Act V. Scene I. - The Street before Olivia's
Sebastian to Olivia: "You would have been contracted
to a maid...."
In the final scene, chaos ensues as the identical
appearing Cesario and Sebastian are each blamed for
the other's actions. First Feste blames Sebastian
for beckoning him, not realizing it was Cesario who
called for him.
Cesario spots Antonio, the man who saved Cesario
from fighting Sir Andrew but was taken prisoner by Orsino's
officers in Act III. Antonio again asks Cesario for
his wallet back. Cesario does not give it back and so
Antonio curses him for his betrayal not realizing he
is talking to Cesario not Sebastian whom he lent his
We learn that Antonio is an enemy of Illyria and
especially of Orsino for plundering his ships as a pirate
in the past. Now a prisoner, Antonio baffles Orsino
by telling him that he and Cesario have been together
night and day for three weeks.
Orsino can't believe this; Cesario has been
with him for three weeks. Olivia arrives and we see
that Orsino still loves her. The feeling is not mutual...
Olivia scolds Cesario for neglecting her, revealing
that he is now her husband. Cesario (Viola in disguise)
amazed by this, pleads his innocence to Orsino whom
"he" truly loves and Orsino thinking his servant
betrayed him by taking Olivia for himself prepares to
punish Cesario. Olivia meanwhile despairs that her husband
leaves willingly with Orsino to be punished rather than
being with his wife and she too claims betrayal by Cesario.
Sebastian now arrives, apologizing for attacking
Sir Toby and Sir Andrew. Orsino seeing both Cesario
and Sebastian together is amazed that he sees two copies
of the same man. Olivia too is amazed.
Sebastian and Cesario compare notes on how they
arrived in Illyria each claiming that their sibling
has drowned. Eventually they realize that since they
knew the same father they are indeed brother and sister.
Malvolio storms in and the cruel prank against him
is revealed by Fabian who confesses. Orsino calls Olivia
his sister, and Orsino takes Cesario for his mistress
and we presume later as his wife with Feste ending the
play in song.
Act V and the final scene of Twelfth Night begins
with Fabian asking Feste the Clown to let him see Malvolio's
letter. Feste is reluctant, asking Fabian to "Do not
desire to see this letter" (Line 7).
The Duke, Cesario (the still disguised Viola), Curio
and several Attendants now arrive.
The Duke immediately recognizes Feste and asks him
"how dost thou, my good fellow?" (how are you, my good
fellow?), (Line 12).
Feste replies to the Duke, "Truly, sir, the better
for my foes and the worse for my friends " (Honestly,
Sir, I am better because of my enemies than my friends),
The Duke replies that Feste must surely be mistaken;
does he not mean he is better off because of his friends?
Feste however is adamant it is the other way around,
replying to the Duke, "No, sir, the worse" (No sir,
I am worse off for my friends), (Line 17).
Feste now explains to the Duke how this can be by saying:
Marry, sir, they praise me and make an ass of me;
now my foes tell me plainly I am an ass: so that by
my foes, sir, I profit in the knowledge of myself,
and by my friends I am abused: so that, conclusions
to be as kisses, if your four negatives make your
two affirmatives, why then, the worse for my friends
and the better for my foes."
(Marry, Sir, my friends praise me and then make a
fool of me, whereas my enemies simply tell me I am
an ass so through my enemies I benefit by learning
about myself whereas by my friends I am taken advantage
of. So to conclude I am better off for my enemies
and worse off for my friends), (Lines 19-26)
The Duke, recognizing this quality riddle to be the
mark of a good clown, tells Feste, "Why, this is excellent"
(Line 27), Feste remarking that the Duke's compliment
must make him one of Feste's "friends." The Duke
tells Feste that unlike Feste's friends he will
not be made worse off, tossing the Clown (Feste) a gold
Feste and the Duke now exchange sayings (Lines 33-43).
Telling Feste that he will get no further gold from
his actions, Orsino tells Feste to seek out Olivia and
return with her, telling Feste "it may awake my bounty
further" by which the Duke means Feste may earn more
gold for his troubles (Line 47).
Feste now departs to seek out Olivia and Cesario (Viola
in disguise) now notices the man he says rescued her,
this being Antonio who arrives accompanied and guarded
by several Officers.
The Duke too, remembers Antonio quite well, saying
"when I saw it [Antonio's face] last, it was besmear'd
[smeared] / As black as Vulcan in the smoke of war"
(covered as black as the god Vulcan from the grime of
canon fire), (Line 56).
The Duke remembers all to well that Antonio was the
captain of a pirate ship that did much damage to the
Duke's fleet, the Duke remembering "A bawbling
vessel was he [Antonio] captain of, / For shallow draught
and hulk unprizable; / With which such scathful grapple
did he make / With the most noble bottom of our fleet,"
(A bawbling weak vessel, Antonio was captain of, with
shallow draught or underwater clearance and a hulk not
valued by many. Nonetheless he was able to do great
damage to some of the best of my fleet (Lines 58-61).
The Duke (Orsino), despite his differences with Antonio,
recognizes him as a great sailor and a worthy adversary
by noting "That very envy and tongue of loss / Cried
fame and honour on him" (the very reputation of my fleet's
losses to him, cried fame and honor on him), (Line 62).
The First Officer accompanying the captured Antonio
tells Orsino that his prisoner is indeed Antonio, the
man who "took the Phoenix and her fraught from Candy;"
(Line 65) a reference to Antonio stealing a ship, and
also the same man who boarded the Tiger another ship
in which Orsino's nephew Titus lost a leg (Line
The First Officer explains that Antonio was found "Here
in the streets, desperate of shame and state," or out
of luck, where in a "private brabble did we apprehend
him" or take Antonio prisoner (Line 69).
Cesario (Viola still disguised as a man) explains that
Antonio defended her from Sir Andrew but then "put strange
speech upon me:" by which she means, Antonio made no
sense (Line 71).
We of course know why... Antonio thought Cesario was
Sebastian and so his strange speech was merely Antonio
requesting back his wallet. Cesario, not knowing that
her brother is alive could not understand how Antonio
could think he knows her but Antonio really is thinking
that he was talking to Sebastian whom Viola disguised
as Cesario, strongly resembles...
Orsino calls Antonio, "Notable pirate! thou [you] salt-water
thief!" (Line 73) before asking Antonio why on earth
he came to Illyria, a place so hostile to him "whom
thou [whom you], in terms so bloody and so dear, / Hast
[have] made thine [your] enemies?" Orsino asks (Line
Antonio replies that "Antonio [himself] never yet [never
was] was thief or pirate, / Though I confess, on base
and ground enough, [for reason enough]" is "Orsino's
enemy" (Line 78).
Antonio explains that "A witchcraft drew me hither:"
(a witchcraft drew me here), (Line 80), Antonio explaining
how "That most ingrateful [disloyal, ungrateful] boy
there by your side," which Antonio thinks is Sebastian
but is really Cesario, was saved by him and that Antonio
exposed himself to the dangers of Illyria out of pure
love for that man he saved which is of course, Sebastian
not Cesario who is before him...
Antonio now explains that apprehended now in this "adverse"
or dangerous town for him, Sebastian, his so-called
friend denied him his purse which he earlier had lent
to Sebastian "Not half an hour before" (not half an
hour earlier), (Line 95).
Cesario (Viola in disguise), not understanding how
Antonio can think "he" received his purse,
was saved at sea by Antonio and then back-stabbed (betrayed)
Antonio by not returning his purse, asks simply, "How
can this be?" (Line 96).
Antonio tells the Duke that he came into Illyria today
and that before this, he and the man he saved from the
shipwreck (Sebastian who looks like Cesario) were together
night and day for three months (Lines 97-100).
Olivia and her Attendants now enter, the Duke still
in love with her, saying, "now heaven walks on earth!"
(Line 101) but then tells Antonio that "thy [your] words
are madness:" since, as Orsino explains, for the last
three months "this youth hath tended upon me;" (this
youth Cesario has served me), (Line 103).
Olivia now asks Orsino, "What would my lord, but that
he may not have, / Wherein Olivia may seem servicable?"
(What do you want my lord other than what you cannot
have, which is me?), (Line 105).
Olivia now scolds Cesario, telling him, "you do not
keep promise with me" or Cesario does not keep his word
and presumably some meeting with her (Line 107).
Cesario, who did not marry Olivia as Sebastian did
one scene ago, says "Madam!" completely surprised at
what Olivia is implying of him since he has done everything
possible not to have a relationship with Olivia.
Olivia now asks Cesario what he has to say, calling
Cesario "my lord,-" (Line 110). Cesario (Viola in disguise),
mindful that Orsino, nearby, still wants Olivia, tactfully
replies, "My lord would speak; my duty hushes me" (Line
A war of words now starts between Olivia and Orsino.
Lady Olivia fires the first volley by telling Orsino,
"If it be aught to the old tune, my lord, / It is as
fat and fulsome to mine ear / As howling after music"
(if you are still harping that old tune that you love
me, you are wasting your time my lord, since it is as
useless to my ear as howling after music), (Line 112).
Orsino replies "Still so cruel?" (Line 114), Olivia
coldly replying "Still so constant, lord" (Line 115).
The Duke now deeply frustrated, tells Lady Olivia that
since "I partly know the instrument / That screws me
from my true place in your favour," (I know the instrument
or person, Cesario who denies me your love), Orsino
decides that he will destroy or tear Cesario out of
Olivia's cruel eye where Cesario sits crowned in
Orsino's hate for stealing Olivia's heart).
Orsino says this himself with the words, "Him [Cesario
/ Viola] will I tear out of that cruel eye, / Where
he sits crowned in his master's [Orsino's] spite"
With growing menace, Orsino explains that he would
hurt himself in sacrificing Cesario if it will hurt
Olivia further and he tells Cesario, "Come, boy, with
me: my thoughts are ripe [ready, full] in mischief;
/ I'll sacrifice the lamb [Cesario] that I do love,
/ To spite a raven's [Olivia's] heart within
a dove" (Line 134).
Cesario (Viola), revealing "his" total love
for Orsino, though "he" now faces certain
harm, replies to Orsino, "And I, most jocand, apt, and
willingly, / To do you rest, a thousand deaths would
die", (I would most willing die a thousand times if
it meant you could rest) and then follows Orsino (Line
Olivia is amazed, wondering and angered that her love,
Cesario is following Orsino and not her, not realizing
that her love is really Sebastian, not Cesario.
Olivia, seeing Cesario leaving her, asks Cesario, "Where
goes Cesario?" (Where are you going Cesario?), (Line
Cesario (Viola) ironically replies to Olivia, that
he loves Orsino, "More than I love these eyes, more
than my life, / More, by all mores, than e'er [ever]
I shall love wife" (more than I love these eyes, more
than my life, more by all mores than ever I shall love
a wife), (Line 139).
This last ironic comment is hardly surprising... As
a woman disguised as a man, Cesario is unlikely to love
a wife more than Orsino.
Olivia annoyed and thinking that Cesario has tricked
her, says "Ah me, detested! how am I beguil'd!" (Ah,
I am hated. I have been deceived!), (Line 143).
Cesario innocently asks Olivia who does her this wrong
not realizing Olivia is upset that Cesario has married
her and now betrayed her by pledging "his" loyalties
to Orsino instead.
Olivia asks Cesario if he has forgotten himself; surely
he remembers marrying her and tells Cesario "Call forth
the holy father" (bring over the priest who married
us), hoping that this will jog Cesario's memory when
Olivia is really talking about Sebastian (Line 145).
A tug of war now occurs as Orsino tells Cesario to
leave with him and Olivia says "Cesario, husband, stay"
(Line 146). Cesario quite naturally asks "Husband?"
wondering how this can be.
Olivia says yes, wondering how Cesario could deny this.
Orsino, who wanted Olivia for his wife, also wonders
how Cesario could have married Olivia (Lines 148-149).
Cesario (as Viola still in disguise) pleads "his"
innocence and the Priest, Olivia called for to prove
that Cesario is married to her, arrives.
Olivia not surprisingly, welcomes the Priest extremely
warmly, asking him to reveal their marriage even though
she says, she had intended to keep it a secret a little
longer (Lines 154-159).
The Priest confirms that, yes Olivia and Cesario were
married by him, the Priest, explaining that Olivia and
Cesario's marriage was "A contract of eternal bond
of love [marriage], / Confirm'd [confirmed] by
mutual joinder [joining] of your [Olivia's and
Cesario's] hands," (Line 161).
The Priest explains their private wedding further (Lines
162-166) and Orsino, upon hearing this, is understandably
furious... The man, Orsino trusted to convey his love
for Olivia married Olivia instead!
Orsino, furious, calls Cesario, his once trusted servant,
"thou [you] dissembling cub!" (Line 168) before angrily
telling Cesario "Farewell, and take her; but direct
thy feet / Where thou and I henceforth may never meet"
(take Olivia then, but direct your feet to ensure you
and I from this time on, will never meet again) (Line
Cesario (Viola), who only loves Orsino and would be
more punished by losing Orsino than Olivia who "he"
has not married, cries out, "My lord, I do protest,"
(My lord, I protest, don't say this), (Line 174).
Olivia, who loves Cesario, however tells Cesario not
to worry too much about this (Line 175).
Sir Andrew Aguecheek with his head broken or held low,
enters, pleading "For the love of god," for "a surgeon!"
to be sent to Sir Toby who requires one (Line 177)
Olivia asks what's the matter and we quickly learn
that "one Cesario:" (Line 184) has hit Sir Andrew across
the head and "given Sir Toby a bloody coxcomb too" (has
hurt sir Toby too, drawing blood), (Line 179).
Sir Andrew explains that though he thought Cesario
was a "coward," instead "he's the very devil incardinate"
Sir Andrew, meeting Cesario complains to Cesario that
"You broke my head for nothing!" and that what he did
was because he was set upon Cesario by Sir Toby.
Cesario who did not fight Sir Andrew and Sir Toby (Sebastian
fought them) says, "I never hurt you:" (Line 192) explaining
that it was Sir Andrew who drew his sword on him for
no good reason (Line 193) and that Cesario spoke fairly
to him, and certainly did not hurt Sir Andrew and Sir
Sir Andrew disagrees, pointing out his wounds and that
of Sir Toby's who now arrives (Lines 193-197).
Sir Toby Belch, drunk and led by Feste enters, Orsino
asking Toby what's wrong with him (Line 201).
Sir Toby explains that he is hurt, Feste explaining
that the surgeon Sir Toby now asks for has been drunk
now for quite some time.
Feste: "O! he's drunk, Sir Toby, an hour
agone [ago]: his eyes were set at eight i'[in] the morning"
Sir Toby, curses this news, hypocritically saying,
"Then he's a rogue, and a passy-measures pavin.
I hate a drunken rogue" (Lines 208-209).
Olivia, sick of Sir Toby's drunken ranting, orders
him away and that his wounds be tended to. She also
asks earlier "Who hath made this havoc with them?" (Who
has done this to Sir Toby and Sir Andrew?), (Line 211).
Sebastian, the man really responsible for Sir Andrew's
and Sir Toby's wounds, the man Olivia really married
and the source of much confusion, finally enters apologizing
first to Olivia for hurting her kinsman (Sir Andrew
and Sir Toby), (Line 219).
Sebastian explains that what he did had to be done
and that if it had been the brother of his blood, he
would still have acted as he did with "no less with
wit and safety" (Line 221).
Noticing that Olivia looks at him strangely, he says
"You throw a strange regard upon me," (you are looking
at me oddly), (Line 222), worried that he has somehow
offended her and reaffirming that they did marry very
Sebastian also shows his affection for Olivia by saying
"Pardon me, sweet one, even for the vows / We made each
other but so late ago" (Lines 224-225).
The penny now starts to drop as Orsino, still confused,
but seeing both Cesario and Sebastian together who look
virtually identical, remarks "One face, one voice, one
habit, and two persons; / A natural perspective, that
is, and is not!" (Line 227).
Sebastian, seeing Antonio, greets him warmly, explaining
how "the hours rack'd and tortur'd [tortured]
me / Since I have lost thee [you]!" (Line 228).
Antonio asks how Sebastian is, and Antonio seeing both
Cesario and Sebastian, remarks that "An apple cleft
[broken] in two is not more twin [similar] / Than these
two creatures" (an apple split cleanly in two is not
more twin or identical than these two men before me)
before asking "Which is Sebastian?" (Lines 233-234).
Olivia, amazed at seeing two copies of Cesario whom
she loves, exclaims "Most wonderful!" (Line 235).
Sebastian too is surprised, saying he never had a brother
but that "I had a sister, / Whom the blind waves and
surges have devour'd" (I have a sister who drowned
at sea) before asking his doppelganger or replica how
he is related to him (Lines 236-241).
Cesario (Viola) now answers Sebastian's question
of "his" lineage by saying "his"
country is "Messaline:", Sebastian was "his"
father and he had a brother who was also called Sebastian
and that this brother of his, "So went he suited to
his watery tomb" or drowned at sea (Line 243), Cesario
(Viola) describing Sebastian as a spirit since as Cesario
reminds us, "spirits can assume but form and suit" to
frighten whom they please, accusing Sebastian of doing
Sebastian denies that he is a spirit and Cesario (Viola)
says "his" father had a mole on his brow,
Sebastian saying so did his and that he died when Viola
Cesario(Viola) now confirms that "he" is
really a she and that as Viola, she will bring a captain
into town to confirm her story including the fact that
she disguised herself as a man (Lines 259-268).
Cesario makes "his" real identity as Viola
abundantly clear by describing her masculine disguise
as "my masculine usurp'd attire," (Line 260).
Viola also explains that disguised as a man, she was
entrusted by Orsino to serve "this noble count" explaining
that "All the occurrence of my fortune since / Hath
[has] been between this lady [Olivia] and this lord"
Turning to Olivia, Sebastian tells her that "you have
been mistook:" (you have been mistaken) and that "You
would have been contracted [married] to a maid;"
before telling Olivia, "Now are you therein, by my life,
deceiv'd, / You are betroth'd [married] both
to a maid [Viola] and man [Sebastian]" (Lines 269-276).
Orsino accepts Sebastian's explanation of events
to Olivia, (Lines 274-276), telling Viola "Boy, thou
[you] hast [have] said to me a thousand times / Thou
[you] never shouldst [would] love woman like to me [as
you do me]" (Line 277).
Viola for her part reaffirms her never-ending commitment
to Orsino (Lines 279-282).
The Duke now asks Viola to "Give me thee thy [your]
hand; / And let me see thee [you] in thy [in your] woman's
weeds [in woman's clothes]" (Line 283).
Viola explains now that the captain who brought her
to Illyria has her clothes and the need to find Malvolio
arises since Viola explains that the captain has been
kept a prisoner by Malvolio (Lines 284-287).
Olivia orders Malvolio to be brought to them, and Feste
now enters with a letter.
Olivia asks Feste to read Malvolio's letter to
her which he does before Olivia gives the strangely
written letter to Fabian to complete its reading (Lines
Olivia learns from Feste that Malvolio did indeed write
the letter and asks Fabian that Malvolio be brought
With Fabian gone on his errand, Olivia makes plans
for a proper celebration pointing out that she is now
a sister and a wife (wife to Sebastian, sister in law
to Viola, Sebastian's sister), (Line 329).
Orsino graciously accepts Olivia's offer to have
a celebration at Olivia's house at her cost, Olivia
now telling Viola that for her duty to Orsino and her
acting against her own nature (to act as a man) she
will be her former master's (Orsino's) mistress
Fabian returns with Malvolio, Malvolio telling Olivia
that the letter she left for him which he has brought,
clearly expressed her love to him and encouraged him
to wear yellow stockings and to be cross- gartered and
rude to Sir Toby and yet for all his trouble, he has
been imprisoned, kept in a dark house, visited by a
priest and generally been abused, asking Olivia why
she has done this to him (Lines 342-356).
Olivia picking up the letter, immediately realizes
that the handwriting is not hers but her servant Maria's
(Line 359) and that now that she thinks about it, it
was Maria who first told her Malvolio was mad, and then
Malvolio arrived, acting according to this letter's
Olivia tells Malvolio not to worry since when the authors
of this deception are known, she will let Malvolio be
"both the plaintiff and the judge / Of thine own cause"
(both accuser and judge of your own case), (Line 366).
Fabian now confesses that both he and Sir Toby "Set
this device" or manipulation against Malvolio (Line
Furthermore Fabian explains in detail that it was Maria
who "writ / The letter at Sir Toby's great importance;
/ In recompense whereof he hath married her" (It was
Maria who wrote the letter at Sir Toby's persuasion
for which Sir Toby has married her as thanks or compensation),
Fabian comments now that what was once a mere prank
or joke may well have become something more, expressing
some remorse (Lines 277-380).
Olivia hearing this from Fabian, expresses sorrow for
what has happened to the fool (Feste) with the lines,
"Alas, poor fool, how have they baffled thee [you]!"
Feste responds, confirming that Olivia has addressed
him, not Malvolio as is often mistaken, by telling Olivia
that "'some are born great, some achieve greatness,
and some have greatness thrown upon them" (Line 382).
Feste explains that he was temporarily great; he was
after all a certain Sir Topas.
Malvolio now makes it quite clear that he is less than
happy at being humiliated, when he exclaims, "I'll
be reveng'd on the whole pack of you" before storming
off, exiting our view for the last time (Line 390).
Olivia, hearing this, agrees with her steward, remarking
that "He [Malvolio] hath been most notoriously abus'd"
(He has been most terribly or notoriously taken advantage
of or abused), (Line 391).
Orsino advises that Malvolio be pursued and calmed
down since as Orsino points out, Malvolio has still
not told them about the captain he has detained which
we will remember has Viola's clothes (Lines 392-395).
Addressing Olivia now, Orsino tells her to stay here,
addressing her as "sweet sister," by which he means
he now sees her as his sister in law and nothing more.
Bidding Cesario to come closer to him, Orsino tells
her while she is still clothed as a man she shall remain
Cesario the man "But when in other habits you are
seen, Orsino's mistress, and his fancy's queen"
(but when you are seen in other habits or dressed as
a woman, you will be Orsino's mistress and his
fancy's or admirations's queen or the queen
of his heart), (Lines 398-400).
All leave except Feste, who now alone, sings a five
verse ( five part) song of life detailing the life of
a young man from childhood through life ending in the
first four verses with the same line "For the rain it
raineth every day" suggesting the timelessness of nature
which will exist long after each man has past away.
The last verse announces the end of the play with the
words "our play is done," ending with the lines "And
we'll strive to please you every day."