Twelfth Night - Stuff That Happens in the Play

If music be the food of love, play on.

  • Orsino, Duke of Illyria, expresses his love for the mourning Lady Olivia, who is not admitting the Duke’s men sent to woo for him. 
  • Viola arrives in Illyria after a shipwreck, which seems to have killed her twin brother.  She decides to disguise herself as a man and serve the Duke. 
  • Olivia’s gentlewoman, Maria, chides Olivia’s kinsman, Sir Toby Belch, for staying out too late, for drinking too much, and for bringing in a foolish knight, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, to woo Olivia. 
  • The Duke sends his new servant, Cesario (the disguised Viola), to woo Olivia for him.  Cesario/Viola confesses “whoe’er I woo, myself would be his wife.” 
  • Maria, Olivia, and Malvolio all chide Feste, Olivia’s clown, for being absent from Olivia’s household.  Feste regains the favor of Olivia while earning the scorn of Malvolio. 
  • Cesario arrives to woo Olivia for the Duke; Olivia says she cannot love the Duke; when Cesario leaves, Olivia confesses affection for Cesario. 
  • Olivia then pretends that Cesario gave her a ring from the Duke and sends Malvolio to run after Cesario and return the ring. 
  • Malvolio “returns” the ring and Cesario/Viola realizes Olivia is in love with him/her.  
  • Viola’s twin brother, Sebastian, is still alive and tells the man who saved him, Antonio, that his sister is drowned and that he must leave Antonio and go to Orsino’s court. 
  • After Sebastian departs, Antonio confesses he has enemies in Orsino’s court, but he will follow Sebastian anyway. 
  • Toby, Andrew, and Feste stay up late singing and drinking. Maria advises them to be quieter; Malvolio then breaks up the party and threatens to report them all to Olivia. 
  • Maria devises a plan to put Malvolio in his place. 
  • Cesario/Viola falls more deeply in love with the Duke, while Olivia falls more deeply in love with Cesario/Viola. 
  • Sebastian arrives in Illyria. 
  • Yellow stockings, dark rooms, challenges, and marriage proposals ensue.