Summary. Characters. About Twelfth Night. The Elizabethan Era and Shakespeare. Classroom Activities and Discussion. Theatre Etiquette. Learning More. Get all the key plot points of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night on one page. From the creators of Get the entire Twelfth Night LitChart as a printable PDF. Complete summary of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. eNotes In Twelfth Night, Orsino attempts to woo the Countess Olivia. print Print; document PDF.

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Various critics divide Twelfth Night into various types of plots and/or subplots. already gotten on the wrong side of Maria, Feste, and Sir Toby, and the plot. It is often said that whereas As You Like It has a minimalist plot, Twelfth Night So perhaps we should begin with a summary, and get a sense of how the play is. At the beginning of the play Viola is afraid to live alone in the world as a woman so she decides to disguise herself as a young man. She calls herself Cesario.

Act I.

Orsino, The Duke of Illyria reveals his great love for the rich Countess Olivia who we learn has decided to veil herself for seven years to honor her recently deceased brother's memory. Profoundly impressed by this, the Duke continues his pursuit of Olivia undeterred Viola is introduced to us as a survivor of a shipwreck. Her brother was lost at sea but may not be dead. Viola learns from the Sea Captain of their doomed ship that they are now in Illyria, which is ruled by Orsino.

Identifying with Olivia's grief, Viola wishes to serve Olivia but when she learns this will be impossible, Viola instead has the Sea Captain disguise her as a boy so she can serve Orsino, The Duke of Illyria. Sir Toby, Olivia's cousin is introduced. We quickly discover that he drinks a great deal, keeps late hours and is generally rowdy by nature. Maria, Lady Olivia's maid makes this clear to us in her unsuccessful attempts to quieten Sir Toby down.

Sir Andrew Aguecheek is now introduced, quickly revealing himself to be rich but rather dim unintelligent. Realizing Olivia will not be courted by him, Sir Andrew makes preparations to leave but Sir Toby convinces Sir Andrew to stay a month longer, no doubt so Sir Toby can use Sir Andrew and his great wealth further Viola has successfully disguised herself as a man named Cesario. Her success with Orsino has been so great that she is now a favorite with Orsino who believes Viola to be the man named Cesario.

As such, Orsino entrusts Cesario Viola to express his love for Olivia. Cesario, Viola deeply divided by her own love for Orsino, nonetheless dutifully represents Orsino.

Olivia's maid is angry with Feste, Olivia's Clown.

The Twelfth Night PDF

Feste redeems himself with Lady Olivia by telling her she should not mourn her brother since he is in a better place, namely heaven. Olivia is pleased, but Olivia's uptight steward, Malvolio is not, regarding Feste as old and lacking in wit. Olivia gives us an insight into Malvolio's character by saying that he suffers from self-love or is arrogant and vain.

Cesario Viola petitions Lady Olivia, eventually gaining her audience. Olivia is quite taken by Cesario but tells him, she cannot return Orsino's affections for her. Olivia would however like to see Cesario Viola again, asking him to come back to report to her how Orsino took the news.

Intrigued by Cesario, Olivia sends Malvolio after him to give back a ring Cesario left behind as an excuse to express her affection for him Act II.

What Is Twelfth Night About? - Plot & Summary

Sebastian, the twin brother Viola feared had died at sea, has also survived the shipwreck. Like Viola he mourns the loss of his sibling, believing his sister Viola to be dead. Antonio, the man who saved Sebastian's life is touched by Sebastian's loss and decides to follow Sebastian to the Duke of Orsino's court even though he has many enemies there.

Sebastian nobly tries to talk Antonio out of this, but Antonio is eventually accepted by Sebastian to travel with him to the Duke's court. Malvolio catches up with Cesario Viola , rudely returning Cesario's ring to him.

Cesario is confused, he left no such ring at Lady Olivia's house. Malvolio also conveys Olivia's desire that Cesario return to confirm that Orsino has accepted the fact that she does not love him.

Cesario now realizes that the ring is a ploy by Olivia to express her affections for him. Realizing she has charmed Olivia, Cesario remarks that Olivia would do better chasing a dream than a man who really is a woman Viola in disguise.

Cesario is distressed by this mess and hopes time will undo this tangled web. This gets Maria's attention who warns all three men to quieten down lest Malvolio notices. The three men ignore Maria. Furious, he accosts her.

When she tells him he should not take things so seriously, he threatens that he will have revenge against them all and storms off. The happy couples await their marriage ceremony. Sign In Sign Up.

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Twelfth Night Synopsis

The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of every Shakespeare play. LitCharts From the creators of SparkNotes, something better. Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare.

Download this LitChart! Themes All Themes. Symbols All Symbols. Theme Wheel. Understand every line of Twelfth Night. Cite This Page. MLA Chicago. Weigel, Moira. Retrieved January 13, Copy to Clipboard. Download this Chart PDF. They're like having in-class notes for every discussion! Get the Teacher Edition. My students love how organized the handouts are and enjoy tracking the themes as a class. Twelfth Night in Plain English.

Olivia shows up during the scuffle and, mistaking Sebastian for Cesario, calls Toby and Andrew off at once. She immediately asks Sebastian to marry her.


Sebastian is mystified. But, seeing that Olivia is beautiful and wealthy, he accepts her offer. Meanwhile, Olivia's belief that Malvolio is mad, has allowed Maria, Toby, and the others to lock him up in a dark cell for "treatment. However, Sir Toby starts to get worried, since he knows how angry Olivia already is with him for attacking Sebastian or, as she thinks, Cesario.

Therefore, they let Malvolio send a letter to Olivia, arguing his case and demanding to be released.

Cesario and Orsino visit Olivia's house. Olivia welcomes Cesario as her husband, thinking that he is Sebastian. Orsino is shocked and enraged, but when Sebastian himself arrives on the scene, everything falls into place.

Viola and Sebastian are reunited. Now aware that Cesario is in fact the woman, Viola, Orsino declares that he is in love with her and asks her to marry him.

It is reported that Sir Toby and Maria have also married privately. Finally, Olivia remembers Malvolio and summons him out of the dark room.Act I. Read our modern English translation. Symbols All Symbols.

Olivia would however like to see Cesario Viola again, asking him to come back to report to her how Orsino took the news. Students love them!

In a comical twist, Antonio arrives on the scene and thinking cesario to be Sebastian he fights Sir Andrew on his behalf but Antonio is captured by Officers. Muhammad Tayyab Ahmad.

As such, Orsino entrusts Cesario Viola to express his love for Olivia.