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MonkeyNotes-Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
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KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS

SETTING

"Twelfth Night" is set in an imaginary country called Illyria. The scenes occur mostly at Duke Orsino's Court and the house of Countess Olivia. A few scenes are also in the streets of the capital city of Illyria.

LIST OF CHARACTERS

Major Characters

Viola

A young woman who has been shipwrecked and is alone in Illyria, searching for her brother who has been lost at sea. Disguising herself as Cesario, a page, she enters the service of Duke Orsino and falls in love with him. She ends up acting as an emissary between him and Olivia, who falls in love with her.

Olivia

A rich young Countess. She rejects Duke Orsino's proposal of marriage, but falls in love with his messenger Viola/Cesario. At the end of the play, she marries Viola's twin brother, Sebastian presuming that he is Viola/Cesario and is happy to have him as a husband even when the true identities of the twins are revealed.

Orsino

The ruler and Duke of Illyria. He is in love with Countess Olivia whom he courts through his page Cesario (Viola in disguise). Olivia's rejection of his love, and her love for Viola/Cesario angers him, until the truth about Viola's identity is revealed. He willingly shifts his affections from Olivia to Viola, and marries Viola.

Sebastian

Viola's twin-brother. He is rescued by Antonio and comes to the capital of Illyria. He is mistaken for Viola/Cesario by the other characters, including Olivia, who marries him. Although he is surprised by her overtures, Sebastian is quite willing to marry Olivia. He is able to reveal his true identity, when he meets his sister Viola whom he thought to be dead. This way all misunderstandings are cleared.


Minor Characters

Malvolio

A steward at Olivia's house. His highminded attitude makes him the target of ridicule and humiliation at the hands of the other minor characters.

Sir Toby Belch

Olivia's guardian and kinsman. He is boisterous and enjoys life, qualities which Malvolio objects to. This prompts Sir Toby to take an active part in the scheme against Malvolio. He is also responsible for setting up the duel between Viola and Sir Andrew Aguecheck. He marries Maria at the end of the play.

Maria

Olivia's handmaid. She is responsible for executing the scheme against Malvolio. At the end of the play, she marries Sir Toby Belch.

Sir Andrew Aguecheck

A dimwitted but wealthy knight who is a friend of Sir Toby Belch, and also another of Olivia's suitors. His attempts at challenging Viola and then Sebastian to a fight are instrumental in clearing the problem of the mistaken identity of the twins. This brings about a resolution of the plot.

Feste

The jester who works for Olivia and livens up the play with his melancholy but witty ditties. He participates in the ridiculing of Malvolio.

Fabian

Olivia's servant. He, along with Sir Toby, persuade an unwilling Sir Andrew to challenge Viola to a duel.

Antonio

A sea captain who rescues and helps Sebastian. An enemy of Duke Orsino, he is captured by the Duke's men in the capital city of Illyria.

Valentine

One of the attendants at Duke Orsino's court.

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