Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
The complex plot - full of mistaken identities, misdirected passions, high comedy, low tricks, and
unexpected poignancy - begins as a ship, carrying the identical twins Viola and Sebastian is wrecked
off the coast of a fictional country, Illyria. Viola is washed ashore on this alien coast and becomes
convinced that her beloved brother is dead. She learns that she is near the home of Olivia, a young
countess who is also in mourning, for her recently dead father and brother. Accordingly, Olivia has
sworn to have no contact with men for seven years, and in particular she is rejecting the amorous
advances of the young Duke Orsino
Desperate to know how to survive, and to keep the spirit of her twin brother alive, Viola decides to
disguise herself as a boy. She transforms herself into "Cesario," enters into the service of Orsino
and is soon sent to woo Olivia on the Duke's behalf. Olivia remains unmoved by Orsino's attentions
but finds herself instead attracted to young "Cesario," who in turn begins to fall in love with Orsino.
As Viola says, "My master loves her dearly; And I, poor monster, fond as much on him. And she,
mistaken, seems to dote on me." When Viola's twin Sebastian suddenly emerges, alive and well, this
triangle is complicated almost to a breaking point.
While Orsino, Viola, Olivia, and Sebastian are preoccupied with their romantic destinies, Olivia's
household is equally occupied with a power struggle between the ill-tempered, repressive steward,
Malvolio, and her boisterous and bibulous uncle, Sir Toby Belch, accompanied by his vacuous, misfit
friend, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, and Olivia's maid, Maria. For his own financial ends, Sir Toby
encourages Sir Andrew to woo Olivia, while plotting...