem employed to make Benedick believe that Beatrice is in love with him.

120, 1. Nay, ... taint, well, but follow him up now and see what he does, lest our stratagem become known and so be spoilt: in take air and taint, there is also the idea of infection from unwholesome air; cp. Cymb. i. 2. 1-5, "Sir, I would advise you shift a shirt; the violence of action hath made you reek as a sacrifice: where air comes out, air comes in; there's none abroad so wholesome as that you vent."

123. the quieter, all the quieter and more pleasant to live in when free from his fussy interference.

124. we'll have ... hound, we will see that he is shut up in a dark room and bound; the treatment formerly employed in the case of lunatics; cp. A. Y. L. iii. 2. 421, "Love is merely a madness, and, I tell you, deserves as well a dark house and a whip as madmen do."

125, 6. we may ... thus, we may in this way follow up our plot till, etc.: for carry it, cp. H. VIII. i. 2. 134, "he'll carry it so To make the sceptre his."

126-8. till our ... him, till even our amusement, being so tired as to be quite out of breath, quite exhausted with its complete success, lead us, etc.

128, 9. at which ... thee, and then we will bring your device to the bar of public opinion, for the verdict to be passed upon it, and will have you crowned (figuratively), as the victors in tournaments were crowned with chaplets.

129. a ... madmen, as a finder, etc., carrying on the metaphor in verdict, and referring to the inquests held for the 'finding of madmen,' i.e. for proving men to be mad.

130. More ... morning, here is more matter for such amusement as befits the first of May, when all kinds of fantastic revelry were common in England.

132. vinegar and pepper, plenty of tart and angry language.

133 so saucy, so pungent, highly spiced.

134. him, the person challenged, Cesario; dative case, I give my word to him that, etc.

138. admire, be astonished; cp. Temp. v. 1. 154, "At this encounter do so much admire That they devour their reason."

140. A good ... law. A good remark, a saving clause that protects you from legal consequences.

143. but thou ... throat, to lie in the throat was worse than to lie from the lips. Staunton on ii. H. IV. i. 2. 94, quotes from a curious old Italian treatise on War and the Duello a passage in which the different gradations of giving the lie are enumerated as the simple "Thou liest"; then, "Thou liest in the throat"; "Thou liest in the throat like a rogue; Thou liest in the throat like a rogue as thou art," the last being an insult which could not be passed by without a challenge to combat. Of course here the adversative but has no connection with what has gone before, the sentence being put in this inconsequent way in obedience to Sir Toby's instructions, iii. 2. 40, 1, "and as many lies as will lie in thy sheet of paper," etc. , the whole letter being as Fabian says immediately afterwards "Very brief, and to exceeding good sense-less."

145. and to, and according to.

160. Still you ... law. By not saying 'like a rogue and a villain as thou art,' you still keep on the safe side of the law; cp. M. A. ii. 1. 327, "Don Pedro. In faith, lady, you have a merry heart. Beat. Yea, my lord: I thank it, poor fool, it keeps on the windy side of care," explained by Schmidt as = "so that care cannot scent and find it. "

152, 3. He may ... better, it may be that I shall fall in the duel, and then it will be for Him to have mercy on my soul. But I hope that it will be not I but you who will fall, and therefore need His mercy.

153. and so ... thyself, and therefore, feeling so confident as to what will be the result of the duel, I advise you to be well prepared for my attack, which will be one not easily warded off.

154. as thou usest him, according as you treat him: thy friend, would be the ordinary conclusion to a letter, and Sir Andrew retains the form, qualifying it by as thou usest him, and adding the contradictory words and thy sworn enemy.

155. move him not, does not stir him to action.

156. You may ... for't, you will, if you choose to take it, find a very good opportunity for delivering the letter.

156, 7. is now ... commerce, is now engaged in an interview with; cp. Haml. iii. 1. 110, "Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce than with honesty?": by and by, very shortly.

159, 60. scout me ... bum-baily, let me see you watch for him, lie in wait for him, like a bum-bailiff; cp. The Old Law, iii. 1. 172-4, "you are a bailiff, whose place is to come behind other men, as it were in the bum of all the rest." Theobald altered baily into 'bailiff,' but, as Rolfe remarks, the blunder was no doubt intentional: for me, see Abb. § 220.

161. horrible, horribly; see Abb. § 2.

161-4. for it comes ... him, for it often happens that a terrible, fierce, oath, accompanied by a boastful and sharp tone of voice, wins for a man more belief in his valour than he would have obtained even by proving it in action: to 'twang,' to sound with a sharp, resonant, noise like that given out by the string of a string-instrument, is a collateral form of 'tang,' which we had above, ii. 5. 135, "tang arguments of state." It was by his oaths that Bobadil in Jonson's Every Man in his Humour obtained his reputation for valour.

165. let me ... swearing, trust me for swearing terribly enough.

167. gives him out, proclaims him, shows him.

168. breeding, education.

169, 70. so ... ignorant, so delightfully, inimitably, foolish.

171, a clodpole, a blockhead, one whose head (brains) is nothing but a lump of earth; in Lear i. 4. 51, we have the form clot-poll, which in Cymb. iv. 2. 184, is used contemptuously for the head itself.

172, 3. set upon ... valour, bestow upon, ascribe to, Sir Andrew a high reputation for valour.

173, 4. as I know ... it, for I know his youth (he who is so young) will be very ready to believe it: a most hideous opinion, a most fearful conception.

177. cockatrices, the cockatrice, or basilisk, was an imaginary animal, with the body of a serpent and the head of a cock, believed to be hatched from a cock's egg by a serpent, and to kill by its looks; cp. R. J. iii. 2. 47, "The death-darting eye of cockatrice."

178. give them ... him, leave them to themselves, leave them alone, till he departs, and then at once follow Cesario.

180. the while, for the time, in the meantime.

182, 3. I have ... out, I have said more than it was well to say to one whose heart is as hard as a stone, and have been recklessly prodigal of my honour; 'chary,' careful, cautious, is the adj. of 'care'; for laid out = expended, cp. Cymb. ii. 3. 92, "You lay out too much pains For purchasing but trouble."

185, 6. But such ... reproof, but it is such a wilful and stubborn fault that reproof is wasted upon it.

187, 8. With the ... grief, my master's grief continues to express itself with a force as great as your passionate love.

189. Jewel, was formerly used of any precious ornament, e.g. of a ring in Cymb. i. 4. 165, of a bracelet, i. 6. 189.

190. it hath ... vex you, it cannot tease you with proffers of love, as I, its owner, have done.

192, 3. What shall ... give, what is there (i.e. there is nothing) in the world that you can ask which I shall refuse, provided only that honour may, when asked, grant it without sacrificing itself? upon asking, upon the asking, when the request is made.

195. with mine honour, without forfeiting my honour.

196. acquit you, discharge you of that obligation, not ask you to fulfil it.

198. A fiend ... hell, a fiend, if as handsome and as fascinating as you, might easily drag my soul down to hell.

201. That defence ... to 't; for the omission of the relative, see Abb. § 244, and for the repetition of the object, § 243.

203. thy intercepter, he who is lying in wait for you, sc. Sir Andrew: despite, malice, wrath: attends thee, is waiting for you.

204. dismount thy tuck, unsheath your rapier; according to Schmidt, the expression is from the removing of cannon from their carriages, a word which Wright points out is used in the affected language of Osric for the hangers or straps by which the rapier was attached to the sword belt, Haml. v. 2. 158, "three of the carriages in faith are very dear to fancy, very responsive to the hilts, most delicate carriages, and of very liberal conceit": tuck, a small rapier, "an Italian word, but borrowed through the French. ... Ital. stocco, 'a truncheon, a tuck, a short sword,' Florio" ... (Skeat, Ety. Dict.): yare, dexterous, ready; a word frequent in Shakespeare, who also uses the adverb 'yarely,' Temp. i. 1. 4; A. C. ii. 2. 216.

205. deadly, fatal in his skill.

207. to me, with me.

207, 8. my remembrance ... man, my memory is quite clear of any wrong done by me to any man; the metaphor is from a looking-glass.

210. if you ... price, if you at all value your life.

211. your opposite, your antagonist; as in iii. 2. 57.

212. withal, with; when used as a preposition always in Shakespeare at the end of the sentence.

214, 5. He is knight ... consideration, "he is no soldier by profession, not a knight banneret, dubbed in the field of battle, but on carpet consideration, at a festivity, or on some peaceable occasion, when knights receive their dignity kneeling, not on the ground, as in war, but on a carpet. This, I believe, the origin of the contemptuous term a carpet knight, who was naturally held in contempt by the men of war" (Johnson). On carpet consideration seems, however, to mean in consideration of services in the drawing-room, the squiring of dames, to which Bertram refers in A. W. ii. 1. 30-3, "I shall stay here" (i.e. at court, while other young lords have gone to the war), "the forehorse to a smock, Creaking my shoes on the plain masonry. Till honour be bought up and no sword worn but one to dance with": dubb'd, to 'dub' is to confer knighthood by a stroke on the shoulder; the origin of the word is doubtful: unhatch'd, if the right reading, is probably the same as 'unhacked,' a sword worn in peace, more for ornament than for use, and so not hacked as one used in battle would be; Dyce follows Pope in reading 'unhacked.'

216. three, for the transposition of the adj., see Abb. § 419.

216-8. and his ... sepulchre, and his wrath at this moment is so unappeasable that nothing short of your death can satisfy him; by his big words Sir Toby is trying to frighten Cesario.

218. Hob, nob. "The same as Habbe or Nabbe, have or not have, hit or miss. 'The citizens in their rage ... shot Habbe or Nabbe at random.' Holinshed" (Staunton).

219. give 't or take 't, either kill me or be killed yourself.

221. conduct, escort; cp. K. J. i. 1. 29; H. V. i. 2. 297.

222. put quarrels ... others, force quarrels on, etc.

222, 3. to taste, to make trial of; "cp. T. C. i. 3. 337, where the metaphor is kept up: 'For here the Trojans taste our dear'st repute With their finest palate'" (Wright): of that quirk, of that capricious humour; cp. Per, iv. 6. 8, "she has me her quirks, reasons"; orig. a cavil, subtle question.

224. his indignation ... injury, his wrath has its origin in some very sufficient injury done to him, some injury fully justifying his demand for satisfaction.

225, 6. give ... desire, meet him in combat as he desires.

226-8. unless ... him, unless you are prepared to give me that satisfaction in combat which you might as safely give him.

228. strip ... naked, i.e. to fight with me.

229. for meddle ... you, for mix yourself up in this matter, by fighting one or other of us, you must, or for the future give up the wearing of a sword and confess yourself a coward.

231. This is ... strange, this behaviour of yours is equally rude and unintelligible to me.

232. this courteous office, this civility: to know, to ascertain, inquire; cp. Oth. v. 1. 117, "Go, know of Cassio where he supp'd to-night."

233. 4. it is ... purpose, whatever my ofifence may be, it is in some way due to negligence, not at all to intention.

238, 9. even to ... arbitrement, to such a degree that nothing less than mortal combat can decide the matter.

242. Nothing ... valour, judging by his appearance there is nothing in him that would lead you to expect such a terrible fellow as you will find him when you make trial of his valour.

248. much bound, greatly obliged.

249. with sir ... knight, with the priest to the altar than with the knight to the battle; see note on iv. 2. 2.

250. my mettle, my disposition, nature; the same word as 'metal,' the latter spelling being employed with the word in its literal, the former in its figurative, sense.

252, firago. Sir Toby's pronunciation of 'virago,' a shrewish, hot-tempered, scolding, woman: a pass, an exchange of thrusts: rapiers ... all, with our rapiers sheathed.

253, 4. he gives ... inevitable, he puts in the stoccado with such a deadly precision that it is impossible for one to parry it: stuck, a corruption of 'stoccado' or 'stoccata,' an Italian term for a particular kind of thrust; cp. Haml. iv. 7. 162, "If he by chance escape your venom'd stuck. "

254, 5. and on ... on, and when you meet him with the proper parry, he hits you with as much certainty as that with which your feet touch the ground in walking.

256. Sophy, see note on ii. 5. 162.

257. meddle with him, have anything to do with him in the way of quarrel.

258. he will ... pacified, now that you have once challenged him, he refuses to be appeased without the matter being decided by combat.

261. so ... fence, so skilful with his weapon.

262. Let him ... slip, if he will only let the matter pass without further notice.

264. motion, proposition, suggestion: make ... on't, appear brave and determined.

266. I'll ride ... you. I will make use of your horse just as I make use of you. Sir Toby having got the horse to give to Cesario by way of peace-offering, intends to keep it for himself.

267. to take ... quarrel, as a means of making up the quarrel; cp. A. Y. L. v. 4. 104, "I knew when seven justices could not take up a quarrel"; T. A. iv. 3. 92, "to take up a matter of brawl." The metaphor is from taking up a dropped stitch in knitting, etc., and so making the fabric whole again.

269. He is as ... him, he (Cesario) has just the same apprehension of him (Sir Andrew).

270. as if ... heels, as though he were pursued by a bear; the ferocity of bears is frequently referred to by Shakespeare.

271. he will fight, he is determined to fight.

272-4. for's oath's ...of; because he has sworn to do so, not on account of any injury you have done him; for, as to that, he finds on second thoughts that it is a matter of no importance: for the ... vow, in order to afford him the means of upholding, acting up to, his vow.

277. how much ... man, how far I am from being a man.

278. Give ground, give way, fall back.

280. one bout, one exchange of thrusts: bout, "properly a turn, turning, bending ... Dan. bugt a bend, turn" ... (Skeat, Ety. Dict.): so we say 'take a turn' at anything.

281. the duello, in accordance with the laws, observances, of duelling; which were laid down in various treatises, chiefly Italian, with the greatest minuteness.

281, 2. as he ... soldier, on his character as, pledging himself by his honour as, etc.

284. he keep, that he may keep; subjunctive.

287. I take ... me, I will be responsible for it, will undertake to answer for his offence.

288. If you ... you, if on the other hand it is you who are the first offender, I on his behalf defy you, challenge you to combat.

290. for his love, out of love for him: his, obj. genitive.

291. Than you ... will, than anything he has boasted he will do to you, if he has so boasted.

292. if you ... you, if you be one who takes up the quarrels of others, one who offers himself as ready to fight in behalf of one of the two parties, I am ready to meet you: in the only other passage in which Shakespeare uses "undertaker," Oth. iv. 1. 224, "let me be his undertaker" the word means one who undertakes to put a man out of the way, to murder him.

294. anon, immediately; "- A.S. on an lit. in one moment ..." (Skeat, Ety. Dict.).

296, 7. for that ... word, as for the promise I made you through Sir Toby, I will heep my word, i.e. send you my horse, Capilet.

298. reins well, readily obeys the rein; has 'a good mouth,' as we say.

299. thy office, i.e. of arresting him.

300. at the suit, on the petition made by Orsino before the court; 'at the suit of' so and so, is the form of words used by a bailiff when arresting a debtor.

303. no Jot, not in the least: your favour, your appearance; "'In beauty,' says Bacon in his 43rd Essay, 'that of favour is more than that of colour; and that of decent and gracious motion more than that of favour.' The word is now lost to us in that sense; but we still use favoured with well, ill, and perhaps other qualifying terms, for featured or looking; as in Gen. xli. 4, — 'The ill-favoured and lean-fleshed kine did eat up the seven well- favoured and fat kine'" ... (Craik, Engl. of Shakespeare § 54).

304. have no sea-cap, i.e. are not dressed as a sailor. Wright points out that the sailor's cap of the period, according to Fairolt in Halliwell's folio edition, was of fur, or lined with fur.

306. This comes ... you, this is the result of, etc.: for with, in this sense, see Abb. § 193.

307. I shall answer it, I shall have to meet the charge.

308, 9. now my ... purse, now that my circumstances compel me to, etc. It grieves me, for the frequency of impersonal verbs in Shakespeare, see Abb. § 297.

311. amazed, bewildered what to do.

312. be of comfort, be comforted, do not distress yourself: of comfort, of the nature, quality, of comfort; cp. Temp. i. 2. 495, "Be of comfort; my father's of a better nature, sir, than he appears by speech."

316. For ... kindness, in return for the friendliness.

317. part, partly; cp. Oth. v. 2. 296, "This wretch hath part confessed his villany."

318. Out of ... ability, from the slender and poor means at my disposal.

319. my having, my possessions; cp. W. T. iv. 4. 740, "of what having"; A. Y. L. iii. 2. 396, "your having in beard": see Abb. § 5.

321. my coffer, my treasure, what I have in my purse; lit. a chest: deny me now, refuse me your assistance.

322,3. Is't possible ... persuasion? Is it possible that the services I have rendered you need to be enforced by arguments in order to persuade you to help me? my misery, a man in so wretched a position as mine; abst. for concr.

324. Lest that, for the conjunctional affix, see Abb. § 287: unsound, unworthy, wanting in nobleness of character.

327. know, recognize.

329. Than lying ... drunkenness, the folios omit the comma after babbling, and Rowe reads 'lying vainness, babbling drunkenness'; but though, as Wright objects, there is no climax or sequence in the four substantives, there seems to me a cumulative force which is lost by adopting Rowe's conjecture.

330, 1. Or any... blood, or any vicious taint that dwells in, and is powerful enough to corrupt, our weak natures: heavens themselves! He appeals to the very heavens in his astonishment at Cesario's want of loyalty towards him.

334. I snatch'd ... death, I saved when almost dead; I brought alive to shore when almost swallowed up by the waves.

335-7. Relieved ... devotion, helped him in his distress with such pure, unselfish love, and paid to his person, which seemed to give promise of worth deserving such reverence, the devotion which one would pay to the image of a saint; the words relieved ... love, seem merely an amplification of the previous line, though it has been suspected that a line is lost after love.

338. away, come away.

339. But ... god, but 0, what a miserable idol, a mere graven image, does that prove which I took for a god; cp. Temp. v. 1. 296, 7, "What a thrice-double ass Was I, to take this drunkard for a god, And worship this dull fool!"

340. Thou hast ... shame, you have cast a slur upon good looks; cp. Cymb. iii. 4. 63-6, "So thou, Posthumus, wilt lay the leaven on all proper men; Goodly and gallant shall be false and perjured From thy great fail," and H. V. ii. 2. 138-40.

341, 2. In nature ... unkind, in nature the only blemish, worthy of the name, is a blemish of the mind; the only real deformity is unnatural hardness of heart; with a play upon the word 'kind,' natural.

343, 4. Virtue ... devil, virtue and beauty are convertible terms; but those who are beauteous in person and yet evil in mind are but as empty trunks whose elaborate decoration is the work of the devil; an allusion to the finely carved trunks, chests, which in Shakespeare's time were used as pieces of furniture. Malone hyphens the word beauteous-evil; cp. "the proper false," ii. 2. 26: o'er-flourished, covered with flourishes, carvings in ornamental designs; not "varnished," as Schmidt explains.

347, 8. Methinks ... I. His words appear to be born of such strong feeling that the man believes what he says, viz., that he knew me before and rescued me from the sea; but I do not believe with him, i.e. I know that his belief is a mistaken one. Most editors seem to follow Johnson in explaining so do not I to mean that Viola does not believe herself when, from this accident, she gathers hope of Sebastian's being alive. For the former portion of the sentence, cp. a somewhat similar thought in Temp. I. 2. 99-103.

349, 50. Prove true ... you! May you, imagination (i.e. what I imagine), prove a reality, namely, that Antonio takes me for my brother; for the subjunctive in the subordinate sentence, see Abb. § 368.

351, 2. well whisper ... saws. Said in ridicule of Antonio's moralizing and Viola's soliloquizing; let us show that we also can talk in adages, be sententious: for whisper, used transitively, cp. R. II. ii. 4. 11, "And lean-look'd prophets whisper fearful change"; ii. H. IV. iv. 5. 3, "Unless some dull and favourable hand Will whisper music to my weary spirit."

353, 4. I my ... glass, this is generally taken to mean that Viola sees the living image of her brother as often as she looks in a mirror; it seems to me to mean rather 'I know my brother to be mirrored to the life in my person, in myself who am the glass'; cp. Haml, iii. 1. 161, "The glass of fashion," said of Hamlet, whose person reflected the highest fashion: for living, see Abb. § 249.

354-6. even such ... ornament, in appearance my brother was exactly (even such and so) like me, and he always used to dress in this fashion, in such colours, and with such ornaments about him: such = so like, is made more emphatic in identity by so: went, cp. M. A. v. 1. 96, "Go anticly"; v. 1. 203, "What a pretty thing man is when he goes in his doublet and hose, and leaves off his wit."

357. For ... imitate, for I have purposely dressed myself in imitation of him; said in order to account for her being so persistently taken for her brother: if it prove, i.e. so; for the omission of which word, see Abb. § 64.

358. Tempests ... love! Tempests, which are usually so unkind, are kind, and waves, by their nature salt, are fresh in their love, i.e. have, in giving up my brother, forgone their ordinary character.

359, 60. A very ... hare, a very dishonourable, mean-spirited, boy, and more of a coward than even a hare, that most timid of creatures.

360, 1. leaving... necessity, doing nothing to help him in his troubles, and even denying all knowledge of him: for his cowardship, as for his cowardice; though as cowardship, = cowardice, does not occur elsewhere in Shakespeare, it is probably to be taken here as a title conferred by Sir Toby upon Viola; see note on vi. 1. 35.

363. a most ... it, one who seems positively to worship cowardice.

364. 'Slid, God's lid, i.e. eyelid; so ''sblood,' ''slife,' etc., for God's blood, God's life, etc. I'll after, I'll go after.

368. I dare ... yet. I dare make any wager that nothing will come of it, i.e. that each will be so afraid of the other that there will be no fighting.

How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night Or What You Will. Ed. Kenneth Deighton. London: Macmillan, 1889. Shakespeare Online. 20 Dec. 2010. < >

More to Explore

 Twelfth Night: The Complete Play with Explanatory Notes
 Types of Shakespearean Comedy
 Exploring the Nature of Shakespearean Comedy
 Shakespeare's Second Period: Exploring Twelfth Night

 Twelfth Night: Plot Summary
 Introduction to Shakespeare's Malvolio
 Introduction to Shakespeare's Feste
 Spiritual Grace: An Examination of Viola from Twelfth Night
 The Comic Relief of Sir Toby Belch and Sir Andrew Aguecheek


Did You Know? ... From great classical authors like Ovid and Seneca, to English historians like Holinshed, Shakespeare's greatest influences were the works of other great writers. With the exception of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Love's Labour's Lost and The Tempest, which are wholly original stories, Shakespeare borrowed his plots, down to fine detail. Read on...


 Introduction to Shakespeare's Olivia
 Introduction to the Duke in Twelfth Night
 Twelfth Night: Q & A
 How to Pronounce the Names in Twelfth Night
 Shakespeare and Music


Points to Ponder ... "In this play we have to consider two distinct stories, that of Viola and that of Malvolio. The former, the plot, is written in verse; the characters are refined, and the whole theme is love, passionate, like the Duke's for Olivia, and Olivia's for Viola; self-sacrificing, like Viola's for the Duke; or immediate, like Sebastian's for Olivia.
The other element, the underplot, is a prose parody of the plot, and a contrast to it. The characters belong to a lower rank, and their humour is the rollicking jollity of the "alehouse." It is the story of the scheme of Maria, aided by Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and the clown, to punish Malvolio's domineering conduct by bringing his ambitious love to a ridiculous conclusion." J. Lees. (From his edition of Twelfth Night. Allman & Son.)


 Famous Quotations from Twelfth Night
 Shakespeare's Reputation in Elizabethan England
 Shakespeare's Impact on Other Writers
 Why Study Shakespeare?
 Shakespeare's Boss: The Master of Revels

 The Chronology of Shakespeare's Plays
 Establishing the Order of the Plays
 How Many Plays Did Shakespeare Write?
 Shakespeare Timeline

 Words Shakespeare Invented
 Quotations About William Shakespeare
 Portraits of Shakespeare

 Top 10 Shakespeare Plays
 Shakespeare's Metaphors and Similes
 Shakespeare's Blank Verse
 Edward Alleyn (Actor)