Act V - Scene I

Before Olivia's house.

[Enter Feste and Fabian.]

Now, as thou lovest me, let me see his letter.
Good Master Fabian, grant me another request.
Do not desire to see this letter.
This is to give a dog, and in recompense desire my dog again. (5)

[Enter Duke, Viola, Curio, and Lords.]

Belong you to the Lady Olivia, friends?
Ay, sir; we are some of her trappings.
I know thee well; how dost thou, my good fellow?(10)
Truly, sir, the better for my foes and the worse for my friends.
Just the contrary; the better for thy friends.
No, sir, the worse.
How can that be?(15)
Marry, sir, they praise me and make an ass of me; now
my foes tell me plainly I am an ass: so that by my foes, sir, I
profit in the knowledge of myself, and by my friends, I am
abused: so that, conclusions to be as kisses, if your four negatives make your two affirmatives, why then, the worse for my friends and the better for my foes.(20)
Why, this is excellent.
By my troth, sir, no; though it please you to be one
of my friends.
Thou shalt not be the worse for me: there's gold.(25)
But that it would be double-dealing, sir, I would
you could make it another.
O, you give me ill counsel.
Put your grace in your pocket, sir, for this once, and(30)
let your flesh and blood obey it.
Well, I will be so much a sinner to be a double-
dealer: there's another.
Primo, secundo, tertio, is a good play; and the old
saying is, the third pays for all: the triplex, sir, is a good(35)
tripping measure; or the bells of Saint Bennet, sir, may
put you in mind; one, two, three.
You can fool no more money out of me at this
throw: if you will let your lady know I am here to speak
with her, and bring her along with you, it may awake my(40)
bounty further.
Marry, sir, lullaby to your bounty till I come again. I
go, sir; but I would not have you to think that my desire
of having is the sin of covetousness: but, as you say, sir,
let your bounty take a nap, I will awake it anon.(45)

[Exit Feste. Enter Antonio and Officers.]

Here comes the man, sir, that did rescue me.
That face of his I do remember well;
Yet, when I saw it last, it was besmear'd
As black as Vulcan in the smoke of war:
A bawbling vessel was he captain of,(50)
For shallow draught and bulk unprizable;
With which such scathful grapple did he make
With the most noble bottom of our fleet,
That very envy and the tongue of loss
Cried fame and honour on him. —What's the matter?(55)
Orsino, this is that Antonio
That took the Phoenix and her fraught from Candy;
And this is he that did the Tiger board,
When your young nephew Titus lost his leg:
Here in the streets, desperate of shame and state,(60)
In private brabble did we apprehend him.
He did me kindness, sir, drew on my side;
But in conclusion put strange speech upon me.
I know not what 'twas, but distraction.
Notable pirate! Thou salt-water thief!(65)
What foolish boldness brought thee to their mercies,
Whom thou, in terms so bloody and so dear,
Hast made thine enemies?
Orsino, noble sir,
Be pleased that I shake off these names you give me:(70)
Antonio never yet was thief or pirate,
Though, I confess, on base and ground enough,
Orsino's enemy. A witchcraft drew me hither:
That most ingrateful boy there by your side,
From the rude sea's enraged and foamy mouth(75)
Did I redeem; a wreck past hope he was:
His life I gave him and did thereto add
My love, without retention or restraint,
All his in dedication; for his sake
Did I expose myself, pure for his love,(80)
Into the danger of this adverse town;
Drew to defend him when he was beset:
Where being apprehended, his false cunning,
Not meaning to partake with me in danger,
Taught him to face me out of his acquaintance,(85)
And grew a twenty years removed thing
While one would wink; denied me mine own purse,
Which I had recommended to his use
Not half an hour before.
How can this be?(90)
When came he to this town?
Today, my lord; and for three months before,
No interim, not a minute's vacancy,
Both day and night did we keep company.

[Enter Olivia and Attendants.]

Here comes the Countess: now heaven walks on earth.(95)
But for thee, fellow; fellow, thy words are madness:
Three months this youth hath tended upon me;
But more of that anon. [to an officer] Take him aside.
What would my lord, but that he may not have,(100)
Wherein Olivia may seem serviceable?
Cesario, you do not keep promise with me.
Gracious Olivia,—
What do you say, Cesario? Good my lord,—(105)
My lord would speak; my duty hushes me.
If it be aught to the old tune, my lord,
It is as fat and fulsome to mine ear
As howling after music.
Still so cruel?
Still so constant, lord.
What, to perverseness? You uncivil lady,
To whose ingrate and unauspicious altars
My soul the faithfull'st offerings hath breathed out
That e'er devotion tender'd! What shall I do?(115)
Even what it please my lord, that shall become
Why should I not, had I the heart to do it,
Like to the Egyptian thief, at point of death,
Kill what I love?—a savage jealousy(120)
That sometime savours nobly. But hear me this:
Since you to non-regardance cast my faith,
And that I partly know the instrument
That screws me from my true place in your favour,
Live you the marble-breasted tyrant still;(125)
But this your minion, whom I know you love,
And whom, by heaven I swear, I tender dearly,
Him will I tear out of that cruel eye,
Where he sits crowned in his master's sprite.
Come, boy, with me; my thoughts are ripe in mischief:(130)
I'll sacrifice the lamb that I do love,
To spite a raven's heart within a dove.
And I, most jocund, apt, and willingly,
To do you rest, a thousand deaths would die.
Where goes Cesario?(135)
After him I love
More than I love these eyes, more than my life,
More, by all mores, than e'er I shall love wife.
If I do feign, you witnesses above
Punish my life for tainting of my love!(140)
Ah me, detested! how am I beguiled!
Who does beguile you? Who does do you wrong?
Hast thou forgot thyself? Is it so long?
Call forth the holy father.
[To Viola.] Come, away!(145)
Whither, my lord? Cesario, husband, stay.
Ay, husband, can he that deny?
[To Viola.] Her husband, sirrah?
No, my lord, not I.(150)
Alas, it is the baseness of thy fear
That makes thee strangle thy propriety:
Fear not, Cesario, take thy fortunes up;
Be that thou know'st thou art, and then thou art
As great as that thou fear'st.(155)

[Enter Priest.]

O, welcome, father!
Father, I charge thee, by thy reverence,
Here to unfold, though lately we intended
To keep in darkness what occasion now
Reveals before 'tis ripe, what thou dost know(160)
Hath newly pass'd between this youth and me.
A contract of eternal bond of love,
Confirm'd by mutual joinder of your hands,
Attested by the holy close of lips,
Strengthen'd by interchangement of your rings;(165)
And all the ceremony of this compact
Seal'd in my function, by my testimony:
Since when, my watch hath told me, toward my grave,
I have travelled but two hours.
[To Viola.] O thou dissembling cub! what wilt thou be,
When time hath sow'd a grizzle on thy case?
Or will not else thy craft so quickly grow,
That thine own trip shall be thine overthrow?
Farewell, and take her; but direct thy feet(175)
Where thou and I henceforth may never meet.
My lord, I do protest—
O, do not swear;
Hold little faith, though thou has too much fear.

[Enter Sir Andrew.]

For the love of God, a surgeon! Send one presently to Sir Toby. (180)
What's the matter?
He has broke my head across and has given Sir
Toby a bloody coxcomb too: for the love of God, your
help! I had rather than forty pound I were at home.(185)
Who has done this, Sir Andrew?
The Count's gentleman, one Cesario: we took
him for a coward, but he's the very devil incardinate.
My gentleman, Cesario?
'Od's lifelings, here he is! You broke my head(190)
for nothing; and that that I did, I was set on to do't by
Sir Toby.
Why do you speak to me? I never hurt you:
You drew your sword upon me without cause;
But I bespoke you fair, and hurt you not.(195)

[Enter Toby and Feste.]

If a bloody coxcomb be a hurt, you have hurt
me: I think you set nothing by a bloody coxcomb.
Here comes Sir Toby halting; you shall hear more: but
if he had not been in drink he would have tickled you
othergates than he did.(200)

[Enter Sir Toby, drunk, led by Feste.]

How now, gentleman? How is't with you?
That's all one: he has hurt me, and there's the end
on't. Sot, didst see Dick Surgeon, sot?
O, he's drunk, Sir Toby, an hour agone;
his eyes were set at eight in the morning.(205)
Then he's a rogue, and a passy-measure, or a pavin,
I hate a drunken rogue.
Away with him! Who hath made this havoc with
I'll help you, Sir Toby, because we'll be dressed together. (210)
Will you help an ass-head, and a coxcomb, and a
knave? a thin-faced knave, a gull?
Get him to bed, and let his hurt be look'd to.

[Exit Feste, Fabian, Sir Toby, and Sir Andrew. Enter Sebastian]

I am sorry, madam, I have hurt your kinsman:(215)
But, had it been the brother of my blood,
I must have done no less with wit and safety.
You throw a strange regard upon me, and by that
I do perceive it hath offended you:
Pardon me, sweet one, even for the vows(220)
We made each other but so late ago.
One face, one voice, one habit, and two persons;
A natural perspective, that is, and is not.
Antonio! O my dear Antonio!(225)
How have the hours rack'd and tortured me,
Since I have lost thee!
Sebastian are you?
Fear'st thou that, Antonio?
How have you made division of yourself?
An apple, cleft in two, is not more twin
Than these two creatures. Which is Sebastian?
Most wonderful!
Do I stand there? I never had a brother;
Nor can there be that deity in my nature,(235)
Of here and everywhere. I had a sister,
Whom the blind waves and surges have devour'd.
Of charity, what kin are you to me?
What countryman? What name? What parentage?
Of Messaline: Sebastian was my father;
Such a Sebastian was my brother too:
So went he suited to his watery tomb:
If spirits can assume both form and suit
You come to fright us.
A spirit I am indeed;
But am in that dimension grossly clad
Which from the womb I did participate.
Were you a woman, as the rest goes even,
I should my tears let fall upon your cheek,
And say ‘Thrice welcome, drowned Viola!’(250)
My father had a mole upon his brow.
And so had mine.
And died that day when Viola from her birth
Had numbered thirteen years.
O, that record is lively in my soul!(255)
He finished, indeed, his mortal act
That day that made my sister thirteen years.
If nothing lets to make us happy both
But this my masculine usurp'd attire,
Do not embrace me till each circumstance(260)
Of place, time, fortune, do cohere and jump
That I am Viola: which to confirm,
I'll bring you to a captain in this town,
Where lie my maiden weeds; by whose gentle help
I was preserved to serve this noble Count;(265)
All the occurrence of my fortune since
Hath been between this lady and this lord.
[To Olivia] So comes it, lady, you have been mistook:
But nature to her bias drew in that.(270)
You would have been contracted to a maid;
Nor are you therein, by my life, deceived,
You are betroth'd both to a maid and man.

Be not amazed; right noble is his blood.
If this be so, as yet the glass seems true,(275)
I shall have share in this most happy wreck:
[To Viola.] Boy, thou hast said to me a thousand times,
Thou never shouldst love woman like to me.
And all those sayings will I overswear;
And all those swearings keep as true in soul(280)
As doth that orbed continent the fire
That severs day from night.
Give me thy hand;
And let me see thee in thy woman's weeds.
The captain that did bring me first on shore
Hath my maid's garments: he upon some action,
Is now in durance, at Malvolio's suit,
A gentleman, and follower of my lady's.
He shall enlarge him: fetch Malvolio hither:
And yet, alas, now I remember me,(290)
They say, poor gentleman, he's much distract.

[Enter Fabian and Feste with a letter.]

A most extracting frenzy of mine own
From my remembrance clearly banish'd his.
How does he, sirrah?
Truly, madam, he holds Belzebub at the stave's
end as well as a man in his case may do: he has here
writ a letter to you; I should have given it you today morning,
but as a madman's epistles are no gospels, so it skills not
much when they are delivered.
Open't, and read it.(300)
Look then to be well edified when the fool delivers the
madman. [Reads] ‘By the Lord, madam,’—
How now! art thou mad?
No, madam, I do but read madness: an your ladyship
will have it as it ought to be, you must allow Vox.(305)
Prithee, read i' thy right wits.
So I do, madonna; but to read his right wits is to read
thus; therefore perpend, my princess, and give ear.
[To Fabian.] Read it you, sirrah.
[Reads] 'By the Lord, madam, you wrong me, and the world shall know it: though you have put me into darkness and given your drunken cousin rule over me, yet have I the benefit of my senses
as well as your ladyship. I have your own letter that induced me to the semblance I put on; with the which I doubt not but to do myself much right or you much shame. Think of me as
you please. I leave my duty a little unthought of, and speak
out of my injury.
The madly-used Malvolio.'
Did he write this?
Ay, madam.(320)
This savours not much of distraction.
See him deliver'd, Fabian; bring him hither.

[Exit Fabian.]

My lord so please you, these things further thought on,
To think me as well a sister as a wife,
One day shall crown the alliance on't, so please you,(325)
Here at my house and at my proper cost.
Madam, I am most apt to embrace your offer.
[To Viola] Your master quits you; and, for your service done him,
So much against the mettle of your sex,(330)
So far beneath your soft and tender breeding,
And since you call'd me master for so long,
Here is my hand: you shall from this time be
You master's mistress.
A sister! you are she.(335)

[Enter Fabian and Malvolio.]

Is this the madman?
Ay, my lord, this same;
How now, Malvolio?
Madam, you have done me wrong, Notorious wrong.
Notorious wrong.(340)
Have I, Malvolio? No.
Lady, you have. Pray you, peruse that letter.
You must not now deny it is your hand:
Write from it, if you can, in hand or phrase;
Or say 'tis not your seal, not your invention:(345)
You can say none of this: well, grant it then,
And tell me, in the modesty of honour,
Why you have given me such clear lights of favour;
Bade me come smiling and cross-garter'd to you;
To put on yellow stockings, and to frown(350)
Upon Sir Toby and the lighter people:
And, acting this in an obedient hope,
Why have you suffer'd me to be imprison'd,
Kept in a dark house, visited by the priest,
And made the most notorious geck and gull(355)
That e'er invention played on? Tell me why.
Alas, Malvolio, this is not my writing,
Though, I confess, much like the character
But out of question, 'tis Maria's hand.
And now I do bethink me, it was she(360)
First told me thou wast mad; then camest in smiling,
And in such forms which here were presupposed
Upon thee in the letter. Prithee, be content:
This practice hath most shrewdly pass'd upon thee;
But, when we know the grounds and authors of it,(365)
Thou shalt be both the plaintiff and the judge
Of thine own cause.
Good madam, hear me speak;
And let no quarrel, nor no brawl to come
Taint the condition of this present hour,(370)
Which I have wonder'd at. In hope it shall not,
Most freely I confess, myself and Toby
Set this device against Malvolio here,
Upon some stubborn and uncourteous parts
We had conceived against him: Maria writ(375)
The letter at Sir Toby's great importance;
In recompense whereof he hath married her.
How with a sportful malice it was follow'd
May rather pluck on laughter than revenge;
If that the injuries be justly weigh'd(380)
That have on both sides past.
[To Malvolio.] Alas, poor fool, how have they baffled
Why, [imitating Malvolio] ‘some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrown upon them.’ I was one, sir, in this interlude: one Sir Topas, sir; but that's all one. ‘By the Lord, fool, I am not mad.’ But do you remember? ‘Madam, why laugh you at such a barren rascal? An you smile not, he's gagged:’ and thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenges.(390)
I'll be revenged on the whole pack of you.

[Exit Malvolio.]

He hath been most notoriously abus'd.
Pursue him, and entreat him to a peace:
He hath not told us of the captain yet:
When that is known and golden time convents,(395)
A solemn combination shall be made
Of our dear souls. Meantime, sweet sister,
We will not part from hence. Cesario, come:
For so you shall be, while you are a man;
But when in other habits you are seen,(400)
Orsino's mistress, and his fancy's queen.

[Exeunt all but Feste.]

[sings] When that I was and a little tiny boy,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
A foolish thing was but a toy,
For the rain it raineth every day.
But when I came to man's estate,(405)
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
'Gainst knave and thief men shut their gate,
For the rain it raineth every day.
But when I came, alas, to wive,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,(410)
By swaggering could I never thrive,
For the rain it raineth every day.
But when I came unto my beds,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
With toss-pots still had drunken heads,
For the rain it raineth every day.(415)
A great while ago the world begun,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
But that's all one, our play is done,
And we'll strive to please you every day.


  1. Notice that Viola never changes back into her “woman’s weeds” in this play. She remains Cesario in attire. However, Orsino’s final lines can be read as breaking the fourth wall: the audience can decide whether or not they want to see Viola as Cesario or as Orsino’s wife at the end of the play. The audience can decide how important external dress and performance is.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  2. “Mistress” means both wife and superior. In Orsino’s final line he gives Viola incredible power: she is allowed to decide which performance she would like to act —Cesario or wife—and she is given full control over Orsino’s heart.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  3. Here, Orsino claims that Viola will be defined by the perception of her: when in men’s clothes she will be Cesario and when in women’s clothes she will be Orsino’s wife and the master of his love. He essentially claims that she will perform forever: identity is a performance that is solidified by the perception of others.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  4. At the beginning of this scene, Orsino vowed to murder for Olivia because he was so in love with her. Over the course of a few lines, he comes to call her sister and claims to be in love with Viola. This change demonstrates that love is a product of our imagination and therefore rooted in the mind. As soon as Orsino changes his perception, he is able to change his love.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  5. Fabian rewrites the history of the abuses they have brought against Malvolio. He claims that their performance was meant to induce laughter not hatred; it was merely the performance of abuse rather than actual abuse. This claim resembles a theme of the play in which something’s essence, in this case the hatred of Malvolio, is disguised as something else, in this case a funny joke or prank.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  6. “Geck and gull” means dupe and fool. Malvolio is angry because this trick has made him look like a fool.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  7. Belzebub is one of Satan’s chief demons in Christian theology. Feste uses this reference to say that Malvolio has kept the devil at some distance.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  8. “Maid and a man” means that the man is a virgin. However, this line takes on a double meaning because of the disguises and mistaken identity within this play. Because Olivia first fell in love with Viola and the twins are so similar, she is essentially betrothed to both siblings.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  9. Notice that reclaiming her identity involves changing her clothes. She re-establishes her character by taking off her “masculine attire” and putting on her “woman's weeds,” meaning women’s clothing. Though her conversation with Sebastian moved identification from exterior performance to interior identity, this speech again focuses on the importance of perception in one’s identity: she cannot be Viola unless people see her as Viola.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  10. Sebastian and Viola’s collective memories begin to restore order in the play. They tell intimate stories to each other in order to recognize their identities. This recognition is based on their interior knowledge rather than their outward show; therefore it is able to combat the disguise and performance that has clouded identity throughout the play.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  11. “Natural perspective” here means an optical illusion created by nature. Orsino realizes that he cannot trust his perspective because what “is,” what he can see, “is not,” is not what it actually is. Orsino’s lines reiterate the main theme of this play: disguises distort reality and prevent the characters from truly knowing each other.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  12. “Wit and safety” means care for my own well being. Sebastian’s excuse for harming Sir Andrew is that he did it for self-defense.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  13. A “coxcomb” was a type of cap that looked like the plume of a rooster, or cock. Metaphorically, it was considered a ludicrous ornament for the head that signaled someone was a fool. Sebastian gave Sir Toby a “coxcomb” because he humiliated him in the street.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  14. “Sirrah” is a term of address that was used to express contempt or a reprimand from a speaker with authority to his boy. Orsino’s use of the term here to show that he is displeased with Cesario’s actions.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  15. Viola’s lines here demonstrate the blindness caused by her disguise and the other character’s gullible nature. Orsino is blind to what loves him and Olivia is blind to what she loves. Neither sees through Viola’s disguise and therefore they do not hear her.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  16. Viola’s flippant response to Orsino’s rage signals to the audience how we should hear him: his anger is as empty a performance as his melancholic love. Orsino is performing rage in much the same way he has been performing for the rest of the play. Therefore, this is an empty threat that shows Orsino is not to be taken seriously as a character.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  17. Orsino creates a metaphor in which the “lamb that I do love” is Cesario while Olivia is the “dove” with the heart of a cruel raven. In his rage, Orsino threatens to kill Cesario in order to prevent Olivia from loving him. This speech might strike the audience as a strangely serious or violent moment within this play, that is uncharacteristic of Orsino.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  18. The word “jealousy” takes on multiple meanings throughout this play. Here, Orsino uses it to signify anger, or wrath against someone. While this could be seen as a moment of tragedy in which Orsino’s love turns into vengeance, the motif of “jealousy” as a form of devotion turns this into a comic moment.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  19. “Serviceable” means “to be of use.” Here, Olivia asks Orsino what he wants other than her love that she could help him with. Notice that Olivia will grant Orsino audience now that she is no longer available to be married.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  20. The First Officer reminds Orsino that this “skilled fighter” has humiliated noblemen. His nephew Titus not only lost the fight but lost his leg, and Andrew lost a fight with him in the streets. Antonio’s chief crime is usurping his class.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  21. Feste uses metaphors to get a third coin out of Orsino. “Play” is a reference to a child’s game in which players call out “one, two, three.” “Third plays for all” means third time’s a charm, and “triplex” is a musical beat played in triple time.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  22. In this last scene, the characters are revealing their deceptions and removing their disguises. While deception has worked positively for some characters, Malvolio realizes that he has been thoroughly and cruelly tricked. His claim for revenge here is the only thing that disrupts an otherwise traditional ending of a comedy. It is likely that Shakespeare used Malvolio, a generally unlikeable character, to show how love can be cruel and unforgiving and to remind his audience that the difficult realities of a class structure remain intact despite the happy ending for the nobles.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  23. Since we have seen Sir Andrew and Sir Toby drinking a lot during the course of this play, this is probably an example of Sir Andrew drunkenly mispronouncing the word “incarnate,” which means that something is a physical representation of something else.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  24. Orsino immediately transfers his love from Olivia, who he has been doggedly pursuing for most of the play, to a woman he believed to be a male eunuch until moments ago. Thus the complicated love triangle has been untangled, and all parties involved are (presumably) happily paired off.

    — Sarah, Owl Eyes Staff
  25. By this phrase, Feste means that one must face the consequences of their actions. A "whirligig" is a rotary device that spins in circles, like a pinwheel or merry-go-round. It symbolizes something that is ever changing and revolving. Feste excuses his own actions by using this metaphor to bring attention to Malvolio's own misdeeds.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff