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Twelfth Night – Act Three Scene Two

Sir Andrew is upset because Olivia is showing more attention to Cesario than him. He is leaving for home

Sir Toby and Fabian persuade him to stay

FABIAN

She did show favour to the youth in your sight only
to exasperate you, to awake your dormouse valour, to
put fire in your heart and brimstone in your liver.
You should then have accosted her; and with some
excellent jests, fire-new from the mint, you should
have banged the youth into dumbness. This was
looked for at your hand, and this was balked: the
double gilt of this opportunity you let time wash
off, and you are now sailed into the north of my
lady’s opinion; where you will hang like an icicle
on a Dutchman’s beard, unless you do redeem it by
some laudable attempt either of valour or policy.

Sir Toby suggests writing a challenge to Cesario to prove his valour

SIR TOBY BELCH

Go, write it in a martial hand; be curst and brief;
it is no matter how witty, so it be eloquent and fun
of invention: taunt him with the licence of ink:
if thou thou’st him some thrice, it shall not be
amiss; and as many lies as will lie in thy sheet of
paper, although the sheet were big enough for the
bed of Ware in England, set ’em down: go, about it.
Let there be gall enough in thy ink, though thou
write with a goose-pen, no matter: about it.

When Sir Andrew leaves to write this letter we see the real Sir Toby. He means to continue this jest to it’s conclusion, as he will with Malvolio

SIR TOBY BELCH

. For Andrew, if he were
opened, and you find so much blood in his liver as
will clog the foot of a flea, I’ll eat the rest of
the anatomy.

Maria enters in haste as Malvolio is coming dressed in yellow stockings. They go to laugh at him

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Twelfth Night – Act Two Scene Five

The trap is laid for Malvolio and Toby, Andrew and Fabian hide in a box tree to witness

MARIA

Get ye all three into the box-tree: Malvolio’s
coming down this walk: he has been yonder i’ the
sun practising behavior to his own shadow this half
hour: observe him, for the love of mockery; for I
know this letter will make a contemplative idiot of
him. Close, in the name of jesting! Lie thou there,

Throws down a letter

for here comes the trout that must be caught with tickling.

Malvolio, believing himself alone fantasises about being married to Olivia and chastising Sir Toby Belch for his drunkenness.

MALVOLIO

Saying, ‘Cousin Toby, my fortunes having cast me on
your niece give me this prerogative of speech,’–

SIR TOBY BELCH

What, what?

MALVOLIO

‘You must amend your drunkenness.’

SIR TOBY BELCH

Out, scab!

FABIAN

Nay, patience, or we break the sinews of our plot.

MALVOLIO

‘Besides, you waste the treasure of your time with
a foolish knight,’–

SIR ANDREW

That’s me, I warrant you.

MALVOLIO

‘One Sir Andrew,’–

SIR ANDREW

I knew ’twas I; for many do call me fool.

MALVOLIO

What employment have we here?

Taking up the letter

The trap is sprung

MALVOLIO

By my life, this is my lady’s hand these be her
very C’s, her U’s and her T’s and thus makes she her
great P’s. It is, in contempt of question, her hand.

SIR ANDREW

Her C’s, her U’s and her T’s: why that?

Why indeed?. Arden edition believe that “CUT” is slang for vagina, and making her P’s is urinating.

What follows is a riddle designed by Maria to play on Malvoilio’s vainness .

I’ve taken out the interjections from the hidden trio and just left Malvolio talking to himself

MALVOLIO

[Reads]
I may command where I adore;
But silence, like a Lucrece knife,
With bloodless stroke my heart doth gore:
M, O, A, I, doth sway my life.

‘M, O, A, I, doth sway my life.’ Nay, but first, let
me see, let me see, let me see.

‘I may command where I adore.’ Why, she may command
me: I serve her; she is my lady. Why, this is
evident to any formal capacity; there is no
obstruction in this: and the end,–what should
that alphabetical position portend? If I could make
that resemble something in me,–Softly! M, O, A,
I,–

M,–Malvolio; M,–why, that begins my name.

M,–but then there is no consonancy in the sequel;
that suffers under probation A should follow but O does

And then I comes behind.

M, O, A, I; this simulation is not as the former: and
yet, to crush this a little, it would bow to me, for
every one of these letters are in my name. Soft!
here follows prose.

Reads

‘If this fall into thy hand, revolve. In my stars I
am above thee; but be not afraid of greatness: some
are born great, some achieve greatness, and some
have greatness thrust upon ’em. Thy Fates open
their hands; let thy blood and spirit embrace them;
and, to inure thyself to what thou art like to be,
cast thy humble slough and appear fresh. Be
opposite with a kinsman, surly with servants; let
thy tongue tang arguments of state; put thyself into
the trick of singularity: she thus advises thee
that sighs for thee. Remember who commended thy
yellow stockings, and wished to see thee ever
cross-gartered: I say, remember. Go to, thou art
made, if thou desirest to be so; if not, let me see
thee a steward still, the fellow of servants, and
not worthy to touch Fortune’s fingers. Farewell.
She that would alter services with thee,
THE FORTUNATE-UNHAPPY.’
Daylight and champaign discovers not more: this is
open. I will be proud, I will read politic authors,
I will baffle Sir Toby, I will wash off gross
acquaintance, I will be point-devise the very man.
I do not now fool myself, to let imagination jade
me; for every reason excites to this, that my lady
loves me. She did commend my yellow stockings of
late, she did praise my leg being cross-gartered;
and in this she manifests herself to my love, and
with a kind of injunction drives me to these habits
of her liking. I thank my stars I am happy. I will
be strange, stout, in yellow stockings, and
cross-gartered, even with the swiftness of putting
on. Jove and my stars be praised! Here is yet a
postscript.

Reads

‘Thou canst not choose but know who I am. If thou
entertainest my love, let it appear in thy smiling;
thy smiles become thee well; therefore in my
presence still smile, dear my sweet, I prithee.’
Jove, I thank thee: I will smile; I will do
everything that thou wilt have me.

Malvolio exits and Maria enters and they will see the fruits of this jest

MARIA

If you will then see the fruits of the sport, mark
his first approach before my lady: he will come to
her in yellow stockings, and ’tis a colour she
abhors, and cross-gartered, a fashion she detests;
and he will smile upon her, which will now be so
unsuitable to her disposition, being addicted to a
melancholy as she is, that it cannot but turn him
into a notable contempt. If you will see it, follow
me.

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Twelfth Night – Act Two Scene Three
A great comic scene with Toby Belch and Andrew Aguecheek

SIR ANDREW
Nay, my troth, I know not: but I know, to be up
late is to be up late.
SIR TOBY BELCH
A false conclusion: I hate it as an unfilled can.
To be up after midnight and to go to bed then, is
early: so that to go to bed after midnight is to go
to bed betimes.

They are drunk and when the clown, Feste enters they have a song and a dance. Much to the annoyance to everyone else in the house

MARIA
What a caterwauling do you keep here! If my lady
have not called up her steward Malvolio and bid him
turn you out of doors, never trust me.

And

MALVOLIO
My masters, are you mad? or what are you? Have ye
no wit, manners, nor honesty, but to gabble like
tinkers at this time of night? Do ye make an
alehouse of my lady’s house, that ye squeak out your
coziers’ catches without any mitigation or remorse
of voice? Is there no respect of place, persons, nor
time in you?

Maria has a plan to trick Malvolio

MARIA
Sweet Sir Toby, be patient for tonight: since the
youth of the count’s was today with thy lady, she is
much out of quiet. For Monsieur Malvolio, let me
alone with him: if I do not gull him into a
nayword, and make him a common recreation, do not
think I have wit enough to lie straight in my bed:
I know I can do it.
SIR TOBY BELCH
Possess us, possess us; tell us something of him.
MARIA
Marry, sir, sometimes he is a kind of puritan.
SIR ANDREW
O, if I thought that I’ld beat him like a dog!
SIR TOBY BELCH
What, for being a puritan? thy exquisite reason,
dear knight?
SIR ANDREW
I have no exquisite reason for’t, but I have reason
good enough.

Maria will write a note to Malvolio in the style of Olivia

SIR TOBY BELCH
What wilt thou do?
MARIA
I will drop in his way some obscure epistles of
love; wherein, by the colour of his beard, the shape
of his leg, the manner of his gait, the expressure
of his eye, forehead, and complexion, he shall find
himself most feelingly personated. I can write very
like my lady your niece: on a forgotten matter we
can hardly make distinction of our hands.

Sir Toby and Sir Andrew decide it’s too late to go to bed so carry on drinking and eating

 

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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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