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Twelfth Night Commentary - Act III.

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Act III. Scene I. - Olivia's Garden.

Olivia: "Yet come again, for thou perhaps mayst move / That heart, which now abhors, to like his love."

Cesario has another private meeting with Lady Olivia on Duke Orsino's behalf. Sir Toby and Sir Andrew meet Cesario and Sir Toby learns from Cesario that he will soon speak with Olivia. In private, Olivia admits to Cesario that she used the ring she sent after him to lure him back to her. Cesario tries to put Olivia off him but she is smitten, ignoring all Cesario's attempts to diminish her enthusiasm for him...

Cesario (Viola) enters and meets with Olivia's fool, Feste. The two get along well, so much so that Cesario rewards Feste with a sixpence, later remarking that "This fellow's [Feste] wise enough to play the fool," (Line 68) adding that "to do that well craves [needs] a kind of wit:" for "He must observe their mood on whom he jests, / The quality of persons, and the time, / Not, like the haggard, check at every feather / That comes before his eye" (Lines 1-75).

Sir Toby and Sir Andrew arrive, Sir Toby meeting Cesario and learning that Cesario intends to speak with Olivia, Sir Toby's niece (Lines 75-96).

Olivia now enters with Maria and once more Cesario (Viola) gets "his" private audience with Olivia.

Olivia is quite in love with Cesario, hanging on his every word and asking Cesario's name. Olivia is delighted, exclaiming "My servant, sir! 'Twas never merry world / Since lowly feigning was call'd compliment" (Line 111).

Cesario (Viola) attempts to remind Olivia that he is here representing the Duke but Olivia would rather listen to Cesario (Lines 113-120).

Olivia: "I bade you never speak again of him [Orsino]: / But, would you undertake another suit, / I had rather hear you to solicit that / Than music from the spheres."

(I told you Cesario never to speak again of the Duke, but if you were to court me, I would rather hear this than the music of the heavens), (Lines 118-124).

Cesario tries to stop this line of conversation, but Olivia pushes on admitting that the ring she sent Malvolio to return to him was a trick of "shameful cunning," (Line 128) asking what Cesario thinks of this (Line 128).

Cesario's reply is short; "I pity you" he says (Line 136).

Olivia will not be discouraged, arguing "That's a degree to love" (Line 137).

Cesario disagrees and when "he" again asks Olivia what she thinks of the Duke, Olivia instead asks Cesario what "he" thinks of her (Lines 136-152).

Cesario tells Olivia "That you do think you are not what you are" (Line 153), Olivia replying very ironically that "If I think so, I think the same of you" not realizing how right she is (Cesario is not what "he" is, Cesario is a woman), (Line 154).

Cesario replies that he thinks she is right and Olivia argues that "I would you were as I would have you be!" (I wish you were what I would want you to be), (Line 156).

Despite Cesario's increasing malice, Olivia is still smitten remarking "O! what a deal of scorn looks beautiful / In the contempt and anger of his lip" (Line 160).

Cesario now makes it clear that he does not love Olivia (Lines 172-176) yet still Olivia holds out hope:

"Yet come again, for thou perhaps mayst move / That heart, which now abhors, to like his love" (Line 177).

Act III. Scene II. - A Room in Olivia's House.

Sir Andrew to Sir Toby and Fabian: "'Slight! will you make an ass o' me?"

Knowing Lady Olivia will never love him, Sir Andrew prepares to head for home. The sight of Olivia showing more affection to a youth (Cesario) than him was the last straw. Fabian and Sir Toby don't deny the affectionate display but argue Olivia did it to spur Sir Andrew to action to woo her and regain her respect.

Sir Toby and Fabian manipulate Sir Andrew into writing a challenge to the youth (Cesario) even though they know a fight between the two cowards (Cesario and Sir Andrew) is unlikely. Maria enters, telling Sir Toby and Fabian to watch the spectacle that is Malvolio wearing yellow stockings and being cross-gartered.

Sir Andrew knows a lost cause when he sees one. He announces to Sir Toby that "I'll not stay a jot longer" (I'll stay not a moment longer), (Line 1).

Sir Toby demands a reason and Sir Andrew gives it; "Marry, I saw your niece [Olivia] do more favours to the count's serving-man [Cesario] than ever she bestowed upon me;" adding that he saw this in the orchard (Line 6).

Sir Toby has a different explanation as does Fabian who argues that what Sir Andrew saw was "a great argument of love in her toward you" (Line 13).

Sir Andrew, almost suspecting the truth, questions Sir Toby and Fabian, asking, "'Slight! will you make an ass o' [of] me?" (Line 14).

Fabian and Sir Toby tell him that they will show their words to be true and Fabian goes to great lengths to convince Sir Andrew, explaining that when he was young, Olivia did like Sir Andrew, but now only an act of great valour or policy will return those feelings (Lines 18-33).

Specifically Fabian explains to Sir Andrew that Lady Olivia "did show favour [affection / liking] to the youth [Cesario]" (Line 19), but only to force Sir Andrew into showing interest in her.

Olivia spoke with the boy to make Sir Andrew jealous, "to awake your dormouse [dormant, asleep] valour," (Line 21) and to "put fire in your heart, and brimstone in your liver" Fabian argues (Line 22).

Sir Andrew decides his actions must be "with valour, for policy I hate:" (Line 34).

Sir Toby agrees, telling Sir Andrew to challenge the court's youth (Cesario) and to hit him in "eleven places:"; this and only this will get Olivia's attention adding that "there is no love-broker in the world can more prevail in man's commendation with women than report of valour" (Line 37).

Fabian agrees, telling Sir Andrew that there is no other way (Line 44).

Sir Toby now tells Sir Andrew to write a letter, keeping it brief but taunting his enemy (Lines 46-59).

Sir Andrew now leaves with a letter to write.

Fabian and Sir Toby discuss their plans. They remark that neither Sir Andrew nor the youth (Cesario) have much ability, let alone desire to truly fight (Lines 61-73).

Maria arrives, telling Fabian and Sir Toby to follow her come and and laugh at Malvolio, now wearing yellow stockings and cross-gartered (Lines 74-93).

Act III. Scene III. - A Street.

Sebastian has now reluctantly accepted Antonio as his companion on the streets of Illyria. Antonio explains that his offence in Illyria, which was theft, was one the rest of his city have repaid but he has not and so he is still wanted in Illyria.

Sebastian decides to sightsee but Antonio fearful of his enemies, decides to head for lodging at a place called the Elephant. Antonio gives Sebastian his purse (wallet) and directions for this lodging and the two part their separate ways...

Sebastian is walking the streets of Illyria with Antonio. He decides to no longer chide him because Antonio seems to make pleasure from his pains (Line 1).

Antonio, for his part, explains that he is needed by Sebastian, because these streets can be dangerous to those who do not know them (Lines 4-12).

Sebastian thanks Antonio for his loyalty and asks whether they should "go see the reliques [relics] of this town?" (Line 19).

Antonio suggests tomorrow, they should find lodging first. Sebastian, however is not tired, and wishes to explore the city. Antonio now asks for leave, since it is dangerous for him to walk in the city of so many of his enemies (Lines 21-28).

Sebastian asks Antonio, how many men he has slewn [killed], (Line 29).

Antonio explains now that his "offence is not of such a bloody nature," but that "the quality of the time and quarrel / Might well have given us bloody argument" or trouble (Line 32).

Antonio's offence could have been "answer'd in repaying / What we took from them [his enemies];" which most of his city did, but Antonio did not, and so he fears that he will pay dearly (Lines 32-36).

Sebastian tells Antonio not to walk the streets then, and Antonio gives Sebastian his purse [wallet], telling him also to lodge at a place called the Elephant. Antonio also explains why he has given Sebastian his purse:

"Haply your eye shall light upon some toy / You have desire to purchase; and your store, / I think, is not for idle markets, sir" (Line 44).

Act III. Scene IV. - Olivia's Garden.

Malvolio: "'Some are born great,'-", "'Some achieve greatness,'-" , "'And some have greatness thrust upon them.'"

Olivia makes plans to once more woo Cesario. Olivia sees Malvolio with yellow stockings and cross-gartered and considers him mad since he continues to smile no matter what the situation and makes crude, lustful interpretations of Olivia's words. Malvolio makes his famous "Some are born great" speech.

Learning that Cesario has returned, Lady Olivia has Malvolio put into the care of her servants since in her eyes, Malvolio's behavior is some "midsummer madness." Sir Toby, Maria and Fabian plot to have Malvolio placed in a "dark room," so they can have some fun with him.

Sir Andrew arrives with his completed letter challenging Cesario. Sir Toby decides to scare Cesario and Sir Andrew about their opponents instead of sending the letter.

Alone with Cesario once more, Lady Olivia makes no progress with Cesario who will not requit (return) her love. Olivia is undaunted by this. Sir Toby scares both Sir Andrew and Cesario into drawing their weapons on each other.

Antonio arrives, pledging to fight Sir Andrew on Cesario's behalf who he thinks is Sebastian since Viola disguised as a man now looks like her twin brother Sebastian. The fight is stopped but Officers recognizing Antonio, capture him.

Antonio asks Cesario for his purse back but Cesario not recognizing him does not oblige. Antonio thinks Sebastian has betrayed him, not realizing he has asked Cesario (Viola) for his purse, not Sebastian.

Olivia is making plans for Cesario (Viola); she hopes that "he" will come at her invitation and wonders "How shall I feast him?" (Line 2), adding "For youth is bought more oft [often] than begg'd or borrow'd" (Line 3).

Olivia now asks of the "sad, and civil," (Line 5) Malvolio's whereabouts and Maria starts to bring her trick on Malvolio to fruition...

Maria replies to Olivia that "He's coming, madam; but in a very strange manner" adding that "He is sure [surely] possess'd, madam" (Line 9).

Olivia wonders if Malvolio is mad by asking "does he rave?" (Line 10).

Maria replies that Malvolio does not, rather he "does nothing but smile:" warning Olivia to keep her guard about her (Lines 11-15).

Olivia calls Malvolio in and asks Malvolio why he smiles; Olivia sent for him "upon a sad occasion" not a happy one (Line 21).

Malvolio replies that he could be sad, adding that the "cross-gartering;" he wears does constrict his blood somewhat, but if it pleases the eye of Olivia, it is a small price to pay (Lines 21-26).

Olivia asks what is the matter with him and Malvolio answers that he is "Not black in my mind [sick]," but that he is yellow in his legs, drawing attention to this fact in the hope of alluring Olivia (Lines 29-32).

Now Olivia asks Malvolio "Wilt thou go to bed, Malvolio?" totally unaware that Malvolio will see this as seduction (Line 33).

Malvolio is enthusiastic, saying "To bed! ay, sweetheart; and I'll come to thee [you]" (Line 34).

Olivia tells him to "comfort thee!" asking why Malvolio smiles so much (Line 37).

Maria enters, asking Malvolio why he appears "with this ridiculous boldness before my lady?" (Line 41). Malvolio tells her to "'Be not afraid of greatness:'" and when Olivia asks Malvolio what he means, he famously exclaims:

"'Some are born great,'-", "'Some achieve greatness,'-" , "'And some have greatness thrust upon them'" drawing gasps and criticisms from Olivia at each phrase (Lines 46-48).

Malvolio now asks Olivia to remember who commended [complimented] his lovely yellow stockings, Olivia in shock exclaiming, "Thy [your] yellow stockings!" (Line 53) Malvolio asking Olivia to also remember who "'wished to see thee [me] cross-gartered'" (Line 56).

Again Olivia repeats Malvolio's words in disgust; "Cross gartered!" she exclaims (Line 57).

Olivia now is shocked, describing this all as a "very midsummer madness" (Line 62).

A Servant now enters to announce that the Duke of Orsino's servant, Cesario has returned. Olivia immediately worries about Malvolio's behavior, instructing Maria to ensure her people will "have a special care of him [keep him occupied]:", lest Malvolio mar Olivia's plans for the handsome Cesario (Lines 62-71).

Malvolio now ponders all this. Was it not mentioned in Olivia's letter, that he should appear stubborn and he remembers the letters advise that he "'be opposite with a kinsman, surly with servants;'" and he now decides to be rude to Sir Toby, it is after all Olivia's wish (Lines 72-94).

Malvolio now insults both Sir Toby and Fabian, who decide that they will "have him in a dark room, and bound" (Line 150).

Olivia will not mind; "My niece is already in the belief that he's mad:" Sir Toby explains (Line 151).

Sir Andrew now arrives showing Fabian and Sir Toby his challenge to Cesario, adding that "there's vinegar and pepper in' t" (it is insulting), (Line 160).

Sir Toby reads the challenge and Fabian praises it for being on the "windy side of the law:" (Line 184).

Maria now informs Sir Andrew that Cesario is now "in some commerce with my lady [Olivia]," (Line 193).

Sir Toby now plays his part in this farce, telling Sir Andrew to scout for Cesario in the corner of the orchard and upon seeing him, to draw and to swear at Cesario...

Sir Toby: "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!" (often a terrible threat delivered with conviction gives a man a more fearful reputation than if he had earned it), (Line 196).

With Sir Andrew now departed, Sir Toby explains that he will not deliver Sir Andrew's letter and adds that "this letter, being so excellently ignorant [unsent], will breed no terror in the youth:" (Cesario), (Line 208).

Instead, Sir Toby will deliver Sir Andrew's challenge by "word of mouth;" and he will now report to Cesario falsely of Sir Andrew's valour and likewise to Sir Andrew of Cesario's valour (Lines 205-219).

This should "so frighten them [Cesario and Sir Andrew] both that they will kill one another by the look, like cockatrices" (Line 218).

Sir Toby, Fabian and Maria depart to be replaced now by Olivia and Cesario.

Olivia still loves Cesario a great deal, lamenting that she "has said too much unto [into] a heart of stone," (Line 224), yet Cesario continues to tell Olivia to love her master Orsino instead, even when Olivia asks Cesario to "wear this jewel for me, 'tis [it is] my picture;" (Line 231).

Olivia asks "How with mine honour may I give him that [her heart] / Which I have given to you?" (Line 237) to which Cesario replies that he will "acquit" ( released or discharged) her of her love..

Olivia despite intense rejection like Orsino will not give up:

"Well, come again to-morrow: fare thee well: / A fiend like thee might bear my soul to hell", Olivia now exiting (Line 240).

Sir Toby and Fabian reenter our view and these two gentlemen greet Cesario, telling him "God save thee [you]" (Line 241).

Sir Toby now goes on to describe to Cesario that "thy [your] interceptor [an unlikely Sir Andrew], full of despite, bloody as the hunter, attends thee [is waiting for you] at the orchard-end."

Sir Toby warns Cesario to "Dismount thy tuck, be yare in thy preparation, for thy assailant is quick, skilful, and deadly" (be prepared, your opponent is deadly), (Line 249).

Cesario, being in reality not a knight but a women with no training for combat is rightly terrified, telling Sir Andrew that Sir Toby must be mistaken; no man has any quarrel with him, certainly none as deadly as this (Lines 254-258).

Sir Toby says otherwise, describing Sir Andrew who the audience knows to be a coward from Maria as a "knight dubbed with unhatched rapier," a man who is "a devil in private brawl:" who is so angry that "his incensement at this moment is so implacable [unstoppable] that satisfaction can be none but by pangs of death and sepulchre [tomb]" (Line 265).

Cesario (Viola) tells Sir Toby that "he" will not fight this man, "I am no fighter" Cesario says, remarking that he knows of men who create quarrels for the sake of fighting (Line 267).

Sir Toby replies that Sir Andrew is no such man and that his "indignation derives itself out of a very competent injury:" (his anger comes from a very understandable reason) telling Cesario that he will have to answer to him if not Sir Andrew should Cesario not fight Sir Andrew.

Sir Toby now leaves Cesario in the custody of Signior Fabian who is merely Fabian by a more important sounding name.

Sir Toby now returns with Sir Andrew who he has also lied to, talking up Cesario as the very devil; "They say he has been fencer to the Sophy" (Line 310).

Sir Andrew, now also terrified that he will not have an easy victory, tells Sir Toby that he will offer his horse, "grey Capilet" rather than fight this man.

Sir Toby briefs Fabian on how he has told Sir Andrew how dangerous Cesario is, and now Sir Toby tells Cesario to draw his sword adding that Sir Andrew has promised that "he will not hurt you" (Line 335).

Cesario is suitable terrified and Fabio tells Cesario to give ground if he sees Sir Andrew as furious.

Sir Andrew and Cesario now both draw their swords on each other with great reluctance and even greater fear... When Antonio arrives, friend of Sebastian. Antonio tells Sir Andrew to immediately "Put up your sword" (stop), (Line 347) telling Sir Andrew that:

"If this young gentlemen [Cesario] / Have done offence, I take the fault on me: / If you offend him, I for him defy you" (If this young man has offended you, take it out on me, if you have offended him however, I will fight you for him), (Lines 342-344).

Sir Toby and Antonio are just about to fight when Officers arrive, taking Antonio who is a wanted man in Illyria into custody (Lines 356-368).

Just before this, Sir Andrew puts up his sword stopping the fight at Cesario's request (Lines 358-362).

Antonio, now being taken into custody by two Officers, apologizes that he can not help Cesario (Viola) whom he thinks is his friend Sebastian. Antonio also regretfully asks Cesario for his purse back since he will now need some money to hopefully get himself out of trouble.

Cesario (Viola) does not know what Antonio is talking about, refusing to acknowledge that Antonio ever gave "him" a purse.

This causes Antonio immense grief since he now thinks he has been betrayed (Lines 401-408), and hearing the name "Sebastian" from Antonio's mouth, Cesario (Viola) begins to hope her brother might still be alive:

Cesario (Viola in disguise): "Methinks his [Antonio's] 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 [taken, mistaken] for you!" (Line 412)

Having witnessed the cowardice of Cesario, Sir Andrew, Sir Toby and Fabian vow to find Cesario again, Fabian and Sir Toby being eager to watch further comedy between the coward Cesario and Sir Andrew...

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