List iconTwelfth Night:
Act 1, scene 1
List icon

Twelfth Night
Act 1, scene 1



Characters in the Play

Entire Play

Twelfth Night—an allusion to the night of festivity preceding the Christian celebration of the Epiphany—combines love, confusion, mistaken identities, and…

Act 1, scene 1

At his court, Orsino, sick with love for the Lady Olivia, learns from his messenger that she is grieving for…

Act 1, scene 2

On the Adriatic seacoast, Viola, who has been saved from a shipwreck in which her brother may have drowned, hears…

Act 1, scene 3

At the estate of Lady Olivia, Sir Toby Belch, Olivia’s kinsman, has brought in Sir Andrew Aguecheek to be her…

Act 1, scene 4

At Orsino’s court, Viola, disguised as a page and calling herself Cesario, has gained the trust of Orsino, who decides…

Act 1, scene 5

Viola, in her disguise as Cesario, appears at Olivia’s estate. Olivia allows Cesario to speak with her privately about Orsino’s…

Act 2, scene 1

A young gentleman named Sebastian, who has recently been saved from a shipwreck in which his sister has been lost,…

Act 2, scene 2

Malvolio finds the disguised Viola and “returns” the ring. Viola, alone, realizes that Olivia has fallen in love with Cesario…

Act 2, scene 3

At Olivia’s estate, Toby, Andrew, and the Fool hold a late night party. Maria comes in to quiet them, followed…

Act 2, scene 4

Orsino asks for a song to relieve his love-longing. In conversation about the capacities for love in men and in…

Act 2, scene 5

Maria lays her trap for Malvolio by placing her forged letter in his path. From their hiding place, Toby, Andrew,…

Act 3, scene 1

Viola (as Cesario), on her way to see Olivia, encounters first the Fool and then Sir Toby and Sir Andrew….

Act 3, scene 2

Sir Andrew, convinced that Olivia will never love him, threatens to leave. Sir Toby persuades him that he can win…

Act 3, scene 3

Antonio, having followed Sebastian, explains the incident in his past that keeps him from safely venturing into the streets of…

Act 3, scene 4

Malvolio, dressed ridiculously and smiling grotesquely, appears before an astonished Olivia. Thinking him insane, she puts him in the care…

Act 4, scene 1

The Fool encounters Sebastian, whom he mistakes for Cesario. When Sir Andrew and Sir Toby attack Sebastian, the Fool fetches…

Act 4, scene 2

Under directions from Sir Toby, the Fool disguises himself as a parish priest and visits the imprisoned Malvolio. In his…

Act 4, scene 3

While Sebastian is sure that neither he nor Olivia is insane, he is amazed by the wonder of his new…

Act 5, scene 1

Orsino, at Olivia’s estate, sends the Fool to bring Olivia to him. Antonio is brought in by officers and he…

Include links to:

Quill icon
Scene 1
Enter Orsino, Duke of Illyria, Curio, and other Lords,
with Musicians playing.

 If music be the food of love, play on.
 Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
 The appetite may sicken and so die.
 That strain again! It had a dying fall.
5 O, it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound
 That breathes upon a bank of violets,
 Stealing and giving odor. Enough; no more.
 ’Tis not so sweet now as it was before.
 O spirit of love, how quick and fresh art thou,
10 That, notwithstanding thy capacity
 Receiveth as the sea, naught enters there,
 Of what validity and pitch soe’er,
 But falls into abatement and low price
 Even in a minute. So full of shapes is fancy
15 That it alone is high fantastical.
 Will you go hunt, my lord?
ORSINO  What, Curio?
CURIO  The hart.
 Why, so I do, the noblest that I have.
20 O, when mine eyes did see Olivia first,

Twelfth Night
ACT 1. SC. 2

 Methought she purged the air of pestilence.
 That instant was I turned into a hart,
 And my desires, like fell and cruel hounds,
 E’er since pursue me.

Enter Valentine.

25 How now, what news from her?
 So please my lord, I might not be admitted,
 But from her handmaid do return this answer:
 The element itself, till seven years’ heat,
 Shall not behold her face at ample view,
30 But like a cloistress she will veilèd walk,
 And water once a day her chamber round
 With eye-offending brine—all this to season
 A brother’s dead love, which she would keep fresh
 And lasting in her sad remembrance.
35 O, she that hath a heart of that fine frame
 To pay this debt of love but to a brother,
 How will she love when the rich golden shaft
 Hath killed the flock of all affections else
 That live in her; when liver, brain, and heart,
40 These sovereign thrones, are all supplied, and filled
 Her sweet perfections with one self king!
 Away before me to sweet beds of flowers!
 Love thoughts lie rich when canopied with bowers.
They exit.