Twelfth Night key quotes – Olivia

There is no slander in an allowed fool -Act 1, scene 5-to Malvolio and Feste, after Malvolio criticises Feste’s character-implication that a natural fool isn’t funny, which of course is absurd; audience finds great delight in mockery of Andrew, and, as Feste later announces, “Foolery, sir, does walk about the orb like the sun, it shines every where” (3,1)
What are you? What would you? -Act 1 scene 5-to Cesario-creates dramatic irony (“I am not that I play” few lines previously)-Olivia is confused as what seems like a young man is sensitive (C has just said “I hold the olive in my hand; my words are as full of peace as matter)
We will draw the curtain, and show you the picture. [She unveils] … Is’t not well done? -Act 1 scene 5-responding to Cesario’s “good madam, let me see your face”-revealing her arrogance; contradicting Orsino’s portrayal of her as a ‘virtuous maid’ (archaic meaning is chaste)-making light of her brother’s death and her promise to hide her face for seven years by revealing her face to someone literally upon first meeting them-S mocking love at first sight, S suggesting actions of upper class are disingenuous
Why, what would you? -Act 1, scene 5-FLIRTING with Cesario-complete comic misunderstanding; Olivia interprets Cesario’s hypothetical passage to be actual – doesnt realise she’s trying to get info to please Orsino – and believes Cesario to be bravely overstepping his social status and making a move. liv, stop.
“What is your parentage?” -Act 1, scene 5-talking to herself after Cesario has left-her repetition of what she said reveals how important the conversation was to her-dramatic irony makes this funny – she’s obsessing over someone that she can’t have (social status), but also, unbeknownst to her, C is a girl-S mocking love at first sight-S mocking actions of upper class -she’s meant to be mourning!
Unless the master were the man -Act 1 scene 5-talking to herself after Cesario has left-her wishing that Orsino was Cesario suggests that her hyperbolic mourning is purely to get Ozzie off her back; and thus, Viola’s wishes to “serve that lady” in order to mourn via Olivia are rendered somewhat useless
Fate, show thy force: ourselves we do not owe;What is decreed must be; and be this so. -Act 1, scene 5-final line-rhyming couplet and iambic pentameter reveal the emotion/passion she feels for Cesario/the situation – does she also love the idea of love, or does she really love Cesario?-fate personified is a recurring motif-‘ourselves we do not owe’ – we are not our own masters
To one of your receiving enough is shown:A cypress, not a bosom, hides my heart -Act 3 scene 1-Olivia is poetically saying that her heart belongs to Cesario-begins by complimenting C with ‘receiving’ which meant perceptiveness-Olivia is hoping that Cesario will pick up on the sexual connotations of a thin material on her chest; flirting 101
Stay:I prithee, tell me what thou think’st of me -Act 3 scene 1-said to Cesario as he tries to leave (“then westward ho!”)-completely undermines her solemn “the clock upbraids me with the waste of time” and “be not afraid, good youth, I will not have you” said earlier; suggests she was only saying them to ‘play hard to get’ and tapping into the masculinity of the game-‘stay’ seems to be an imperative, although the context reduces her power significantly, and this comes across as desperation rather than demanding-imperative contrasts with ‘i prithee’ and supports [previous point]
A murderous guilt shows not itself more soonThan love that would seem hid: love’s night is noon -Act 3 scene 1-said in an aside before proclaiming her love to Cesario) as though it wasn’t obvious before (!!)-rhyming couplets that begin here continue until the end of the scene – S tends to close scenes with rhyming couplets (1,1/1,4,/2,2/2,4) – reveals heightened emotion-ironic use of ‘hid’ HUN everyone knows-‘love’s night is noon’ – i.e. love is more obvious when we try to obscure it
Where’s Malvolio? He is sad and civil,And suits well for a servant with my fortunes.Where is Malvolio? -Act 3 scene 4-addressing Maria-‘sad and civil’ are virtually synonymous in context; this is the reason for his employment ?- Olivia revealing her sensibleness-this line becomes humorous once the delusional Malvolio enters the stage, being anything but sad and civil, completely unsuitable for Olivia’s state-repetition of interrogative suggests a level of desperation for someone sad and civil – has she realised that her actions were unacceptable and desires a puritan attitude to level her head?
I would not have him miscarry for the half of my dowry -Act 3 scene 4-about Malvolio, who has just embarrassed himself greatly-‘miscarry’ means to come to harm-reveals a caring and kind attitude towards her staff, undercutting cruelty of Maria+Toby’s plot
Here, wear this jewel for me, ’tis my picture -Act 3 scene 4-addressing Cesario-typical gift for a knight, what she’s giving – subversion of roles-given to knight when going into battle; where’s Cesario going?? to Orsino? hardly worth a portrait-S mocking courtly love; woman is desperate for /man/ to be with her – dramatic irony
Will it ever be thus? Ungracious wretch,Fit for the mountains and the barbarous cavesWhere manners ne’er were preached! Out of my sight!(Be not offended, dear Cesario.)Rudesby, be gone! -Act 4 scene 1-to Sir Toby, and Cesario when addressed-offers a nice little summary of Toby’s behaviour here, thanks liv-use of multiple exclamations reveals a heightened emotion; perhaps this is what pushes her to beg [Cesario] once more-vocative creates confusion for Sebastian, and therefore the audience-woman having power over her uncle – subversion of roles
Blame not this haste of mine -Act 4 scene 3-to Sebastian, before they get married-‘haste’ is interpreted differently by either character; Olivia’s hurry is due to the fact that [Cesario] has finally agreed to be with her (which is funny anyway bc she’s effectively trapping him in marriage before he changes his mind – mocking courtly love), whereas Sebastian views the haste as just another element of the madness that he’s been thrown into
What do you say, Cesario? Good my lord- -Act 5-to Cesario after she arrives and questions why she’s with Orsino-continuation of ‘Cesario’ to identify [Viola] keeps the theme of mistaken identity alive, even though she’s married Sebastian-giving precedence to Cesario over his master is sure to ruffle some feathers, but to be fair, she thought it was her husband – reflective of 12th night festivities, role reversal, etc
Hast thou forgot thyself? -Act 5-to Cesario, after being rejected-ironic allusion to the theme of mistaken identity: “Conceal me what I am” 2,1 “I am not that I play” 1,5 “I am not what I am” 3,1-dramatic irony
Cesario, husband, stay. -Act 5-noun calls Orsino and Viola to attention and begins a short section of repetition due to comic misunderstanding
Be that thou know’st thou art; and then thou artAs great as that thou fear’st -Act 5-talking to Cesario, before the priest enters-unwittingly, Olivia gives Viola permission to be herself- link to Viola’s wishes to be herself
Most wonderful! -Act 5-spoken when Sebastian arrives and the twins are on stage together-enthusiasm invariably raises laughter in performance-her predicament (but not enthusiasm) is shared by Adrianna in the final scene of Comedy of Errors: “I see two husbands, or more eyes deceive me”-superficial nature is revealed
He hath been most notoriously abus’d -Act 5-spoken after Malvolio has left, as an afterthought(?)-repeating Malvolio’s earlier complaint-again, reveals Olivia’s compassionate nature (link to “I would not have him miscarry for the half of my dowry”); opposing Orsino, whose emotions are largely superficial

You Might Also Like