Twelfth night acts 1 and 2
Twelfth Night by William ShakespeareSet in a topsy-turvy world like a holiday revel, this comedy devises a romantic plot around separated twins, misplaced passions, and mistaken identity. Juxtaposed to it is the satirical story of a self-deluded steward who dreams of becoming “Count Malvolio” only to receive his comeuppance at the hands of the merrymakers he wishes to suppress. The two plots combine to create a farce touched with melancholy, mixed throughout with seductively beautiful explorations on the themes of love and time, and the play ends, not with laughter, but with a clown’s sad song.
Summary Act 1
See Important Quotations Explained. In the land of Illyria, Duke Orsino enters, attended by his lords. Orsino is hopelessly in love with the beautiful Lady Olivia and pines away for her. He refuses to hunt and orders musicians to entertain him while he thinks about his desire for Olivia. His servant Valentine reminds him that Olivia does not return his love or even listen to the messages he sends her.
Alas, the distraction the music affords Orsino is temporary, and worse Valentine arrives to report the following: Olivia will sequester herself for seven years while mourning for her recently deceased brother. Dismayed, Orsino seeks solace in a bower of flowers. Chance has brought Viola, who has lost Sebastian her brother out at sea, to the coast of an unfamiliar land. The news prompts Viola to take a course of action that would place her in the service of the Duke. She would like to offer the Duke what solace she can. To pull this off, she would need to disguise herself as a eunuch. She entreats the Captain for his help and he obliges.
From the SparkNotes Blog
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The scene opens after a terrible ship wreck. Viola, a few sailors, and a sea captain arrive on shore and Viola asks where they are. The captain says they're in Illyria. Viola's name isn't revealed to the play-going audience until Act 5. Readers of the play, however, know her name because it's in the script and marks the beginning of each of her lines. Viola is bummed that she's in Illyria and says her brother is probably in heaven, but she's holding onto hope that he is alive.
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