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MonkeyNotes-Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
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Act III, Scene 4

This scene reverts back to the two subplots: the intrigue against Malvolio and the duel between Sir Andrew and Viola. Once again, Olivia has sent for Viola/Cesario and has prepared a feast in order to win her love. She is nervous and wonders if Viola will take her feeding him in the wrong way. She calls for Malvolio whom she hopes will calm her nerves. Instead she finds that the usual somber, serious Malvolio has changed in a startling manner. Olivia is shocked to see him dressed in cross garters and yellow stockings, smiling and laughing. Malvolio hints that he has received Olivia's letter, quoting at length from it to prove that he has followed the instructions. Olivia fears that Malvolio is a victim of "midsummer madness." Meanwhile, Viola has arrived at the gate and Olivia asks Maria to have Sir Toby look after Malvolio. This is further proof for Malvolio that the writer is Olivia as Sir Toby was mentioned in the letter. Sir Toby and Fabian pretend that Malvolio is a mad man, and treat him as such. Malvolio treats them with contempt as he already considers himself to be a Count. The trio decides to lock Malvolio up in a dark room on the pretext of being mad.

In the meantime, Sir Andrew has written a letter, challenging Viola/Cesario to a duel. Sir Toby reads the letter, and asks Sir Andrew to wait for Viola in the orchard. Sir Toby will challenge Viola personally on behalf of Sir Andrew, presenting an exaggerated picture of Sir Andrew's fierce nature. They leave just as Olivia enters with Viola whom she gives a jewel with her picture on it, which she asks to have returned the next day. After Olivia leaves, Viola encounters Sir Toby and Fabian. The former challenges her on behalf of Sir Andrew, mentioning that Sir Andrew has already killed three men, and is eager to fight her. Viola wonders what offense she has committed but no one gives her an answer. Toby instead threatens to fight her if she does not accept the challenge. Leaving her in Fabian's care, he goes off ostensibly to find out the nature of the offense while Fabian, on Viola's request, promises to persuade Sir Andrew to withdraw the challenge.


Next, Sir Toby drags an unwilling Sir Andrew towards Viola who has also been frightened by a description of Viola's prowess with the sword. Sir Andrew regrets having challenged Viola and is willing to offer his horse to her to prevent the duel. Sir Toby decides to keep the horse for himself and gets the unwilling duelists to draw their swords.

Antonio enters at this moment, and mistaking Viola for Sebastian, says that he is willing to fight on her behalf since he is a true swordsman. The Duke's men stop the duel as it is unlawful in Illyria. Antonio is recognized and arrested, and as he is about to leave, he asks Viola for his purse. Viola is surprised and denies all knowledge of the purse, but is willing to lend him money. She does not recognize him in spite of his attempts. Antonio censures her, addressing her as Sebastian. Later, Viola realizes that Antonio may have mistaken her for Sebastian, and is hopeful of his safety. After she leaves, Sir Toby sends Sir Andrew to follow her and continue the fight.

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