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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 Rules and Order Quotes

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

Quote #7

Out o' tune, sir? You lie. Art any more than a
steward? Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous,
there shall be no more cakes and ale? (2.3.13-15)

Here, Toby upbraids Malvolio for having the audacity to criticize his social betters. Malvolio, after all, is Olivia's "steward," not a member of the upper class. Toby refers to "cakes and ale," popular treats served during Twelfth Night festivities. (As every kid in Louisiana knows, "king cakes" are also popular during Mardi Gras.)

Quote #8

Marry, sir, sometimes he is a kind of puritan.
O, if I thought that, I'd beat him like a dog! (2.3.139-140)

Here, Maria sums up why Malvolio is so disliked by Toby and company – he acts like a "kind of puritan," a member of a religious sect in 16th-century England that was opposed to the raucous festivities of Twelfth Night and other winter festivals. Humiliating Malvolio becomes important not merely as a petty act of revenge, but also as a larger way to challenge moral authority.

Quote #9

Come, come, I'll go burn some sack. 'Tis too
late to go to bed now:. Come, knight; come, knight. (2.3.188-189)

Sir Toby and Sir Andrew always manage to find an excuse to stay up all hours drinking "sack" (ale). (In fact, they go to dramatic lengths to convince themselves that being awake at, say, two o'clock in the morning is just as healthy as waking up early.) Their determination to never let the party end, however, reminds us that Twelfth Night marks the end of the Christmas celebrations. Like all good things, even a spirited party season must come to an end and order must be restored. Yet, Shakespeare also seems a bit reluctant to return to the status quo. At the end of the play, he appears to restore social order (identities are revealed and heterosexual partners are paired up). He does, however, leave Viola in her "Cesario" disguise, which suggests that Shakespeare, like Toby and Andrew, doesn't really want to call it a night either.

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