Twelfth Night! Installment 1

Viola and Sebastian, brother and sister and twins, get caught in a horrible sea-storm which wrecks their ship at sea. Viola, a few sailors and the ship’s captain wash ashore alive, but Viola fears her brother, Sebastian, has drowned. Realizing she is in an unfamiliar land she asks, “What country friends is this?” They tell her Illyria; she reacts initially with a helpless frustration saying, “And what should I do in Illyria.” After being reminded how lucky she is to have made it to shore alive she decides to make the most of her situation. She asks further about this unfamiliar land and finds out that it is ruled by a Duke named Orsino considered to be noble, “in nature as in name.” Viola remembers back to when her father had told her about him and how he was a bachelor. The funny thing is that he still was. Orsino now seeks the love of Olivia, “a virtuous maid,” and “the daughter of a count.” Olivia had also lost a brother recently and had consequently declared to, “to abjure the company and sight of men,” to honor her brother’s memory. Viola considers that her best option in this unfamiliar land is to serve Olivia since they both have lost a dear brother. After the captain tells Viola that Olivia is steadfast in secluding herself from others, she resolves to serve the Duke instead. Disguising herself as a page boy she will have the ship captain present her as Cesario to the Duke. Viola mentions that this ship captain carries himself with a “fair behavior,” or in my interpretation: a demeanor of authority, which should convince the Duke to accept her service. She promises to pay this captain for his help as long as he stays silent regarding her true identity. After consenting to this, the captain leads her on towards the Duke.

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