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					                         Twelfth Night
                Troupe Discussion Section Act 1

Scene #1


The scene opens with Duke Orsino, hopelessly in love with the beautiful Lady Olivia. He
refuses to do anything and commands his servants to entertain him while he pines away
for her. His servant Valentine reminds him that Olivia does not return Orsino’s affections
and she refuses to hear the messages he sends her. From Valentine, we discover that
Olivia is mourning her dead brother. She wears a dark veil and swears that no one will
see her face nor will she marry for at least seven years. Her vow to stay chaste entices
Orsino more. He sulks and pouts, desiring only to lie about while dreaming of his love.

   Section 1

      Discussion Points (Complete asa group and record your answers on the sheet

       Characterization of Orsino:
              (Line 1)If music be the food of love, play on, / Give me excess of it

               Question 1.-How does this quote from Orsino’s opening lines
               introduce the plot conflict and Orsino’s mood?

              (Lines 14-15)So full of shapes is fancy / That it alone is high fantastical

               This introduces that romantic love and notion so often is a product of the
               lover’s imagination. Fantasy or what is “fantastical or capricious” is a
               major theme of the play.

               Question 2-We’ve known Orsino for about three minutes now; what
               can we tell about him already? Give me at least three things.
   Characterization of Olivia:

         Valentine’s message to Orsino-(Lines 25-33) Read it before answering the

          Through Valentine, we learn Olivia’s plight and chosen mourning method.

          Question 1- How does Olivia’s vow of chastity conflict with what we’ve
          already discussed about the focus of comedy in Shakespeare’s time?
          (If the focus of comedy is love, marriage, and continuation of
          community, a young, beautiful, fertile woman like Olivia should be
          falling in love and having babies, not wasting her most (re)productive

Section 2- Themes presented:
   Ideas of Marriage and Levels of Love

   Question 1- How is this theme (ideas of love and marriage) reinforced by the
   idea that Orsino’s romantic love for Olivia who does not love him in return is

Group Journal Response #1:
   1.Within the language of the play, how does Shakespeare immediately introduce
   the audience to Orsino’s identity and role through his dialogue and actions? In
   your response you must provide a minimum of five words to describe Orsino and
   5 quotes within the scene to support you answer.
                          Twelfth Night
                 Troupe Discussion Section Act 1

       Scene 2


In this scene, Viola and a shipwrecked crew pull themselves out of the sea onto the shore
of Illyria. Viola’s brother Sebastian is not with them and she fears he has drowned. The
captain tries to console her that there is a chance he survived, but Viola seems to have
little hope. Viola must find a way to support herself in this new land. The captain is a
native of these lands and explains that Duke Orsino rules Illyria. Viola knows of him and
instantly recalls that his marital status as a bachelor. The captain confirms that he is still
unmarried, yet he also informs her that the Duke is unsuccessfully courting Lady Olivia
who is mourning her dead brother. This similar situation spurs Viola to want to be a
servant in Olivia’s house so that she too can hide away from the world to mourn her
brother. The captain replies that it would be unlikely Viola would be welcomed into the
household. Viola then determines that she will disguise herself as a man and gain a
position in Orsino’s household instead. She promises to pay the captain handsomely if he
helps her complete her plan.

Section #1

      Discussion Points (complete as a group and record your answers on the sheet

              Characterization of Viola:

From the opening of the scene the audience can question Viola’s character

               Her immediate lack of concern that her brother may have survived (note
               how little she actually mourns)

               Her first reaction to hide
            Her response to attach herself to a man, particularly one she knows to be
            an attractive bachelor

            Her quick decision to disguise herself as a man to negate that she is a
            woman alone

            Question 1-How do these qualities introduce us to Viola’s daring

           (Line 35) What's she?(Viola asking about Olivia)

            Question #2-How is this an interesting way to phrase the question?
            What does this say about Viola and her opinion of other women?

            Section 2-Themes

        A.Willing Suspension of Disbelief for the Moment-this is the
        “agreement between the audience and the performers that the
        audience will accept and believe what is occurring on stage no
        matter how unbelievable it is.

        Question #1- What has already occurred on stage that is “unbelievable”
        but the audience will accept it?

        Question #2-How are these “unbelievable events” important to keep the
        play progressing?

B. Potential for Tragedy Within a Comedy
     Discuss what you would consider the elements of a tragedy and how the
     characters in Twelfth Night could be set up for a potential tragedy. Give me a
     min. of 3 things!
Group Journal #2:

      1. Shakespeare often disguises one gender as another in his plays. The
         audiences of past and present believe this to be silly or ludicrous, but yet
         go along with it to serve the purpose of the plot. How does this cross-
         dressing add complexity and add humor to the performance? What modern
         examples do we see used in literature and film?
                          Twelfth Night
                 Troupe Discussion Section Act 1
       Scene 3


Sir Toby, Olivia’s uncle, and Maria, Olivia’s servant, enter the scene at her lady’s house.
Sir Toby is often lewd and crude—but funny— due to his overindulgence in alcohol.
Maria warns him that Olivia is quite displeased with his staying out late at night and his
overindulgences, but Toby does not take it to heart. Maria also criticizes Toby for
bringing his foolish friend, Sir Andrew Aguecheek to woo Olivia. Again Toby balks,
saying that Andrew is a fine match for his niece, for he is handsome and rich. Maria does
not approve, saying that Andrew is just one of Toby’s drinking companions. It soon
becomes clear that Toby’s relationship with Andrew is based purely on Andrew’s
available, free-flowing cash, and perhaps also because Toby is entertained by Andrew’s

Sir Andrew enters the scene. He proves himself to be a bumbling fool when he can’t
seem to get Maria’s name right. She exits. Sir Toby and Sir Andrew continue the scene
by joking around when Andrew brings up the fact that Olivia does not seem to be
impressed by his courting. Andrew plans to leave the next morning and surmises that
Olivia will probably end up with Orsino. Toby disagrees and convinces Andrew that he
should stay one month longer. He also compliments Andrew’s dancing skills and
convinces him to perform to close out the scene.

Section 1

      Discussion Points:

       Characterization of Sir Toby Belch:

               Toby comes into the scene tipsy and boisterous. He tries to represent
                himself as an uncle with his niece’s good virtue in mind; yet as the scene
                progresses, it is Toby’s selfish misjudgment that clearly comes across.

       Characterization of Maria:

               Maria enters the scene chastising Toby and his late night debacles, saying
                that they distress her mistress so. This establishes Maria’s loyalty to
          Olivia, and her bawdy nature demonstrates that she is Toby’s equal in wit.
          Her wit is further illustrated throughout the scene with playful comments
          and references to her anatomy as the “buttery bar.”

   Characterization of Sir Andrew Aguecheek:

         Sir Andrew is represented as quite the fool with his misuse of Maria’s
          name and his play on the word “accost.” His musings with Toby and his
          dancing antics establish him as a fool or buffoon.

   Question 1: What are the boundaries of decorum? How appropriate is Sir
   Toby’s behavior in Olivia’s house, especially considering that it is a house of
   mourning? In your answer find two or more quotes from the scene that
   demonstrate your argument.

Group Journal Prompts:

   1. Humor and comedy often lies in what is considered to be socially vulgar or
   inappropriate. How does Shakespeare use “off-color” comments to evoke laughter
   from the audience. Additionally, what physical actions would the actors use to
   help elicit this same response?
                          Twelfth Night
                          Troupe Discussion Section Act 1

Scene 4


Enter Valentine and Viola dressed in man’s attire and named “Cesario.” Cesario has
served for three days in Orsino’s household and is already considered to be a favorite of
the Duke’s. The Duke enters to tell Cesario of a very important errand he must run for the
Duke. Orsino hopes that Olivia will so like the young, attractive messenger that she will
be more agreeable to his entreaty. The Duke wants Cesario, Viola in disguise, to act his
woes (Line 26) in trying to impress and attract Olivia. Hesitantly, Cesario agrees to
complete the Duke’s request. Cesario’s last line of the scene foreshadows an impending
love triangle: Yet a barful strife! / Whoe’er I woo, myself would be his wife (Lines 41-42).

Section 1

      Discussion Points:

       Characterization of Orsino:

               Orsino and Cesario’s relationship is quite developed after three days.
                Valentine reassures Cesario that the Duke is constant in his favors (Line 7)
                and that If the Duke continues these favors towards you, Cesario, you are
                like to be much advanced. This opinion of the Duke’s loyalty comes into
                question as the play progresses. The suggestion of “advancement” is
                questionable as well.
    Aside: (Line 42) Whoe’er I woo, myself would be his wife.

    Question 1- Here is a line that ends the scene with a cliffhanger. It
    foreshadows that there are unforeseen problems yet to be added to this
    already complicated plot. What could it be foreshadowing?

          Mythological reference to Diana's lip (Line35)

    Question 2-Orsino affectionately and passionately describes Cesario’s
    physical features, which appeals to Viola’s secret love, but creates a very
    awkward moment on the stage Why is it awkward?

   Group Journal 3:

    Shakespeare’s comedies often rely on foiled expectations and mistaken,
    unexpected love to develop the story. Predict how things could go wrong within
    the structure of the elements of plot so far. What might happen between Orsino
    and Olivia? Olivia and Cesario? Orsino and Cesario/Viola?
                          Twelfth Night
                          Troupe Discussion Section Act 1

       Scene 5


Feste (or the Clown) is introduced in this scene in his conversation with Maria at Olivia’s
home. Maria is chastising Feste for being gone so long and not telling anyone where he
went. Feste refuses to give her any information about his whereabouts. Lady Olivia and
Malvolio enter. Olivia is not pleased to see Feste and orders that he be removed from the
house. Feste is able to lighten Olivia’s mourning mood. Malvolio on the other hand is not
impressed. He thinks Feste is useless and bothersome. Olivia reproves Malvolio for being
so serious and distempered. Maria arrives with news that there is a young man at the
house gate to see Olivia. (It is Viola dressed as Cesario delivering the message from
Orsino.) Olivia sends Malvolio out to see what this man wants. Sir Toby comes
stumbling in obviously intoxicated. Olivia reproves Toby for drinking and sends Feste off
to take care of him. Malvolio returns from speaking with the young man, telling Olivia
that he refuses to leave. Olivia is curious about this man and asks Malvolio what he looks
like. Malvolio tells her that the man is youthful and good looking. Olivia is curious to see
him and allows him to enter. She calls for Maria to bring her a veil to cover her face for
remember she is supposedly still in mourning over her brother’s death. Viola, dressed as
Cesario, enters and begins to recite Orsiono’s speech from memory. Olivia removers her
veil and asks the young man if he thinks she is pretty. Cesario compliments her beauty.
Olivia turns the questions to Cesario and seems to be much more interested in him than
the Duke. Olivia sends Cesario back to Orsino with the news that she does not love him
and never will. Yet, she invites Cesario to return. When Cesario leaves, Olivia calls for
Malvolio asking him to chase after Cesario and give him a ring, pretending that he left it
behind but meaning it as a token of her affection. Olivia finds herself hopelessly in love
with Cesario.

Section 1

      Group Discussion Points:

       1. Feste is titled the “clown” in this play, but is he really the fool? What “foolish”
       characteristics does each of the characters possess? In Line 56, Feste asks to prove
       to Olivia that she is also “foolish.”
   2. In Lines 9 and 20, Shakespeare establishes time by referring to Lenten and let
   summer bear it out. This use of Spring presents the idea of “new life” and “new
   possibilities.” For these characters, it is almost a “mating season.” Where can you
   find more examples of “mating” so far in the play?

   3. Feste says, Better a witty fool than a foolish wit (Line 35) What could he mean
   by this?

   4. It is important for Viola to see Olivia’s face. Why? What does this suggest
   about Viola and her feelings towards Orsino?

Group Journal Prompts:

   1. In Line 69, Feste tells Olivia The more fool, Madonna, to mourn for your
   brother’s soul, being in heaven. Take away the fool, gentlemen. Which person
   should be taken away? Who is foolish, sensible, and why? What point is he trying
   to make?

   2. Orsino has been trying desperately to win the affection of Olivia, yet Cesario
   unwittingly wins her regard in their very first meeting. What qualities does
   Cesario possess that Orsino lacks, or what other factors make the situation
                         Twelfth Night

                         Troupe Discussion Section Act 1


In your groups you will take time after each Act to dissect the scenes and discuss them.

First read the Discussion section (section #1). After reading and ensuring each person
knows what the question is asking you take turns giving your answers. Have one person
record the answers on the paper I provide you-I would like you to write the name of the
person next to their individual answer. The questions are in bold.

Then continue to the second and third sections and repeat the steps.

I will visit each group to answer questions and assist. You will be given a mark of 1-5
(like in the Dead Poet’s Project) based on your contribution to the group. Make sure that
you are on task and discussing!

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