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MonkeyNotes-Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
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Act V, Scene 1

This final act as well as the only scene takes place in front of Olivia's house. Feste is carrying Malvolio's letter written to Olivia, which pleads his sanity. Fabian is trying to talk him out of reading the letter, but Feste refuses to put it away. Duke Orsino, Viola, and the Duke's entourage enter. The Duke asks Feste to call Olivia and while the group waits, Antonio is brought before the Duke. The Duke remembers Antonio attacking his ships and is then informed about Antonio's capture in a street brawl. Viola rises to his defense, mentioning that Antonio had made an attempt to save her. The Duke wishes to know the reason for Antonio's coming to the town, and Antonio tells the Duke that he had come to the town to protect Sebastian (he points to Viola thinking her to be Sebastian). He is bitter about the fact that "Sebastian" neither recognizes him nor accepts the fact that Antonio had given him his purse. The Duke is surprised that Antonio has looked after "Sebastian" for the past three months, as "he" has been at the Duke's Court during that period.

Before anything else can be said, Olivia enters and makes it clear that she does not love the Duke and that she is upset with Cesario/Olivia. The Duke, aware of Olivia's passion for Viola/Cesario, decides to take his revenge for the refusal of his proposal by sacrificing "the lamb that I do love" (Viola) "to spite a raven's heart" (Olivia's heart). Viola is willing to be "sacrificed", and openly declares her love for the Duke. As the Duke and Viola prepare to leave, Olivia stops Viola with the plea "Cesario, husband, stay". At this epithet, Viola is distressed and denies being married to her. The priest is summoned and he confirms Olivia's marriage to Cesario (in actuality Sebastian) two hours ago. The Duke is furious and dismisses Viola from his service, saying that she has betrayed him. Just then Sir Andrew enters, and accuses Viola of having hurt him. He yells for a surgeon and so does Sir Toby who enters and says that he too has been hurt. Pointing their fingers at Cesario, they moan their pains and Viola protests that she has done nothing. A surgeon is nowhere to be found and so they leave along with Feste and Fabian.

Now Sebastian comes on to the scene, apologizing to Olivia for having hurt Sir Toby. He is surprised and happy to meet Antonio, who along with the Duke and Olivia, is amazed to see two people who look so much alike. Viola tells Sebastian about her real identity, mentioning their father's name and the year he died, while also mentioning the identification mark "a mole upon his brow." Sebastian is overjoyed to be reunited with a sister whom he had given up as lost. Viola promises to take Sebastian to the Captain who had saved her, helped her in her disguise and in finding employment. Sebastian tells Olivia that she has married him and not Cesario/Viola, fortunate for her. The Duke remembers Viola's indirect declaration of love for him, and asks her to marry him. She accepts the proposal and he says that he would like to see her dressed as a woman. The Captain who has her clothes, however, has been arrested by Malvolio.


Olivia suddenly remembers Malvolio, and Feste, who has come back on to the stage with Fabian, gives Olivia Malvolio's letter. The letter states that Malvolio was merely following Olivia's instructions and accuses Olivia of doing him wrong. Fabian is sent to bring Malvolio to Olivia and when Malvolio shows Olivia the letter she is supposed to have written, Olivia discloses that the handwriting is Maria's, and not hers. She assures Malvolio that the guilty will be punished. Fabian asserts that he and Sir Toby are to blame, and that Maria had merely written the letter and so impressed was he that he married her. Olivia is informed about the reasons for the intrigue, and that both Malvolio and the other characters have suffered equally. Fabian who has provided Olivia with this information also pleads that the matter should end with "laughter" rather than "revenge." Malvolio still smarting from his humiliating experience leaves, promising revenge.

The Duke, recollecting that the Captain who rescued Viola is still a prisoner, asks that Malvolio should be persuaded to give up his anger so that they can get some information about the Captain. The Duke accepts Olivia as a sister, and Viola as his "mistress and fancy's queen." Olivia too accepts Viola as her sister. After everyone leaves, Feste is left alone to sing a song.

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