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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 #1

Ay, but you must confine yourself within the
modest limits of order.
Confine! I'll confine myself no finer than I am.
These clothes are good enough to drink in, and so
be these boots too. An they be not, let them hang
themselves in their own straps! (1.3.8-13)

Toby's rebellious behavior and refusal to obey "the limits of order" renders him a kind of "Lord of Misrule" (a figure appointed to be in charge of festivities during holiday celebrations like Twelfth Night). Toby acts as the ring leader throughout the play, orchestrating entertainment and causing mischief (like the elaborate prank on Malvolio).

Quote #2

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. (1.3.14-17)

Here, Maria accuses Toby of excessive "drinking" and "quaffing" (downing large amounts of liquid quickly). Critics note that Toby Belch (as his name suggests) is pretty nearly synonymous with the bodily excesses in which he indulges.

Quote #3

What a plague means my niece, to take the death
of her brother thus? I am sure care's an enemy to
By my troth, Sir Toby, you must come in earlier
o' nights. Your cousin, my lady, takes great exceptions
to your ill hours. (1.3.1-6)

We know that Toby lives each day of his life as though it is a 24/7 party. While his excessive lifestyle is in keeping with the play's festive atmosphere, his behavior also seems grotesque in light of the fact that he carries on while Olivia is in mourning. On the other hand, we could say that Toby's partying draws attention to the excessiveness of Olivia's sad demeanor, which is completely out of place in this play.

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