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Twelfth Night, or What You Will

Twelfth Night, or What You Will

Rules and Order Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

SIR TOBY BELCH
O knight thou lackest a cup of canary: when did I
see thee so put down?

When Toby teases Sir Andrew Aguecheek for allowing Maria to bag on him and make him look silly, he emphasizes the way Maria too is aligned with the play's festive atmosphere (despite her half-hearted attempts to control Toby's behavior). Not only does Maria fool around with Toby and the guys when she's supposed to be keeping Olivia happy, she's also an unruly figure because she's a woman who talks back to men. As the mastermind behind the prank on Malvolio (Maria's the one who forges the letter), Maria is placed in direct opposition to Puritanical figures like Malvolio.

Quote #5

SIR ANDREW
I'll stay a month longer. I am a fellow o' the
strangest mind i' the world; I delight in masques
and revels sometimes altogether. (1.3.18)

When Sir Andrew Aguecheek mentions that he enjoys "masques and revels," he reminds us that Twelfth Night not only depicts a carnival-like atmosphere, but is just the kind of play that Elizabethans would have enjoyed during the winter festival season. Note: We don't know for sure if it was written for or even performed on Twelfth Night. You can check out "What's Up with the Title?" for more on this.

Quote #6

OLIVIA
What think you of this fool, Malvolio? doth he not mend? (1.5.9)

Here, Olivia compliments Feste the Clown, whose fooling and performance seems to embody the spirit of the play and the Twelfth Night festival. (He sings, dances, tells great jokes, and entertains audiences with his wit and humor, etc.) It's significant that Olivia uses the term "mend" because she not only implies that laughter is the best medicine for a sad mood, but she also alludes to the idea that plays and sanctioned celebrations like Twelfth Night and Mardi Gras are necessary for the health of the community – they allow everyday folks to let loose, forget about their worries, and have a bit of cathartic fun.

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