Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version
Act IV, Scene 3
In Olivia’s garden, Sebastian is unable to believe his luck and the sudden turn of events, which have allowed him to agree to marry the beautiful Countess Olivia. He gazes at the pearl which Olivia has given him, dazzled by its beauty as well as its owner’s and realizes it is not a dream which he is experiencing because the pearl is so real. Although somewhat stunned by recent events, he is also worried about Antonio’s whereabouts. Olivia enters along with a priest, and asks Sebastian to marry her secretly for her peace of mind. The marriage will remain a secret for as long as Sebastian desires and then they will have a public celebration. Sebastian agrees to the proposal and promises to "eve be true" to her.
This scene marks the beginning of the resolution of the complication that have arisen in the course of the play due to Viola's disguise as well as others. Olivia's marriage to Sebastian will help Viola solve the dilemma related to Olivia's love for Cesario/Viola and it will also allow Viola to marry the Duke when her real identity is revealed. Fate plays an important part in the resolution of the dilemma. Both Olivia and Viola had resigned their respective problems to fate and now fate brings Sebastian to Olivia's household making it possible for Olivia to marry him, though she believes that he is Cesario/Viola. Olivia's inability to distinguish between Sebastian and Viola is not surprising when one considers her excited state of mind, and the fact that the twins are so similar not only in appearance but in temperament as well. While Viola merely plays the role of a perfect courtier, Sebastian is one in reality.
As an outsider to the various dalliances occuring among the characters, Sebastian appears the most reasonable of them all yet he is overwhelmed by what he has experienced and observed and questions his own sanity. It is difficult for him to think what he has seen has actually taken place. When he figures out that it has because of the pearl in his hand, he then ruminates on which of the characters could be mad and also examines whether he too could possibly be mad as he is now participating in the mayhem. These ruminations may also relate to the uneasy and ambiguous feelings of love which take over the human spirit. Almost all of these characters suffer from the illusion of love whether it is for someone else or with themselves. Love therefore becomes illusory, as it is difficult to bring any logic or order to one’s emotions when in this state. Sebastian who is probably the most rational of the characters is also charmed by its spell in the lovely countenance of the countess.