List iconTwelfth Night:
Act 3, scene 4
List icon

Twelfth Night
Act 3, scene 4



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 4
Enter Olivia and Maria.

OLIVIA, aside 
 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 begged or
5 I speak too loud.—
 Where’s 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.
10 He is sure possessed, madam.
OLIVIA Why, what’s the matter? Does he rave?
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.
15 Go call him hither. Maria exits. I am as mad as he,
 If sad and merry madness equal be.

Twelfth Night
ACT 3. SC. 4

Enter Maria with Malvolio.

 How now, Malvolio?
MALVOLIO  Sweet lady, ho, ho!
OLIVIA Smil’st thou? I sent for thee upon a sad
20 occasion.
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
25 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
30 be executed. I think we do know the sweet Roman
OLIVIA Wilt thou go to bed, Malvolio?
MALVOLIO To bed? “Ay, sweetheart, and I’ll come to
OLIVIA 35God 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
MARIA 40Why appear you with this ridiculous boldness
 before my lady?
MALVOLIO “Be not afraid of greatness.” ’Twas well
OLIVIA What mean’st thou by that, Malvolio?
MALVOLIO 45“Some are born great—”
MALVOLIO “Some achieve greatness—”
OLIVIA What sayst thou?
MALVOLIO “And some have greatness thrust upon
50 them.”

Twelfth Night
ACT 3. SC. 4

OLIVIA Heaven restore thee!
MALVOLIO “Remember who commended thy yellow
OLIVIA Thy yellow stockings?
MALVOLIO 55“And wished to see thee cross-gartered.”
OLIVIA Cross-gartered?
MALVOLIO “Go to, thou art made, if thou desir’st to be
OLIVIA Am I made?
MALVOLIO 60“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 65I’ll come to him. Servant exits. 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
Olivia and Maria exit in different directions.
MALVOLIO 70O 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,”
75 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
80 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

Twelfth Night
ACT 3. SC. 4

 degree, but “fellow.” Why, everything adheres together,
85 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
90 he is to be thanked.

Enter Toby, Fabian, and Maria.

TOBY 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?
95 How is ’t with you, man?
MALVOLIO Go off, I discard you. Let me enjoy my
 private. Go off.
MARIA, to Toby Lo, how hollow the fiend speaks
 within him! Did not I tell you? Sir Toby, my lady
100 prays you to have a care of him.
MALVOLIO Aha, does she so?
TOBY, to Fabian and Maria 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,
105 defy the devil! Consider, he’s an enemy to mankind.
MALVOLIO Do you know what you say?
MARIA, to Toby La you, an you speak ill of the devil,
 how he takes it at heart! Pray God he be not
FABIAN 110Carry his water to th’ wisewoman.
MARIA Marry, and it shall be done tomorrow morning
 if I live. My lady would not lose him for more than
 I’ll say.
MALVOLIO How now, mistress?
MARIA 115O Lord!
TOBY Prithee, hold thy peace. This is not the way. Do
 you not see you move him? Let me alone with

Twelfth Night
ACT 3. SC. 4

FABIAN No way but gentleness, gently, gently. The
120 fiend is rough and will not be roughly used.
TOBY, to Malvolio Why, how now, my bawcock? How
 dost thou, chuck?
TOBY Ay, biddy, come with me.—What, man, ’tis not
125 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.
MALVOLIO My prayers, minx?
MARIA, to Toby 130No, I warrant you, he will not hear of
MALVOLIO Go hang yourselves all! You are idle, shallow
 things. I am not of your element. You shall
 know more hereafter.He exits.
TOBY 135Is ’t possible?
FABIAN If this were played upon a stage now, I could
 condemn it as an improbable fiction.
TOBY His very genius hath taken the infection of the
 device, man.
MARIA 140Nay, pursue him now, lest the device take air
 and taint.
FABIAN Why, we shall make him mad indeed.
MARIA The house will be the quieter.
TOBY Come, we’ll have him in a dark room and
145 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
150 finder of madmen. But see, but see!

Enter Sir Andrew.

FABIAN More matter for a May morning.
ANDREW, presenting a paper Here’s the challenge.
 Read it. I warrant there’s vinegar and pepper in ’t.

Twelfth Night
ACT 3. SC. 4

FABIAN Is ’t so saucy?
ANDREW 155Ay, is ’t. I warrant him. Do but read.
TOBY Give me. He reads. Youth, whatsoever thou art,
 thou art but a scurvy fellow.
FABIAN Good, and valiant.
TOBY reads Wonder not nor admire not in thy mind
160 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.
TOBY reads Thou com’st to the Lady Olivia, and in my
165 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.
TOBY reads I will waylay thee going home, where if it be
 thy chance to kill me—

FABIAN 170Good.
TOBY reads Thou kill’st me like a rogue and a villain.
FABIAN Still you keep o’ th’ windy side of the law.
TOBY reads Fare thee well, and God have mercy upon
175 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,
 Andrew Aguecheek.

 If this letter move him not, his legs cannot. I’ll
180 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.
TOBY Go, Sir Andrew. Scout me for him at the corner
185 of the orchard like a bum-baily. So soon as ever
 thou seest him, draw, and as thou draw’st, 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
190 would have earned him. Away!

Twelfth Night
ACT 3. SC. 4

ANDREW Nay, let me alone for swearing.He exits.
TOBY 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
195 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
 clodpoll. But, sir, I will deliver his challenge by
 word of mouth, set upon Aguecheek a notable
200 report of valor, 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.

Enter Olivia and Viola.

FABIAN 205Here he comes with your niece. Give them
 way till he take leave, and presently after him.
TOBY I will meditate the while upon some horrid
 message for a challenge.
Toby, Fabian, and Maria exit.
 I have said too much unto a heart of stone
210 And laid mine honor too unchary on ’t.
 There’s something in me that reproves my fault,
 But such a headstrong potent fault it is
 That it but mocks reproof.
 With the same ’havior that your passion bears
215 Goes on my master’s griefs.
 Here, wear this jewel for me. ’Tis my picture.
 Refuse it not. It hath no tongue to vex you.
 And I beseech you come again tomorrow.
 What shall you ask of me that I’ll deny,
220 That honor, saved, may upon asking give?

Twelfth Night
ACT 3. SC. 4

 Nothing but this: your true love for my master.
 How with mine honor may I give him that
 Which I have given to you?
VIOLA  I will acquit you.
225 Well, come again tomorrow. Fare thee well.
 A fiend like thee might bear my soul to hell.
She exits.

Enter Toby and Fabian.

TOBY Gentleman, God save thee.
VIOLA And you, sir.
TOBY That defense thou hast, betake thee to ’t. Of what
230 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, skillful, and deadly.
VIOLA 235You mistake, sir. I am sure no man hath any
 quarrel to me. My remembrance is very free and
 clear from any image of offense done to any man.
TOBY You’ll find it otherwise, I assure you. Therefore,
 if you hold your life at any price, betake you to your
240 guard, for your opposite hath in him what youth,
 strength, skill, and wrath can furnish man withal.
VIOLA I pray you, sir, what is he?
TOBY He is knight dubbed with unhatched rapier and
 on carpet consideration, but he is a devil in private
245 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 sepulcher. “Hob, nob” is his word; “give ’t or
 take ’t.”
VIOLA 250I will return again into the house and desire

Twelfth Night
ACT 3. SC. 4

 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 valor. Belike this is a
 man of that quirk.
TOBY 255Sir, 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,
260 or strip your sword stark naked, for meddle you
 must, that’s certain, or forswear to wear iron about
VIOLA This is as uncivil as strange. I beseech you, do
 me this courteous office, as to know of the knight
265 what my offense to him is. It is something of my
 negligence, nothing of my purpose.
TOBY I will do so.—Signior Fabian, stay you by this
 gentleman till my return.Toby exits.
VIOLA Pray you, sir, do you know of this matter?
FABIAN 270I know the knight is incensed against you even
 to a mortal arbitrament, but nothing of the circumstance
VIOLA I beseech you, what manner of man is he?
FABIAN Nothing of that wonderful promise, to read
275 him by his form, as you are like to find him in the
 proof of his valor. He is indeed, sir, the most skillful,
 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
280 can.
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.
They exit.

Enter Toby and Andrew.

Twelfth Night
ACT 3. SC. 4

TOBY Why, man, he’s a very devil. I have not seen such
285 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 hits the
 ground they step on. They say he has been fencer
290 to the Sophy.
ANDREW Pox on ’t! I’ll not meddle with him.
TOBY Ay, but he will not now be pacified. Fabian can
 scarce hold him yonder.
ANDREW Plague on ’t! An I thought he had been
295 valiant, and so cunning in fence, I’d have seen him
 damned ere I’d have challenged him. Let him let
 the matter slip, and I’ll give him my horse, gray
TOBY I’ll make the motion. Stand here, make a good
300 show on ’t. This shall end without the perdition of
 souls. Aside. Marry, I’ll ride your horse as well as I
 ride you.

Enter Fabian and Viola.

Toby crosses to meet them.
 Aside to Fabian. I have his horse to take up the
 quarrel. I have persuaded him the youth’s a devil.
FABIAN, aside to Toby 305He is as horribly conceited of
 him, and pants and looks pale as if a bear were at his
TOBY, to Viola There’s no remedy, sir; he will fight
 with you for ’s oath sake. Marry, he hath better
310 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 Pray God defend me! Aside. A little thing
315 would make me tell them how much I lack of a

Twelfth Night
ACT 3. SC. 4

FABIAN Give ground if you see him furious.
Toby crosses to Andrew.
TOBY Come, Sir Andrew, there’s no remedy. The
 gentleman will, for his honor’s sake, have one bout
320 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.
ANDREW, drawing his sword Pray God he keep his
VIOLA, drawing her sword 
325 I do assure you ’tis against my will.

Enter Antonio.

ANTONIO, to Andrew 
 Put up your sword. If this young gentleman
 Have done offense, I take the fault on me.
 If you offend him, I for him defy you.
TOBY You, sir? Why, what are you?
ANTONIO, drawing his sword 
330 One, sir, that for his love dares yet do more
 Than you have heard him brag to you he will.
TOBY, drawing his sword 
 Nay, if you be an undertaker, I am for you.

Enter Officers.

FABIAN O, good Sir Toby, hold! Here come the officers.
TOBY, to Antonio I’ll be with you anon.
VIOLA, to Andrew 335Pray, sir, put your sword up, if
 you please.
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 340This is the man. Do thy office.
SECOND OFFICER Antonio, I arrest thee at the suit of
 Count Orsino.
ANTONIO You do mistake me, sir.

Twelfth Night
ACT 3. SC. 4

 No, sir, no jot. I know your favor well,
345 Though now you have no sea-cap on your head.—
 Take him away. He knows I know him well.
 I must obey. To Viola. This comes with seeking
 But there’s no remedy. I shall answer it.
350 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
 Than what befalls myself. You stand amazed,
 But be of comfort.
SECOND OFFICER 355 Come, sir, away.
ANTONIO, to Viola 
 I must entreat of you some of that money.
VIOLA What money, sir?
 For the fair kindness you have showed me here,
 And part being prompted by your present trouble,
360 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.
 Hold, there’s half my coffer.Offering him money.
ANTONIO Will you deny me now?
365 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 370 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
375 Inhabits our frail blood—
ANTONIO  O heavens themselves!

Twelfth Night
ACT 3. SC. 4

SECOND OFFICER Come, sir, I pray you go.
 Let me speak a little. This youth that you see here
 I snatched one half out of the jaws of death,
380 Relieved him with such sanctity of love,
 And to his image, which methought did promise
 Most venerable worth, did I devotion.
 What’s that to us? The time goes by. Away!
 But O, how vile an idol proves this god!
385 Thou hast, Sebastian, done good feature shame.
 In nature there’s no blemish but the mind;
 None can be called deformed but the unkind.
 Virtue is beauty, but the beauteous evil
 Are empty trunks o’erflourished by the devil.
390 The man grows mad. Away with him.—Come,
 come, sir.
ANTONIO Lead me on.
Antonio and Officers exit.
VIOLA, aside 
 Methinks his words do from such passion fly
 That he believes himself; so do not I.
395 Prove true, imagination, O, prove true,
 That I, dear brother, be now ta’en for you!
TOBY Come hither, knight; come hither, Fabian. We’ll
 whisper o’er a couplet or two of most sage saws.
Toby, Fabian, and Andrew move aside.
VIOLA, aside 
 He named Sebastian. I my brother know
400 Yet living in my glass. Even such and so
 In favor was my brother, and he went
 Still in this fashion, color, ornament,
 For him I imitate. O, if it prove,
 Tempests are kind, and salt waves fresh in love!
She exits.

Twelfth Night
ACT 3. SC. 4

TOBY 405A 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.
FABIAN A coward, a most devout coward, religious
410 in it.
ANDREW ’Slid, I’ll after him again and beat him.
TOBY Do, cuff him soundly, but never draw thy
ANDREW An I do not—
FABIAN 415Come, let’s see the event.
TOBY I dare lay any money ’twill be nothing yet.
They exit.