Olivia enters with Maria, but speaking to the audience: she confides that Cesario is coming soon. She asks Maria to get Malvolio to wait on them, though Maria says he's acting very strangely. Called, Malvolio enters, dressed in yellow stockings, smiling and joking. Olivia asks what's wrong with him. He hints that he has gotten her letter, and, when Maria asks him a question, he says he is too good to answer her. Malvolio quotes lines from the letter - "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them" - but Olivia has no idea what he's talking about, or the cause of his "midsummer madness." A servant enters, announcing that Cesario has arrived. Olivia says she'll go see him, and asks Maria to go find Sir Toby to take care of Malvolio. Alone, Malvolio guesses that Olivia is having Sir Toby take care of him so that he can teach Sir Toby to properly respect him, and takes this as confirmation that Olivia does indeed want to marry him.
Sir Toby enters with Maria and Fabian. They all pretend that they think he has gone mad, perhaps been possessed by the devil. Fabian tries to talk to Malvolio, but Malvolio shoos him away. Sir Toby tells him to fight off the devil. Maria hopes Malvolio isn't entirely lost. Fabian tells Sir Toby to be gentle, and Maria instructs him to say his prayers. Running off, Malvolio curses them all. Sir Toby guesses they can carry this joke to the point where Malvolio is bound in a dark room, condemned as insane. Sir Andrew enters with a piece of paper. It's the challenge he's written to Cesario - they praise the bravery of the challenge, while joking among themselves at Sir Andrew's foolishness. Maria tells Sir Andrew that Cesario is at the moment talking to Olivia, and Sir Toby tells him he should go challenge his rival now, and Sir Andrew leaves to do so. Certain that Sir Andrew's letter won't scare Cesario at all, Sir Toby plans to spread rumors of Sir Andrew's bravery and rage, which will so frighten Cesario that "he'll" try to kill Sir Andrew on the spot.
Olivia and Cesario enter together, and everyone else leaves. Olivia gives Cesario a jewel bearing a picture of her, and offers "him" anything "he" wants - but she requests only Olivia's love for her master. Olivia asks how she can offer her love to both men, and Cesario responds that "he" could forgive her for it. She asks "him" to come tomorrow, fearful that "his" charms could carry her to hell. Olivia leaves, and Sir Toby enters with Fabian. Greeting "him," Sir Toby warns Cesario of a man whom "he" has wronged, who is now furious and demanding revenge. Cesario insists that "he" has no quarrels with any man, but Sir Toby warns "him" to be careful. Sir Toby describes him (Sir Andrew): a knight, a devil, and a murderer. Cesario insists that "he" has done nothing wrong, and has no interest in fighting anyone. Sir Toby departs, leaving Fabian with Cesario. Fabian confirms what Sir Toby has said - there's a knight in a fury at Cesario, one much stronger and more dangerous than he looks. Fabian offers to try to make peace, and Cesario says "he" would be thankful if he could, and they exit together.
Sir Toby then enters with Sir Andrew, telling him what a dangerous man Cesario is. Hearing this, Sir Andrew is ready to give up on the duel, but Sir Toby insists that he stand his ground, and that he'll be safe in the end. Cesario enters with Fabian, who whispers with Sir Toby about just how frightened Sir Andrew looks. Sir Toby tells Cesario that Sir Andrew is ready to fight, making Viola confess to the audience that she wants to admit that she isn't a man.
Sir Toby orders them to begin fighting, and they draw their swords - at which point Antonio enters. Antonio draws his own sword protecting Cesario from Sir Andrew. (Since Viola is Sebastian's twin, and is dressed as a man as Cesario, Antonio thinks that Cesario is Sebastian). Officers then enter, and Sir Andrew and Cesario sheathe their swords. The officers arrest Antonio on behalf of Orsino. Acknowledging that he must go with them, Antonio asks Cesario for the money he gave to Sebastian earlier. Cesario of course doesn't know what Antonio's talking about but gives him money nonetheless for protecting "him" from Sir Andrew. Antonio asks why Cesario refuses to return the money, considering how kind he has been to "him" (to Sebastian, that is) in the past. Cesario insists that "he" doesn't know Antonio. Antonio tells how he saved this "man" from death at sea, and that now Sebastian is doing shame to himself by refusing to acknowledge it. The officers take Antonio away. Viola confides to the audience that she hopes what she guesses is the case - that Antonio is mistaking her for her brother, who is still alive. Viola exits, praying that her brother has indeed been saved from shipwreck. The men curse Cesario for running away like a coward, and Sir Andrew vows to fight Cesario. Sir Andrew runs after his imagined rival, with Sir Toby and Fabian following.
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Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Scenes 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3
Scenes 1.4 and 1.5
Scenes 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3
Scenes 2.4 and 2.5
Scenes 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3
Scenes 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3