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Act 1, Scene 3 Notes from Twelfth Night

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Twelfth Night Act 1, Scene 3

Sir Toby Belch, Olivia's drunken relative, talks with Maria, her maid. He says that Olivia is overreacting to her brother's death: she should be enjoying life more. Maria ignores him, telling him that he has to stop staying out so late--Olivia doesn't like it. Toby brushes this off, teasing Maria and saying that he will do whatever he wants. He will not pretend to be better than he is: "I'll confine myself no finer than I am." Act 1, Scene 3, line 10 Maria says that Olivia has been talking about Sir Toby's foolishness and, particularly, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, the silly man he has brought to court, who has fallen in love with Olivia. Sir Toby protests that Sir Andrew is rich, but Maria retorts that he spends all his money so quickly that it doesn't matter how rich he is. Sir Toby claims that Sir Andrew is a good musician and speaks several languages well, but Maria isn't convinced: she says his only talents are arguing, being a coward, and generally being a fool. She adds that people say that Andrew gets drunk with Toby every night. Toby protests that they drink toasts to Olivia. Just then Andrew arrives, and he clearly is a complete fool. He tries to compliment Maria by calling her a shrew, and doesn't understand when Sir Toby tries to explain who she is. Fed up, Maria starts to leave, and Toby urges Andrew to try to keep her there. She teases him without him realizing it.

Topic Tracking: Jokes 1


Once Maria is gone, the men begin to talk about drinking. Sir Toby is surprised that Andrew doesn't have a cup of sweet wine. Sir Andrew jokes wittily about it, then says, "Methinks sometimes I have no more wit than a Christian or an ordinary man has." Act 1, Scene 3, line 82 He says he is going home, and when Toby asks him "Porquoi?" he doesn't even understand this simple French word ("why?") and makes himself look even sillier by wishing aloud he hadn't spent so much time doing foolish things instead of learning. Toby teases him about his hair, telling him that it would have curled if he had had a better education, and Andrew takes him seriously.

Topic Tracking: Jokes 2

Andrew says he is leaving because Olivia will never love him: he cannot compete with Orsino. Toby says that isn't true: Olivia will never love Orsino. Andrew abruptly decides he will stay another month, and comments on how strange his own mind is. Toby asks him if he is a good dancer, and he says he is. Toby wonders why he should keep his talents hidden, and they begin to dance.

Topic Tracking: Jokes 3

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