Quotes

Twelfth Night/#1/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “If music be the food of love, play on.
Give me excess of it, so that my passion may sicken me and so die.”

Answer:  Act 1, Scene 1,
Lines 1-3.  Orsino to himself.  Orsino is the duke of Illyria. He is also known as the Count. Illyria is an historic area along the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea, pretty much present day Croatia. The play opens with the duke letting us know that he has fallen hard for Olivia, a wealthy countess there in Illyria. Important to the story, Olivia’s brother has recently died and to honor his memory, Olivia lets us know she plans to give up the company of men for seven years. Orsino tells us that his love for Olivia is so strong that he really doesn’t see the others around him.

Twelfth Night/#2/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “It is thought among the prudent he would quickly have the gift of a
grave.”

Answer: Act 1, Scene 3, Lines 32-33.  Maria to Toby.  Sir Toby Belch is a member of Olivia’s entourage. He is in some way related to Olivia. Maria is Olivia’s gentlewoman. Toby has invited his buddy Andrew Aguecheek to join him as a member of Olivia’s household, “to be her wooer.” Maria lets Toby know that Andrew is not the man for Olivia. Maria puts it in perspective when she says “He’s a fool and a great quarreler, except that he hath the gift of a coward in his quarreling.” Continuing to speak of Aguecheek, she offers this quote.

Twelfth Night/#3/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “Thou know’st everything.  I have
unclasped to thee the book even of my secret soul.”

Answer: Act 1, Scene 4, Lines 14-15.  Orsino to Cesario.  Orsino has employed Cesario for “but three days.” Cesario is disguised Viola, Viola having just arrived in Illyria, having survived a shipwreck on Illyria’s rocky shore. Viola has talked the ship’s captain into recommending her, now disguised as Cesario, to Orsino to be his page. Orsino is what might be called blindly in love. Orsino quickly comes to trust Cesario explicitly. Orsino asks him (her) to visit Olivia and to woo her on his behalf. Immediately upon his employment, Orsino tells Cesario how much he loves Olivia and how he wants him to help him. He offers this quote.

Twelfth Night/#4/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage.”

Answer: Act 1, Scene 5, Line 19.
Fool to Maria.  Maria is upset with Olivia’s fool, saying “My lady will hang thee for thy absence.” Fool responds “Let her hang me. He that is well hanged in this world needs to fear nothing.” Feste is the Fool’s name. He goes on to offer this quote. The Fool is known interchangeable as Feste or as the Fool.

Twelfth Night/#5/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “Good Fool, I mourn for my brother’s death. I know his soul is in heaven.”

Answer: Act 1, Scene 5, Lines 65-67.  Olivia to Fool.  The Fool has asked Olivia “why mourn’st thou?” Olivia offers this quote as her reply. Having earlier said to her “I think his soul is in hell, Madonna,” Feste goes on to say “the more fool, Madonna, to mourn for your brother’s soul, being in heaven. Take away the fool, gentlemen.” He’s referring to her as the fool. Shakespeare’s Fools can get away with saying about anything.

Twelfth Night/#6/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “If you are refusing to marry, you do wrongfully hold possession of yourself,
for what is yours to bestow is not yours to reserve.”

Answer: Act 1, Scene 5, Lines 185-186. Cesario to Olivia.  Having followed Orsino’s instructions, Cesario visits Olivia’s estate. She has been introduced to a lady she believes to be Olivia. But Olivia, protecting herself, says “I shall answer for her,” not immediately acknowledging to Cesario that she is in fact Olivia. Cesario flatters her, saying “Most radiant, exquisite, and unmatchable beauty, tell me if you be the lady of the house.” Olivia pretty much acknowledges that she is the lady of the house. Cesario offers this quote followed with “if you are she.”

Twelfth Night/#7/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “She bore a mind that even the envious could not but call beautiful.”

Answer: Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 28-29. Sebastian to Antonio.  The two of them have just arrived in Illyria. Both were on the ship that sank. Sebastian is Viola’s twin brother. Antonio saved Sebastian’s life. Sebastian explains to Antonio that “before you took me from the breach of the sea was my sister drowned.” Viola has told us that she believes her brother had drowned. Sebastian lets Antonio know that they were twins, were from Messaline, and that their father was also named Sebastian. Sebastian praises Viola as “a lady, sir, though it was said she much resembled me, was yet of many accounted beautiful.” He offers this quote. Antonio says “Let me be your servant.” Sebastian doesn’t quite answer him, saying “I am bound to the Count Orsino’s court.” Antonio says “I have many enemies in Orsino’s court, but come what may, I will go.”

Twelfth Night/#8/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “Methought her eyes had lost her tongue, for she did speak in starts
distractedly.  She loves me, sure!”

Answer: Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 20-22.  Cesario to himself (herself).  Cesario had had a pleasant conversation with Olivia, Olivia enjoying the conversation more and more as it went on. On an irrational impulse, Olivia had demanded that Malvolio run after Cesario and throw a ring at his feet. Malvolio is Olivia’s steward. Malvolio has been instructed to tell Cesario that Olivia wants him to have the ring he “threw at her.” That moment had never been. Cesario knows there is method to her madness: she’s in love with him. Cesario offers this quote.

Twelfth Night/#9/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “How easy it is for men who are unfaithful but handsome in women’s waxen hearts
to imprint their images on women’s impressionable hearts.”

Answer: Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 29-30.  Cesario to himself.  Cesario has quickly become aware that Olivia has fallen for him. Cesario says “I am the man.” He then offers this quote. As Viola, she goes on to say “Alas, our frailty is the cause, not we, for such as we are made of, such we be.”

Twelfth Night/#10/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and
ale?”

Answer: Act 2, Scene 3, Lines 114-115.  Toby to Fool.
The three men, Toby, Andrew and Feste, all part of Olivia’s entourage, are having a late night party in Olivia’s house. Righteous Malvolio enters and irritates the men, interrupting their party. Toby offers Feste this quote as the three men continue their late-night party.