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Archive for November, 2011

Twelfth Night – Act One Scene Four

Viola, disguised as Cesario has been working for Duke Orsino

VALENTINE

If the duke continue these favours towards you,
Cesario, you are like to be much advanced: he hath
known you but three days, and already you are no stranger.

Orsino has a mission for Viola. To go and profess his love to Olivia

DUKE ORSINO

Stand you a while aloof, Cesario,
Thou know’st no less but all; I have unclasp’d
To thee the book even of my secret soul:
Therefore, good youth, address thy gait unto her;
Be not denied access, stand at her doors,
And tell them, there thy fixed foot shall grow
Till thou have audience.

Viola is sceptical at success. Some nice dramatic Irony next

DUKE ORSINO

Dear lad, believe it;
For they shall yet belie thy happy years,
That say thou art a man: Diana’s lip
Is not more smooth and rubious; thy small pipe
Is as the maiden’s organ, shrill and sound,
And all is semblative a woman’s part.

We realise next why Viola is reluctant to go and woo Olivia

VIOLA

I’ll do my best
To woo your lady:

Aside

yet, a barful strife!
Whoe’er I woo, myself would be his wife.

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Twelfth Night – Act One Scene Three

SIR TOBY BELCH

What a plague means my niece, to take the death of
her brother thus? I am sure care’s an enemy to life.

Says Sir Toby, who hasn’t a care in the world. Maria moans at him about his drinking and behaviour

MARIA

That quaffing and drinking will undo you: I heard
my lady talk of it yesterday; and of a foolish
knight that you brought in one night here to be her wooer.

SIR TOBY BELCH

Who, Sir Andrew Aguecheek?

MARIA

Ay, he.

SIR TOBY BELCH

He’s as tall a man as any’s in Illyria.

MARIA

What’s that to the purpose?

We hear about Sir Andrew Aguecheek from two different viewpoints

SIR TOBY BELCH

…. he plays o’ the
viol-de-gamboys, and speaks three or four languages
word for word without book, and hath all the good
gifts of nature.

MARIA

He hath indeed, almost natural: for besides that
he’s a fool, he’s a great quarreller: and but that
he hath the gift of a coward to allay the gust he
hath in quarrelling, ’tis thought among the prudent
he would quickly have the gift of a grave.

SIR TOBY BELCH

By this hand, they are scoundrels and subtractors
that say so of him. Who are they?

MARIA

They that add, moreover, he’s drunk nightly in your company.

SIR TOBY BELCH

With drinking healths to my niece: I’ll drink to
her as long as there is a passage in my throat and
drink in Illyria:

Sir Toby Belch and Friends

 

Right on cue, Sir Andrew Aguecheek arrives. He is egged on by Sir Toby to charm Maria

SIR TOBY BELCH

Accost, Sir Andrew, accost.

SIR ANDREW

What’s that?

SIR TOBY BELCH

My niece’s chambermaid.

SIR ANDREW

Good Mistress Accost, I desire better acquaintance.

MARIA

My name is Mary, sir.

SIR ANDREW

Good Mistress Mary Accost,–

SIR TOBY BELCH

You mistake, knight; ‘accost’ is front her, board
her, woo her, assail her.

A great comic scene follows between the two

SIR ANDREW

   . Methinks sometimes I have no more wit
than a Christian or an ordinary man has: but I am a
great eater of beef and I believe that does harm to my wit.

SIR TOBY BELCH

No question.

Also

SIR TOBY BELCH

Pourquoi, my dear knight?

SIR ANDREW

What is ‘Pourquoi’? do or not do? I would I had
bestowed that time in the tongues that I have in
fencing, dancing and bear-baiting:

Compare that to earlier

SIR TOBY BELCH

     he plays o’ the
viol-de-gamboys, and speaks three or four languages
word for word without book,
and hath all the good
gifts of nature.

Sir Andrew is not sure that Olivia is interested in him but Sir Toby reassures him to keep trying.

 

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Twelfth Night – Act One Scene Two

Shipwreck

Viola and sailors have been washed up a shore after a shipwreck

VIOLA

What country, friends, is this?

Captain

This is Illyria, lady.

VIOLA

And what should I do in Illyria?

Viola’s twin brother was also on the ship and Viola is worried as he was separated from the rest, The Captain tries to reassure her

Captain

… and, to comfort you with chance,
Assure yourself, after our ship did split,
When you and those poor number saved with you
Hung on our driving boat, I saw your brother,
Most provident in peril, bind himself,
Courage and hope both teaching him the practise,
To a strong mast that lived upon the sea;
Where, like Arion on the dolphin’s back,
I saw him hold acquaintance with the waves
So long as I could see.

Viola hears about the count Orsino and the Lady Olivia who is in mourning for her dead brother. Viola decides to dress up like a man and gain employment with the Duke

VIOLA

There is a fair behavior in thee, captain;
And though that nature with a beauteous wall
Doth oft close in pollution, yet of thee
I will believe thou hast a mind that suits
With this thy fair and outward character.
I prithee, and I’ll pay thee bounteously,
Conceal me what I am, and be my aid
For such disguise as haply shall become
The form of my intent. I’ll serve this duke:
Thou shall present me as an eunuch to him:
It may be worth thy pains; for I can sing
And speak to him in many sorts of music
That will allow me very worth his service.
What else may hap to time I will commit;
Only shape thou thy silence to my wit.

The Captain agrees.

So we have a shipwreck, a lost twin and a woman pretending to be a man. All the ingredients of a Shakespeare play in fact

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Twelfth Night – Act One Scene One

Duke Orsino is at his court and obviously in a melancholy. He delivers the most famous opening lines in the canon

DUKE ORSINO

If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again! it had a dying fall:
O, it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound,
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour! Enough; no more:
‘Tis not so sweet now as it was before.
O spirit of love! how quick and fresh art thou,
That, notwithstanding thy capacity
Receiveth as the sea, nought enters there,
Of what validity and pitch soe’er,
But falls into abatement and low price,
Even in a minute: so full of shapes is fancy
That it alone is high fantastical.

Curio tries to distract him

CURIO

Will you go hunt, my lord?

DUKE ORSINO

What, Curio?

CURIO

The hart.

DUKE ORSINO

Why, so I do, the noblest that I have:
O, when mine eyes did see Olivia first,
Methought she purged the air of pestilence!
That instant was I turn’d into a hart;
And my desires, like fell and cruel hounds,
E’er since pursue me.

Valentine tells him and the audience the background to Olivia and Orsino’s melancholy

VALENTINE
The element itself, till seven years’ heat,
Shall not behold her face at ample view;
But, like a cloistress, she will veiled walk
And water once a day her chamber round
With eye-offending brine: all this to season
A brother’s dead love, which she would keep fresh
And lasting in her sad remembrance.

 

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Quote

 Starting Twelfth Night now

This is a play I have seen Three times.

  • Once at Chichester – with Patrick Stewart as Malvolio
  • Once at RSC – Stratford – with Richard Wilson and James Fleet
  • And in my local Theatre – Basingstoke Haymarket – (Cast of 7 so lots of doubling up)

Previous blogs see Archive page

So, let’s go to Illyria…

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Act Five Scene Three

Touchstone and Audrey prepare for the big day

TOUCHSTONE

To-morrow is the joyful day, Audrey; to-morrow will
we be married.

AUDREY

I do desire it with all my heart; and I hope it is
no dishonest desire to desire to be a woman of the
world.

There is a song – Lover and his Lass

Act Five Scene Four

Everyone is gathered for the festivities and the promises that Ganymede has made

ROSALIND

I have promised to make all this matter even.
Keep you your word, O duke, to give your daughter;
You yours, Orlando, to receive his daughter:
Keep your word, Phebe, that you’ll marry me,
Or else refusing me, to wed this shepherd:
Keep your word, Silvius, that you’ll marry her.
If she refuse me: and from hence I go,
To make these doubts all even.

 

Duke Senior begins to see the truth, but Orlando shows his gullibility

DUKE SENIOR

I do remember in this shepherd boy
Some lively touches of my daughter’s favour.

ORLANDO

My lord, the first time that I ever saw him
Methought he was a brother to your daughter:
But, my good lord, this boy is forest-born,
And hath been tutor’d in the rudiments
Of many desperate studies by his uncle,
Whom he reports to be a great magician,
Obscured in the circle of this forest.

 

After a humorous exchange between Touchstone and Jaques, Rosalind returns in her true colours

DUKE SENIOR

If there be truth in sight, you are my daughter.

ORLANDO

If there be truth in sight, you are my Rosalind.

PHEBE

If sight and shape be true,
Why then, my love adieu!

After the ceremonies, with Hymen, Rosalind gives the Epilogue to the play

ROSALIND

It is not the fashion to see the lady the epilogue;
but it is no more unhandsome than to see the lord
the prologue. If it be true that good wine needs
no bush, ’tis true that a good play needs no
epilogue; yet to good wine they do use good bushes,
and good plays prove the better by the help of good
epilogues. What a case am I in then, that am
neither a good epilogue nor cannot insinuate with
you in the behalf of a good play! I am not
furnished like a beggar, therefore to beg will not
become me: my way is to conjure you; and I’ll begin
with the women. I charge you, O women, for the love
you bear to men, to like as much of this play as
please you: and I charge you, O men, for the love
you bear to women–as I perceive by your simpering,
none of you hates them–that between you and the
women the play may please. If I were a woman I
would kiss as many of you as had beards that pleased
me, complexions that liked me and breaths that I
defied not: and, I am sure, as many as have good
beards or good faces or sweet breaths will, for my
kind offer, when I make curtsy, bid me farewell.

 

 THE END

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As you like it – Act five Scene Two

Orlando questions Oliver’s motives when he learns Oliver has fallen in love with Celia so quickly, even though he did the same with Rosalind.

ORLANDO

Is’t possible that on so little acquaintance you
should like her? that but seeing you should love
her? and loving woo? and, wooing, she should
grant? and will you persever to enjoy her?

Enter Rosalind who greets Oliver as leaves

ROSALIND

God save you, brother.

OLIVER

And you, fair sister.

Oliver is no fool.

Orlando is pleased for his brother but it is a double edged sword

ORLANDO

They shall be married to-morrow, and I will bid the
duke to the nuptial. But, O, how bitter a thing it
is to look into happiness through another man’s
eyes! By so much the more shall I to-morrow be at
the height of heart-heaviness, by how much I shall
think my brother happy in having what he wishes for.

Rosalind, seeing how unhappy Orlando is decides to remedy it.

ROSALIND

. Believe then, if
you please, that I can do strange things: I have,
since I was three year old, conversed with a
magician, most profound in his art and yet not
damnable. If you do love Rosalind so near the heart
as your gesture cries it out, when your brother
marries Aliena, shall you marry her:

Enter Phebe and her faithful pup, Silvius. They all are in love with the wrong person.

PHEBE

Good shepherd, tell this youth what ’tis to love.

SILVIUS

It is to be all made of sighs and tears;
And so am I for Phebe.

PHEBE

And I for Ganymede.

ORLANDO

And I for Rosalind.

ROSALIND

And I for no woman.

Rosalind has had enough.

ROSALIND

Pray you, no more of this; ’tis like the howling
of Irish wolves against the moon.

She promises to fix everybody’s problems as we shall see in the final scene.

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