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Abridged Twelfth Night/#1/Background/Act 1, Scenes 1-2

The play opens with one of Shakespeare’s famous lines:
“If music be the food of love, play on.”
The line was spoken by Orsino, the Duke of Illyria; Illyria mostly being
present day Croatia, its western border on the Adriatic Sea.  Early on, Orsino is referred to as the Duke,
but he is more often called Count Orsino.  Orsino is in love with Olivia, a wealthy
countess, grieving over the recent death of her brother. He says “It seems she
purified the air of anything infectious,” so in love he is.  One of his servingmen enters to say he’s
heard from Olivia’s handmaid that “till seven years’ heat she shall not behold
her face at ample view, all this for the love of her dead brother, which she
would keep fresh and lasting in her sad remembrance.”  Orsino doesn’t quite get it, saying “If she
that hath a heart of that fine frame to pay this debt of love to a brother,
away before me to sweet beds of flowers!”  They exit.
Separately, a young lady named Viola and a sea captain enter the stage, both
having survived a shipwreck on Illyria’s rocky shore. Viola asks the Captain
“What should I do in Illyria?”  She fears
her twin brother has drowned as a result of the shipwreck.  The Captain tells her that he last saw him
“tied to a strong mast that lived upon the sea.”  She says “Mine own escape unfoldeth to my
hope.”  She asks “Who governs here?”  The Captain says “Orsino, a noble duke, in
nature as in name.”  She says “I have
heard my father name him.  He was a
bachelor then.”  The Captain says “And so
is now, or was of very late, but a month ago I heard he did seek the love of
fair Olivia.”  Viola asks “What’s
she?”  The Captain says “A virtuous maid,
the daughter of a count, who died some twelvemonth since, leaving her in
protection of her brother, who shortly also died, for whose dear love, they
say, she hath abjured the company of men.”
She says to the Captain “Keep secret what I am, and be my aid for such
disguise.  I’ll serve this duke.  Thou shalt present me as a eunuch to him.
What else may happen, to time I will commit.
Only shape thou thy silence to my plan.”
The Captain says “Be thou his eunuch, and your mute I’ll be.” She thanks
him and says “Lead me on.”

Abridged Twelfth Night/#2/Entourage/Act 1, Scene 3

The scene opens at Olivia’s estate with her entourage on
stage.  Sir Toby Belch says “What a
plague means my niece to take the death of her brother thus?”  Maria, Olivia’s gentlewoman, says “Sir Toby,
you must come in earlier o’ nights. Your cousin, my lady, takes exception to
your ill hours. Your quaffing and drinking will undo you.  I heard my lady talk of it yesterday, and of
a foolish knight that you have brought in to be her wooer.”  Sir Toby says “Who, Sir Andrew
Aguecheek?”  Maria says “Ay, he.”  Toby defends him.  Maria counters his arguments, saying
“moreover, he’s drunk nightly in your company.”
Sir Andrew enters.  Andrew and
Maria bicker.  Maria exits.  Sir Andrew tells Sir Toby “I’ll home tomorrow.
Your niece will not be seen, or if she be, it’s four to one she’ll none of me. The
Duke himself here woos her.”  Toby says
“She’ll none o’ th’ Count.”  Andrew
responds “I’ll stay a month longer.
Shall we set about some revels?”
Toby replies “What shall we do else?”

Abridged Twelfth Night/#3/Challenge/Act 1, Scene 4

The scene shifts to Orsino’s palace.  Viola has been employed by Orsino. She has
disguised herself as a eunuch, with the Captain’s help.  She has named herself Cesario, a name she’ll
use for the balance of the play.  A
Servingman enters and says “If the Duke continues these favors towards you,
Cesario, you are like to be much advanced.”
Orsino and others enter. Orsino, blinded with love for the countess, demands
that Cesario to “go unto Olivia. Be not denied. Stand at her doors and tell
them, there thy fixed foot shall grow till thou are admitted to speak with
her.”  Cesario notes that from what I
hear “she never will admit me.”  Orsino
says “Be clamorous and leap all civil bounds rather than make an unsuccessful
return.”  Cesario goes to ask “what if I
do speak to her, what then?”  He says
“then unfold the passion of my love.
Surprise her with discourse of my dear faith. She will attend it better
in thy youth.”  Cesario says “I think not
so, my lord.”  Orsino says “Dear lad,
believe it. Prosper well with this and thou shalt live as freely as thy lord,
to call his fortunes thine.”  Cesario
says “I’ll do my best to woo your lady.”
Having herself fallen for Orsino, Cesario aside says “Whoe’er I woo,
myself would be his wife.”

Abridged Twelfth Night/#4/Introduction/Act 1, Scene 5.1

The scene shifts to Olivia’s estate.  Maria and Feste (the Fool) are on stage, and
Maria is upset with him. They bicker.
Lady Olivia is about to enter.
Maria says “Here comes my lady.
Make your excuse wisely, if you know what’s best.”  Lady Olivia enters with Malvolio.  Malvolio is Olivia’s steward.  Feste greets Olivia saying “Better a witty
Fool than a foolish wit.  God bless thee,
lady!”  Olivia says “Take the Fool
away.”  Feste replies “The Lady bade take
away the Fool.  Therefore, I say again,
take her away.”  Olivia says “What think
you of this Fool, Malvolio?”  Malvolio replies “Infirmity, that decays the wise, doth ever make the better Fool.”  Feste responds “God send you, sir, a speedy
infirmity, for the better increasing your folly.”  Malvolio says “I marvel your Ladyship takes
delight in such a barren rascal.”  Olivia
replies “O, you are sick of self-love, Malvolio.  There is no slander in an allowed Fool.”  Feste says “Thou speak’st well of
Fools!”  Maria enters and says “Madam,
there is at the gate a young gentleman much desires to speak with you.”  Olivia says “To you, Malvolio. If it be a
suit from the Count, I am sick, or not at home; what you will.”  He exits.
Malvolio re-enters and says “Madam, yond young fellow swears he will
speak with you.  He’s fortified against
any denial.  He says he’ll stand at your
door like a carved post.”  She asks “Of
what personage and years is he?”  He says
“’He’s between boy and man.  He is very
well favored, and he speaks like a woman.”
Olivia says “Let him approach.”
Cesario enters and says “The honorable lady of the house, which is
she?”  Olivia says “Speak to me.  I shall answer for her. Your will?  Whence came you, sir?”  Persistent Cesario asks “Are you the lady of
the house?  Olivia replies “If I do not
usurp myself, I am.  Come to what is
important.  I heard you were saucy at my
gates. If you have reason, be brief.
Tell me your mind.”  Cesario says
“I am a messenger.”

Abridged Twelfth Night/#5/Love/Act 1, Scene 5.2

Olivia and Cesario begin a conversation and Olivia is
eager to get on with it and beyond it.
Olivia says “What have you been asked to say?”  Cesario says “It alone concerns your
ear.  I hold the olive branch in my hand.
My words are full of peace.”  Olivia is
intrigued, saying “Give us the place alone.
We will hear this divinity.”  Maria
and attendants exit.  Olivia asks “Where
lies your text?”  Cesario says “In
Orsino’s bosom.”  Olivia asks “In
Orsino’s bosom.  Have you no more to
say?”  Cesario says “Good madam, let me
see your face.”  Olivia removes her veil
and says “Is ‘t not well done?”  Cesario
says “Excellently done, if God did all.”
Olivia famously says “Sir, ‘twill endure wind and weather.”  Cesario says “Lady, you are the cruel’st she
alive if you will lead these graces to the grave and leave the world no
copy.”  Olivia asks “Were you sent hither
to praise me?”  Cesario says “You are too
proud.  My lord loves you.”  Olivia asks “How does he love me?”  Cesario says “With fertile tears, groans that
thunder love, with sighs of fire.”
Olivia says “Your lord does know my mind.  I cannot love him. He might have taken his
answer long ago.”  Cesario says “If I did
love you in my master’s flame, I would write loyal ballads of disdained love, and
sing them loud even in the dead of night; cry out Olivia.”  Olivia says “You might do much.  What is your parentage?”  Cesario says “I am a gentleman.”  Olivia says “Get you to your lord.  I cannot love him. Let him send no more —
unless you come to me again to tell me how he takes it.”  She offers money.  Cesario says “Keep your purse. Farewell, fair
cruelty.”  Cesario exits.  Olivia has fallen hard for Cesario.  She says “I feel this youth’s perfections
with an invisible and subtle stealth do creep in at mine eyes. What ho,
Malvolio.”  Malvolio enters.  Olivia tells him to “Run after that same
peevish messenger, the count’s servant.
He left this ring behind him.
Tell him I’ll none of it.”  She
hands him a ring.  She says to Malvolio
“If that the youth will come this way tomorrow, I’ll give him reasons for
‘t.  Hurry, Malvolio.”  Malvolio says “Madam, I will.”

Abridged Twelfth Night/#6/Arrival/Act 2, Scenes 1-2

Sebastian, Viola’s twin brother, enters Illyria.  Antonio, the sailor who saved Sebastian from
the shipwreck, arrives with him.
Sebastian says “You must know of me, Antonio, my name is Sebastian.  My father was that Sebastian of Messaline
whom I know you have heard of.  He left
behind him myself and a sister, both born in an hour.  For some hour before you took me from the
breach of the sea was my sister drowned.”
Antonio replies “Alas the day!”
Sebastian says “A lady, sir, though it was said she much resembled me,
was yet of many accounted beautiful.”
Antonio says “Let me be your servant.”
Sebastian doesn’t answer him, saying “I am bound to the Count Orsino’s
court.  Farewell.”  He exits.
Antonio says “I have many enemies in Orsino’s court.  But come what may, I will go.”  Separately, Malvolio finds Cesario and asks
‘Were not you even now with the Countess Olivia?”  Cesario replies “Even now, sir.”  Malvolio says “She returns this ring to you,
sir. She adds, you should let your lord know she will not have him.  And one thing more, that you never come again in his affairs, unless it be to report your lord’s taking of this.”  Malvolio throws down the ring.  Cesario says “I left no ring with her.  What means this lady?”  He (she) picks up the ring.  Malvolio exits.  Cesario lets us know that he knows Olivia has
fallen for him.  Cesario says “Poor lady,
she were better to love a dream.  My
master loves her dearly, and I, poor disguise, fond as much on him, and she,
mistaken, seems to dote on me.  What will
become of this? O Time, thou must untangle this, not I.  It is too hard a knot for me t’ untie.”

Abridged Twelfth Night/#7/Revenge/Act 2, Scene 3

Toby and Andrew are having a party for themselves at
Olivia’s estate.  Toby asks “Do not our
lives consist of the four elements?”
Andrew replies “Faith, I think it rather consists of eating and
drinking.”  Toby says “Thou’rt a
scholar.”  Feste the Fool enters.  Toby says to him “Let’s have a song.”  The Fool sings “O mistress mine, where are
your roaming? O, stay and hear! Your truelove’s coming, that can sing both high
and low.”  Maria enters and says “For the
love o’ God, peace!”  Malvolio enters and
says “My masters, are you mad?  Have you no wit, manners, nor honesty but to gabble like tinkers at this time of night? Do you make an ale-house of my lady’s house?”
He exits.  Maria says “Sometimes
he is a kind of puritan.”  Andrew says
“O, if I thought that, I’d beat him like a dog!”  Toby says “What, for a being a puritan?”  Andrew replies “I have no exquisite reason
for ‘t, but I have reason good enough.”
Maria says “He is not a puritan, but rather a flatterer, an affected
ass, crammed with excellencies, and on those vices will my revenge find notable
cause to work.”  Toby asks “What wilt
thou do?”  She says “I will drop in his
way some obscure epistles of love.  I can
write very much like my lady your niece.”
Toby says “I smell a device.”
Maria says “For this night, to bed, and dream on the event.
Farewell.”  She exits.  Toby says “She’s a beagle true bred, and one
that adores me.”  Andrew says “I was
adored once, too.”  They exit.

Abridged Twelfth Night/#8/Persistence/Act 2, Scene 4

The scene shifts back to Orsino’s estate.  Orsino and Cesario are on stage.  Music is playing.  Romantic Orsino says to Cesario “If ever thou
shalt love, in the sweet pangs of it remember me, for such as I am, all true
lovers are.  How does thou like this
tune?”  Cesario says “It gives the very
echo to the seat where love is throned.”
Orsino says “Thou dost speak masterly.
Thine eye hath some favor that it loves, hath it not, boy?  What kind of woman is it?”  Cesario says “About your years, my
lord.”  Orsino says “Too old, by
heaven.  Let thy love be younger than
thyself, for women are as roses, whose fair flower, being once displayed, doth
fall that very hour.”  Cesario says
“Alas, that they are so, to die even when they to perfection grow.”  Orsino says “Once more, Cesario, get thee to yond
cruel woman who rules my life.  Tell her
of my love, more noble than the world.”
Cesario asks “But if she cannot love you, sir?”  Orsino says “I cannot be so answered.”  Cesario says “Sooth, but you must. Say that
some lady hath for your love as great a pang as you have for Olivia. You tell
her you cannot love her. Must she not then take that as final?”  Orsino responds “No woman’s heart can endure
the beating of so strong a passion as love doth give my heart.  Do not compare between that love a woman can
bear me and that I owe Olivia.”  Cesario
says “But I know —.”  Orsino
interrupts, saying “What dost thou know?”
Cesario says “Too well what love women to men may owe. In faith, they
are as true of heart as we. My father had a daughter loved a man as it might
be, perhaps, were I a woman, I should your Lordship.”  Orsino says “And what’s her history?”  Cesario says “A blank, my lord.  She never told her love.  We men may say more, swear more, but indeed
we prove much in our vows but little in our love.  Sir, shall I to this lady?”  Orsino says “Ay, that’s the theme. To her in
haste. Give her this jewel. Accept no denial.”

Abridged Twelfth Night/#9/Trick/Act 2, Scene 5

Sir Toby, Sir Andrew and Fabian, another gentleman in
Olivia’s household, are on stage.  Maria
enters.  Toby says “Here comes the little
villain.”  She says “Get you all three
into the shrubbery.  Observe him, for the
love of mockery, for I know this letter will make a contemplative idiot of
him.”  They hide.  She exits.
Malvolio enters.  Malvolio says to
himself “’Tis but fortune, all is fortune.
Maria once told me that Olivia loved
me.”  Aside, Toby says “Here’s an
overweening rogue.”  Fabian says “Look
how imagination swells him.”  Malvolio
thinks dreamily of his being with Olivia.
He imagines how he can command Toby. He picks up the letter.  He says “By my life, this is my lady’s
hand.”  He reads “To the unknown beloved,
this, and my good wishes.”  He says “Her
very phrases.”  He reads “Be not afraid
of greatness.  The fates open their hands.
Let thy blood and spirit embrace them. Be opposite with a kinsman, surly with
servants. Remember who commended thy yellow stockings and wished to see thee ever
cross-gartered.  Come, thou art made, if
thou desir’st to be so.”  He says “I will
be proud. I will baffle Sir Toby. I thank my stars, I am happy.  I will be strange, stout, in yellow stockings
with ribbons at the knees. Here is but a postscript.”  He reads “If thou accept my love, let it
appear in thy smiling; thy smiles become thee well. Therefore in my presence
still smile, dear my sweet, I prithee.”
He says “I will do everything that thou wilt have me.”  He exits.
The three men, hiding in the shrubbery, love Maria’s ploy.  Maria enters.
Toby says “Thou hast put him in such a dream that when the image of it
leaves him he must run mad.”  Maria says
“If you will then see the fruits of the sport, mark his first approach before
my lady.  He will come to her in yellow
stockings, and ‘tis a color she abhors; and cross-gartered, a fashion she
detests; and he will smile upon her, which will be unsuitable to her
disposition, being melancholy as she is, that it cannot but turn him into a
notable contempt.”  They exit.

Abridged Twelfth Night/#10/Love/Act 3, Scene 1

Cesario meets Feste the Fool on her way to visit Olivia.  They trade jibes.  Cesario asks “Are not thou the Lady Olivia’s
Fool?  I saw thee late at the Count
Orsino’s.”  He says “Foolery, sir, does
move around the earth like the sun; it shines everywhere.”  Cesario asks “Is thy lady within?”  He says “My lady is within, sir.  Who you are and what you would are beyond my
comprehension.”  He exits.  Toby and Andrew greet her at the door and ask
her “to enter.”  Olivia and Maria
enter.  Olivia says “Let the garden door
be shut, and leave me to my hearing.”
Toby, Andrew and Maria exit.
Olivia asks “What is your name?”
He says “Cesario is your servant’s name.”  She says “My servant, sir? You’re servant to
the Count Orsino, youth.”  Cesario says
“And he is yours.  Your servant’s servant
is your servant, madam.”  Olivia says “I
think not on him.”  Cesario says “Madam,
I come to whet your gentle thoughts on his behalf.”  She says “I bade you never speak again of
him.  I did send after the last
enchantment you did here, a ring in chase of you.  So did I abuse myself, my servant, and, I
fear me, you.”  Cesario says “I pity
you.”  Embarrassed, she says “How fitting
the poor are to be proud.  If one should
be a prey, how much the better to fall before the lion than the wolf.”  Cesario asks “You have no message to my lord
by me?”  She says “Stay, tell me what
thou think’st of me?”  Cesario says “That
you do think you are not what you are.”
Olivia says “If I think so, I think the same of you.”  Cesario replies “Then think you right.  I am not what I am.”  She says “I would you were as I would have
you be.”  She says “Cesario, I love thee
so, despite your scorn, nor wit nor reason can my passion hide.”  Cesario says “I have one heart and one truth,
and that no woman has, nor anyone ever shall mistress be of it, save I alone.
And so adieu, good madam. Nevermore will I my master’s tears to you
deplore.”  She cries “Yet come again, for
thou perhaps mayst move that heart, which now abhors, to like his love.”  They exit in different directions.