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Scenes 1.4 and 1.5

Scene 1.4 - Orsino's palace

Valentine enters with Viola, disguised as a man (Cesario), and Valentine remarks on how much the Duke likes his new servant, after only three days. Orsino enters, and asks Cesario (Viola), to whom he says he has revealed his soul, to go to Olivia's house and stay until "he" can convince her to speak with Orsino. Answering Cesario's worry that "he" won't succeed against Olivia's resolute sorrow, Orsino instructs "him" to be brave, impolite if necessary, and to act out just how sorrowful Orsino is. Still, Cesario seems reluctant, but Orsino argues that "his" womanly face and voice will be the finest instrument to convince Olivia. Finally, Cesario agrees, offering to do "his" best, but, as she leaves, Viola whispers to the audience that what she really wants is to be Orsino's wife.

Scene 1.5 - Olivia's house

Maria enters with Feste, Olivia's "fool" (a sort of court jester whose job is to entertain his employers and make jokes at their expense). Maria warns him that Olivia will be furious at him for having disappeared for so long, saying he will be "hung" for it. Playing on the bawdy connotations of "hung," Feste jests with her, concluding that fools, without wisdom, must use their talents. Maria jokes that he'd be the wittiest man in Illyria if Sir Toby stopped drinking. Olivia enters, and asks that the fool be taken away, but Feste replies that she's the fool, and mocks her mourning. Malvolio, Olivia's servant, argues that he can't understand why people enjoy fools, but Olivia chides him for his seriousness and self-importance. Maria enters, announcing that one of Orsino's men is at the door, but is being delayed by Sir Toby. Olivia asks Malvolio to send Orsino's man away. Dead drunk, Sir Toby comes in and announces there's a gentleman at the door. Malvolio returns, reporting that Orsino's man insists on speaking with her; Olivia allows him to come in, and puts on her mourning veil.
Entering, Cesario praises Olivia for her beauty, demanding to know if she is really the lady of the house. Olivia insists she is, and demands to know the message. It's a very good and poetical message, "he" claims, and "he" wants to be certain it finds the right recipient. Cesario requests privacy, and Olivia sends all her servants away. Asked by Olivia where "his" message is written, Cesario answers that it is a message written on Orsino's heart. "He" asks Olivia to remove her veil. She does, and Cesario mockingly condemns her for denying the world her beauty. Cesario relates how love-sick her master is for her, but Olivia, while she praises Orsino as a noble, handsome, and intelligent man, insists that she will accept no suitors. If "he" loved her as Orsino does, Cesario says, "he" would do nothing in life but write love poems to her and cry out her name into the air. Impressed with Cesario's poetic talents, Olivia asks "his" parentage; "he" is, Cesario says, a "gentleman." Olivia sends Cesario away, offering "him" money for "his" troubles; Cesario refuses the money and, leaving, chides Olivia for her cruelty towards Orsino. Alone, Olivia admits that she has fallen in love with Cesario, and wishes the master who sends her messages were the servant who delivers them. Malvolio enters; Cesario, Olivia says, has left a ring behind, and Olivia sends her servant to return it.

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
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
Scene 3.4
Scenes 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3
Scene 5.1


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