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Act 3, Scene 4 Notes from Twelfth Night

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Twelfth Night Act 3, Scene 4

Olivia asks for Malvolio, saying his solemn attitude suits her depressed mood, and Maria says he is coming, but is acting very strangely. Indeed, Malvolio comes in and smiles happily in his ridiculous clothing. Olivia tells him she is sad, and he ignores her, responding with suggestive comments. Maria asks him what is wrong with him, and he insults her (as the letter instructed him to do.) He quotes from the letter, and Olivia of course has no idea what he is talking about. She murmurs, "Why, this is very midsummer madness." Act 3, Scene 4, line 55 Just then, a servant reports that Cesario is back. Olivia goes off to meet him, telling Maria to tell Toby to take care of Malvolio. Left alone for a moment, Malvolio muses about how well everything is turning out. He believes that Olivia's concern for his health means that she loves him (she merely worries that he is insane.) Toby, Fabian, and Maria come in. They try to speak with Malvolio, but he haughtily refuses. Malvolio acts so strange that they wonder if he is possessed. Toby desperately tries to control him, saying that the others are just making him more excited. Malvolio gets angry and runs away, leaving the others to marvel at how well their trick has worked. They agree to continue the game until they get sick of it, at which time they'll explain what they've done. Just then, Andrew comes in. He is very proud of the letter he has written to Cesario, which is full of nonsense and unintentional meanings. It begins, "Youth, whatsoever thou art, thou art but a scurvy fellow." Act 3, Scene 4, line 149

Sir Toby and the others compliment this ridiculous and clumsy sentence, then make fun of him behind his back. Toby offers to give the letter to Cesario, and tells Andrew to swear at Cesario whenever he sees him, in order to scare him. After Andrew leaves, Toby tells the others that he will have to rewrite the letter from Andrew. Toby can tell that Cesario is an educated gentleman, and if he were to receive Andrew's letter, he would recognize that it was from an idiot, and would ignore it. He will write a truly frightening letter, and then report back to Andrew that Cesario is a terrifying warrior. Toby says, "This will so fright them both that they will kill each other by the look." Act 3, Scene 4, line 196 Olivia and Cesario arrive, and Toby decides to hide, thinking about what he will say to Cesario once Olivia's gone. Olivia says that she knows she should not speak about her love to Cesario, since he cannot love her back, but she can't help herself. Her love is so strong, it's out of her control. Cesario only comments that the Duke loves Olivia in much the same way. Though Cesario will not be moved by Olivia's pleas for him to love her, he agrees to return again the next day. Olivia leaves, and Toby and Fabian approach Cesario. Toby says that he has no idea why, but Andrew hates him, so he should be prepared to fight. Cesario is sure there must be a mistake. Toby says there's no mistake, and describes in great detail what a deadly, terrifying man Andrew is. Cesario begs Toby to find out why Andrew hates him so much, and Toby agrees, leaving Cesario with Fabian for a moment. Cesario asks Fabian about Andrew, but Fabian only echoes Sir Toby--Andrew is very dangerous, and Fabian has no idea why he is angry at Cesario. Fabian agrees to help Cesario make peace with Andrew. They walk off, and Andrew and Toby come in. Toby tells Andrew that Cesario is brave and vicious. Andrew tries to back out of the fight, but Toby tells him that now Cesario will not let him. Andrew asks Toby to tell Cesario that if he gives up the fight, he will give Cesario his horse. Toby agrees, then says to himself, "I'll ride your horse as well as I ride you." Act 3, Scene 4, line 295

Fabian and Toby speak privately about how terrified Cesario and Andrew are of each other. They each tell one of the men that the other man does not want to hurt him, but has to fight him for honor's sake. Just as Cesario and Andrew draw their swords, Antonio arrives. He sees Cesario and mistakes him for Sebastian (as Sebastian said, Viola and he look exactly alike, so when Viola is dressed as a man, she appears to be Sebastian). Antonio swears to defend Sebastian. Suddenly two officers from Duke Orsino's court arrive to arrest Antonio, presumably because he is still an enemy of the town. Antonio asks Cesario (believing him to be Sebastian) for his purse back, and of course Cesario has no idea what he is talking about. Antonio is outraged that his friend could treat him this way. Furious, he describes how he saved Sebastian's life, and when he says the name "Sebastian," Viola (Cesario) realizes that Antonio is talking about her brother. Viola runs off to find her brother. Toby and Fabian tell Andrew that Cesario is running away as a coward, and Andrew vows to beat Cesario for it.

Topic Tracking: Disguise 9

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