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Twelfth Night, or What You Will

Twelfth Night, or What You Will


by William Shakespeare

Twelfth Night, or What You Will Lies and Deceit Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Norton edition.

Quote #4

A blank, my lord. She never told her love,
But let concealment, like a worm i' th' bud,
Feed on her damask cheek. She pined in thought,
And with a green and yellow melancholy
She sat like Patience on a monument (2.4.122-126)

In this passage "Cesario" speaks to Duke Orsino of "his" "father's daughter" (Viola), who kept her love a secret. "Cesario's" language is interesting here, as "he" suggests that secrets can eat away at, or "feed on," the person who keeps them hidden. The simile (a secret is like a worm eating a flower bud) also resonates with the play's portrayal of the relationship between love and food and love and disease or injury. Check out our thoughts on the theme of "Love" if you want to make some comparisons.

Quote #5

I am not what I am. (3.1.148)

"Cesario's" cryptic statement to Olivia, who has fallen in love with "him," is both revealing and concealing. Olivia has no idea that "Cesario" is really Viola in disguise. The audience, however, knows that "Cesario" is not what "he" appears to be. "Cesario" suggests that "he" is neither a boy nor an appropriate object for Olivia to love.

Quote #6

By innocence I swear, and by my youth,
I have one heart, one bosom and one truth,
And that no woman has, nor never none
Shall mistress be of it, save I alone. (3.1.165-168)

"Cesario's" insistence on singularity – "he" has "one heart, one bosom and one truth" ("he's" in love with and devoted to Orsino only) is striking in this passage, especially given the fact that "Cesario's" cryptic words hold double meaning. This, of course, also draws out attention to the doubleness of Viola's disguised identity.

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