List iconTwelfth Night:
Act 4, scene 2
List icon

Twelfth Night
Act 4, scene 2



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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Quill icon
Scene 2
Enter Maria and Feste, the Fool.

MARIA Nay, I prithee, put on this gown and this beard;
 make him believe thou art Sir Topas the curate. Do
 it quickly. I’ll call Sir Toby the whilst.She exits.
FOOL Well, I’ll put it on and I will dissemble myself in
5 ’t, and I would I were the first that ever dissembled
 in such a gown. He puts on gown and beard. I am

Twelfth Night
ACT 4. SC. 2

 not tall enough to become the function well, nor
 lean enough to be thought a good student, but to be
 said an honest man and a good housekeeper goes as
10 fairly as to say a careful man and a great scholar.
 The competitors enter.

Enter Toby and Maria.

TOBY Jove bless thee, Master Parson.
FOOL Bonos dies, Sir Toby; for, as the old hermit of
 Prague, that never saw pen and ink, very wittily said
15 to a niece of King Gorboduc “That that is, is,” so I,
 being Master Parson, am Master Parson; for what is
 “that” but “that” and “is” but “is”?
TOBY To him, Sir Topas.
FOOL, disguising his voice What ho, I say! Peace in this
20 prison!
TOBY The knave counterfeits well. A good knave.

Malvolio within.

MALVOLIO Who calls there?
FOOL Sir Topas the curate, who comes to visit Malvolio
 the lunatic.
MALVOLIO 25Sir Topas, Sir Topas, good Sir Topas, go to
 my lady—
FOOL Out, hyperbolical fiend! How vexest thou this
 man! Talkest thou nothing but of ladies?
TOBY, aside Well said, Master Parson.
MALVOLIO 30Sir Topas, never was man thus wronged.
 Good Sir Topas, do not think I am mad. They have
 laid me here in hideous darkness—
FOOL Fie, thou dishonest Satan! I call thee by the most
 modest terms, for I am one of those gentle ones
35 that will use the devil himself with courtesy. Sayst
 thou that house is dark?
MALVOLIO As hell, Sir Topas.

Twelfth Night
ACT 4. SC. 2

FOOL Why, it hath bay windows transparent as barricadoes,
 and the clerestories toward the south-north
40 are as lustrous as ebony; and yet complainest
 thou of obstruction?
MALVOLIO I am not mad, Sir Topas. I say to you this
 house is dark.
FOOL Madman, thou errest. I say there is no darkness
45 but ignorance, in which thou art more puzzled than
 the Egyptians in their fog.
MALVOLIO I say this house is as dark as ignorance,
 though ignorance were as dark as hell. And I say
 there was never man thus abused. I am no more
50 mad than you are. Make the trial of it in any
 constant question.
FOOL What is the opinion of Pythagoras concerning
MALVOLIO That the soul of our grandam might haply
55 inhabit a bird.
FOOL What thinkst thou of his opinion?
MALVOLIO I think nobly of the soul, and no way
 approve his opinion.
FOOL Fare thee well. Remain thou still in darkness.
60 Thou shalt hold th’ opinion of Pythagoras ere I will
 allow of thy wits, and fear to kill a woodcock lest
 thou dispossess the soul of thy grandam. Fare thee
MALVOLIO Sir Topas, Sir Topas!
TOBY 65My most exquisite Sir Topas!
FOOL Nay, I am for all waters.
MARIA Thou mightst have done this without thy beard
 and gown. He sees thee not.
TOBY To him in thine own voice, and bring me word
70 how thou find’st him. I would we were well rid
 of this knavery. If he may be conveniently delivered,
 I would he were, for I am now so far in
 offense with my niece that I cannot pursue with

Twelfth Night
ACT 4. SC. 2

 any safety this sport the upshot. Come by and by
75 to my chamber.
Toby and Maria exit.
FOOL sings, in his own voice 
  Hey, Robin, jolly Robin,
  Tell me how thy lady does.

FOOL sings 
  My lady is unkind, perdy.
FOOL sings 
  Alas, why is she so?
MALVOLIO Fool, I say!
FOOL sings 
  She loves another—
 Who calls, ha?
MALVOLIO 85Good fool, as ever thou wilt deserve well at
 my hand, help me to a candle, and pen, ink, and
 paper. As I am a gentleman, I will live to be thankful
 to thee for ’t.
FOOL Master Malvolio?
MALVOLIO 90Ay, good Fool.
FOOL Alas, sir, how fell you besides your five wits?
MALVOLIO Fool, there was never man so notoriously
 abused. I am as well in my wits, Fool, as thou art.
FOOL But as well? Then you are mad indeed, if you be
95 no better in your wits than a Fool.
MALVOLIO They have here propertied me, keep me in
 darkness, send ministers to me—asses!—and do
 all they can to face me out of my wits.
FOOL Advise you what you say. The minister is here.
100 In the voice of Sir Topas. Malvolio, Malvolio, thy
 wits the heavens restore. Endeavor thyself to sleep
 and leave thy vain bibble-babble.

Twelfth Night
ACT 4. SC. 2

FOOL, as Sir Topas Maintain no words with him, good
105 fellow. As Fool. Who, I, sir? Not I, sir! God buy
 you, good Sir Topas. As Sir Topas. Marry, amen.
 As Fool. I will, sir, I will.
MALVOLIO Fool! Fool! Fool, I say!
FOOL Alas, sir, be patient. What say you, sir? I am
110 shent for speaking to you.
MALVOLIO Good Fool, help me to some light and some
 paper. I tell thee, I am as well in my wits as any
 man in Illyria.
FOOL Welladay that you were, sir!
MALVOLIO 115By this hand, I am. Good Fool, some ink,
 paper, and light; and convey what I will set down to
 my lady. It shall advantage thee more than ever the
 bearing of letter did.
FOOL I will help you to ’t. But tell me true, are you not
120 mad indeed, or do you but counterfeit?
MALVOLIO Believe me, I am not. I tell thee true.
FOOL Nay, I’ll ne’er believe a madman till I see his
 brains. I will fetch you light and paper and ink.
MALVOLIO Fool, I’ll requite it in the highest degree. I
125 prithee, begone.
FOOL sings 
 I am gone, sir, and anon, sir,
  I’ll be with you again,
 In a trice, like to the old Vice,
  Your need to sustain.
130 Who with dagger of lath, in his rage and his wrath,
  Cries “aha!” to the devil;
 Like a mad lad, “Pare thy nails, dad!
  Adieu, goodman devil.”

He exits.