List iconTwelfth Night:
Act 2, scene 5
List icon

Twelfth Night
Act 2, scene 5



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…

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Scene 5
Enter Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and Fabian.

TOBY Come thy ways, Signior Fabian.
FABIAN Nay, I’ll come. If I lose a scruple of this sport,
 let me be boiled to death with melancholy.
TOBY Wouldst thou not be glad to have the niggardly
5 rascally sheep-biter come by some notable shame?
FABIAN I would exult, man. You know he brought me
 out o’ favor with my lady about a bearbaiting here.
TOBY To anger him, we’ll have the bear again, and we
 will fool him black and blue, shall we not, Sir
10 Andrew?
ANDREW An we do not, it is pity of our lives.

Twelfth Night
ACT 2. SC. 5

Enter Maria.

TOBY Here comes the little villain.—How now, my
 metal of India?
MARIA Get you all three into the boxtree. Malvolio’s
15 coming down this walk. He has been yonder i’ the
 sun practicing behavior to his own shadow this half
 hour. Observe him, for the love of mockery, for I
 know this letter will make a contemplative idiot of
 him. Close, in the name of jesting! They hide. Lie
20 thou there putting down the letter, for here comes
 the trout that must be caught with tickling.
She exits.

Enter Malvolio.

MALVOLIO ’Tis but fortune, all is fortune. Maria once
 told me she did affect me, and I have heard herself
 come thus near, that should she fancy, it should be
25 one of my complexion. Besides, she uses me with a
 more exalted respect than anyone else that follows
 her. What should I think on ’t?
TOBY, aside Here’s an overweening rogue.
FABIAN, aside O, peace! Contemplation makes a rare
30 turkeycock of him. How he jets under his advanced
ANDREW, aside ’Slight, I could so beat the rogue!
TOBY, aside Peace, I say.
MALVOLIO To be Count Malvolio.
TOBY, aside 35Ah, rogue!
ANDREW, aside Pistol him, pistol him!
TOBY, aside Peace, peace!
MALVOLIO There is example for ’t. The lady of the
 Strachy married the yeoman of the wardrobe.
ANDREW, aside 40Fie on him, Jezebel!
FABIAN, aside O, peace, now he’s deeply in. Look how
 imagination blows him.

Twelfth Night
ACT 2. SC. 5

MALVOLIO Having been three months married to her,
 sitting in my state—
TOBY, aside 45O, for a stone-bow, to hit him in the eye!
MALVOLIO Calling my officers about me, in my
 branched velvet gown, having come from a daybed
 where I have left Olivia sleeping—
TOBY, aside Fire and brimstone!
FABIAN, aside 50O, peace, peace!
MALVOLIO And then to have the humor of state; and
 after a demure travel of regard, telling them I
 know my place, as I would they should do theirs, to
 ask for my kinsman Toby—
TOBY, aside 55Bolts and shackles!
FABIAN, aside O, peace, peace, peace! Now, now.
MALVOLIO Seven of my people, with an obedient start,
 make out for him. I frown the while, and perchance
 wind up my watch, or play with my—some
60 rich jewel. Toby approaches; curtsies there to me—
TOBY, aside Shall this fellow live?
FABIAN, aside Though our silence be drawn from us
 with cars, yet peace!
MALVOLIO I extend my hand to him thus, quenching
65 my familiar smile with an austere regard of
TOBY, aside And does not Toby take you a blow o’ the
 lips then?
MALVOLIO Saying, “Cousin Toby, my fortunes, having
70 cast me on your niece, give me this prerogative of
TOBY, aside What, what?
MALVOLIO “You must amend your drunkenness.”
TOBY, aside Out, scab!
FABIAN, aside 75Nay, patience, or we break the sinews
 of our plot!
MALVOLIO “Besides, you waste the treasure of your
 time with a foolish knight—”

Twelfth Night
ACT 2. SC. 5

ANDREW, aside That’s me, I warrant you.
MALVOLIO 80“One Sir Andrew.”
ANDREW, aside I knew ’twas I, for many do call me
MALVOLIO, seeing the letter What employment have
 we here?
FABIAN, aside 85Now is the woodcock near the gin.
TOBY, aside O, peace, and the spirit of humors intimate
 reading aloud to him.
MALVOLIO, taking up the letter By my life, this is my
 lady’s hand! These be her very c’s, her u’s, and her
90 t’s, and thus she makes her great P’s. It is in
 contempt of question her hand.
ANDREW, aside Her c’s, her u’s, and her t’s. Why that?
MALVOLIO reads To the unknown beloved, this, and my
 good wishes
—Her very phrases! By your leave, wax.
95 Soft. And the impressure her Lucrece, with which
 she uses to seal—’tis my lady! He opens the letter.
 To whom should this be?
FABIAN, aside This wins him, liver and all.
 Jove knows I love,
100  But who?
 Lips, do not move;
  No man must know.

 “No man must know.” What follows? The numbers
 altered. “No man must know.” If this should be
105 thee, Malvolio!
TOBY, aside Marry, hang thee, brock!
 I may command where I adore,
  But silence, like a Lucrece knife,
 With bloodless stroke my heart doth gore;
110  M.O.A.I. doth sway my life.

FABIAN, aside A fustian riddle!
TOBY, aside Excellent wench, say I.

Twelfth Night
ACT 2. SC. 5

MALVOLIO “M.O.A.I. doth sway my life.” Nay, but first
 let me see, let me see, let me see.
FABIAN, aside 115What dish o’ poison has she dressed
TOBY, aside And with what wing the staniel checks
 at it!
MALVOLIO “I may command where I adore.” Why, she
120 may command me; I serve her; she is my lady. Why,
 this is evident to any formal capacity. There is no
 obstruction in this. And the end—what should that
 alphabetical position portend? If I could make that
 resemble something in me! Softly! “M.O.A.I.”—
TOBY, aside 125O, ay, make up that.—He is now at a cold
FABIAN, aside Sowter will cry upon ’t for all this,
 though it be as rank as a fox.
MALVOLIO “M”—Malvolio. “M”—why, that begins
130 my name!
FABIAN, aside Did not I say he would work it out? The
 cur is excellent at faults.
MALVOLIO “M.” But then there is no consonancy in
 the sequel that suffers under probation. “A” should
135 follow, but “O” does.
FABIAN, aside And “O” shall end, I hope.
TOBY, aside Ay, or I’ll cudgel him and make him cry
MALVOLIO And then “I” comes behind.
FABIAN, aside 140Ay, an you had any eye behind you, you
 might see more detraction at your heels than fortunes
 before you.
MALVOLIO “M.O.A.I.” This simulation is not as the
 former, and yet to crush this a little, it would bow
145 to me, for every one of these letters are in my name.
 Soft, here follows prose.
 He reads. If this fall into thy hand, revolve. In my
 stars I am above thee, but be not afraid of greatness.

Twelfth Night
ACT 2. SC. 5

 Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and
150 some have greatness thrust upon ’em. Thy fates open
 their hands. Let thy blood and spirit embrace them.
 And, to inure thyself to what thou art like to be, cast
 thy humble slough and appear fresh. Be opposite with
 a kinsman, surly with servants. Let thy tongue tang
155 arguments of state. Put thyself into the trick of singularity.
 She thus advises thee that sighs for thee.
 Remember who commended thy yellow stockings and
 wished to see thee ever cross-gartered. I say, remember.
 Go to, thou art made, if thou desir’st to be so. If
160 not, let me see thee a steward still, the fellow of
 servants, and not worthy to touch Fortune’s fingers.
 Farewell. She that would alter services with thee,
 The Fortunate-Unhappy.

 Daylight and champian discovers not more! This is
165 open. I will be proud, I will read politic authors, I
 will baffle Sir Toby, I will wash off gross acquaintance,
 I will be point-devise the very man. I do not
 now fool myself, to let imagination jade me; for
 every reason excites to this, that my lady loves me.
170 She did commend my yellow stockings of late, she
 did praise my leg being cross-gartered, and in this
 she manifests herself to my love and, with a kind of
 injunction, drives me to these habits of her liking. I
 thank my stars, I am happy. I will be strange, stout,
175 in yellow stockings, and cross-gartered, even with
 the swiftness of putting on. Jove and my stars be
 praised! Here is yet a postscript.
 He reads. Thou canst not choose but know who I
 am. If thou entertain’st my love, let it appear in thy
180 smiling; thy smiles become thee well. Therefore in my
 presence still smile, dear my sweet, I prithee.

 Jove, I thank thee! I will smile. I will do everything
 that thou wilt have me.He exits.

Twelfth Night
ACT 2. SC. 5

FABIAN I will not give my part of this sport for a
185 pension of thousands to be paid from the Sophy.
TOBY I could marry this wench for this device.
ANDREW So could I too.
TOBY And ask no other dowry with her but such
 another jest.
ANDREW 190Nor I neither.

Enter Maria.

FABIAN Here comes my noble gull-catcher.
TOBY Wilt thou set thy foot o’ my neck?
ANDREW Or o’ mine either?
TOBY Shall I play my freedom at tray-trip and become
195 thy bondslave?
ANDREW I’ faith, or I either?
TOBY Why, thou hast put him in such a dream that
 when the image of it leaves him he must run mad.
MARIA Nay, but say true, does it work upon him?
TOBY 200Like aqua vitae with a midwife.
MARIA If you will then see the fruits of the sport,
 mark his first approach before my lady. He will
 come to her in yellow stockings, and ’tis a color
 she abhors, and cross-gartered, a fashion she detests;
205 and he will smile upon her, which will now
 be so unsuitable to her disposition, being addicted
 to a melancholy as she is, that it cannot
 but turn him into a notable contempt. If you will
 see it, follow me.
TOBY 210To the gates of Tartar, thou most excellent devil
 of wit!
ANDREW I’ll make one, too.
They exit.