Twelfth Night Questions and Answers
1. How was Cesario received at the house of Olivia?
Describe the first meeting of Olivia and Cesario.
Ans. Cesario, the most favourite page of the duke, was given the task of courting Olivia for the duke. The duke said, ‘unfold to her the passion of my love.’ Going there, Cesario told the guards that she wanted to meet the lady. She insisted on meeting her as nobody was allowed inside. But for her earnest request and pleasing appearance Olivia became curious and allowed Cesario inside.
At once Olivia fell in love with Cesario. It was a great moment, for Olivia. She had given up her seven years’ vow. She expressed her desire to meet Cesario again. She sent a diamond ring for him. At her next visit, she was welcomed with great respect. But the confusion due to her false identity has made the play more pleasing.
2 Who was Olivia? What saddened her? Why did she not allow any visitor? [1 + 1 + 3 = 5]
Ans. Olivia was the beautiful and virtuous daughter of a count. The duke of Illyria, Orsino loved her profoundly. But she kept herself aloof from the sight and company of men.
Olivia’s father had died one year ago. After a few days, her brother also died. She became utterly shocked for her dear brother’s sudden demise.
After her father’s death, she was lelt behind to the protection of her brother. Even when her brother too died she was dejected after being utterly grief-sticken. So, she took a vow that for seven years she would renounce the sight and company of men. Thus she would mourn the death of her brother.
3 .What information given by the Captain consoled Viola? What plan did Viola think of to reach the Duke? How did the Captain help her in this?
[1 + 1 + 3 = 5]
Ans. The captain told Viola that he had seen Sebastian, her twin brother, during the shipwreck. Sebastian had fastened himself with a strong mast and he was seen floating over the waves. This news consoled Viola to some extent.
In the unknown foreign land, Viola thought to put on dresses of the same colour and same fashion like that of her brother. She desired to reach the duke in a man’s camouflage.
The captain was kind enough to extend his helping hands. He gave the detailed description of Illyria and of the duke Orsino, his present condition and courtship. He had bought new dresses for Viola. He helped her to enter into the royal court in the name Cesario. It was due to the captain that Viola could become very favourite to the duke. The duke had made her his most trusted companion.
4. How was the confusion of mistaken identity overcome in ‘Twelfth Night’?
Ans. The comedy, Twelfth Night’ is evolved from the mistaken identity. It is mainly due to the identical twins Viola and Sebastian who look exatly alike. The confusion is enhanced when Viola puts on dresses like his brother. It is overcome towards the end of the play when all the characters meet together house. Captive Antonio met the duke and Cesario and complained the duke of Sebastian’s ingratitude.
Olivia, coming out of her house, found Cesario and addressed her as her husband. The duke too accused Cesario of ingratitude and threatened him with instant death. Viola, though, tried to comfort the duke in vain. When Sebastian came there the confusion was resolved. He declared Olivia to be his wife. Everyone was surprised to see the identical twins together. Viola gave up her disguise. The brother and sister got reunited, Olivia now identified her real husband and the duke and Viola got ready for their marriage. Thus they could overcome the confusion of mistaken identity.
5 Why did Duke Orsino send Viola to Olivia? What was Olivia’s reply?
[2 + 3=5]
Ans. The duke liked Cesario very much. He confided upon her and asked her to plead Olivia for his love. Cesario had already known the secrets of the duke’s heart. So, she could express his love well. Moreover, the duke himself was not allowed in Olivia’s house. So, he sent Viola, alias Cesario.
Seeing Cesario’s earnest appeal Olivia wanted to know if she was a comedian. Shunning a direct reply Cesario talked about Orsino now. Olivia said that she could not respond to the duke’s love though he was a virtuous, noble, fresh and spotless youth. Cesario was invited in this house again but was requested not to convey Orsino’s pleadings.
6 .How did Viola get separated from his brother Sebastian? How was she saved? [3 + 2 = 5]
Ans. One day Viola was on a voyage along with her identical twin brother Sebastian. Unfortunately, their ship was caught by violent storm. It hit on a rock and split. The siblings got separated.
Somehow the captain of the ship and a few sailors managed to get to the land in a small boat. They rescued Viola and brought her to the land of Illyria.
7 . ‘She mourned for the death of her brother.. Why did Viola think her brother died? How was she comforted? [3 + 2 = 5]
Ans. During their voyage, a violent tempest caught the ship. They met a shipwreck. As the ship split, the twin brother and sister got separated. When Viola was saved by the captain and a few sailors she could not find her brother. So, she thought that in this terrible chaotic situation her brother Sebastian had died. She was however soon comforted by the captain who had saved her life. He assured Viola that Sebastian was seen fastening himself to a strong mast during the shipwreck. He was floating above the waves. This news somewhat consoled Viola. It gave her the strength to survive the disaster alone in an unknown country.
8. How did Viola disguise herself? How did Cesario become the duke’s most favourite attendant? [2 + 3 = 5]
Ans. Viola wanted to enter into the duke’s service in a boy’s camouflage. So, she asked the captain, her saviour and friend by giving money, to get some clothes of same colour and same fashion her brother Sebastian used to wear. Viola put on these clothes and took the name Cesario. In new dress, she looked exactly like her brother Sebastian.
Viola got the chance to be presented to the duke under the guise of a young boy, Cesario. She looked handsome. Her graceful appearance immediately attracted the attention of the duke. Besides, her dutiful, sincere and faithful traits of character brought her closer to the duke. Soon she became the duke’s most favourite page upon whom the duke could trust entirely. She was sent to Olivia for the duke’s courtship.
9 . Why was Viola eager to serve the duke?
Ans. After the shipwreck Viola was rescued. She was all alone in this unknown land. Now, she had to survive through some means. From the captain she came to know about the duke Orsino and the beautiful lady Olivia. Finding her own sad lot similar to that of Olivia, Viola wanted to serve the lady. She was also mourning the recent death of her brother.
But unfortunately, she had a vow that she had renounced the sight and company of men for seven years. Now she thought of another plan. As she looked identically alike her brother Sebastian, she planned to dress like him and serve the duke under a male’s camouflage. In this way, she would find a shelter in a foreign land. Now she could look for her lost brother.
10 ‘I am not that which I play.’-Who said this to whom? Why did the speaker say this?[1 + 4 = 5]
Ans. The quoted line was spoken by the disguised Cesario to Olivia in Twelfth Night’.
Duke Orsino had sent Cesario to plead for his love. Seeing Cesario Olivia asked if she was a comedian. Then Cesario repelied that she was actually playing a part. She disguised herself as a young boy, a page to the duke. Viola in this way had given a hint to Olivia’s querry.
11. Why was Viola accused of ingratitude by Antonio?
Ans. While returning from Olivia’s house Viola came across a person who challenged him to fight a duel. Viola being scared thought of confessing about his disguise and real identity. No sooner did she think of this than a stranger appeared. He saved Viola from an impending danger. This stranger was Antonio, the captain who saved Sebastian after the shipwreck and the challenging person was a rejected suitor of Olivia. This stranger, Antonio was arrested by the officers of justice for his past crime.
He then called Viola by the name Sebastian and demanded his purse back. Viola could make out nothing. In fact, Antonio had given his purse to Sebastian for free use when the latter wanted to see the town. Now thinking Viola to be Sebastian for her identical look, Antonio asked her to return his purse. Viola denied to have any such purse. So irate Antonio accused Viola of ingratitude.
12 .How did Olivia get married to Sebastian? What was duke Orsino’s reaction after that? [3 + 2 = 5]
Ans. As soon as Olivia saw Cesario she fell in love with him. Cesario, the boy, was Viola in reality, the lady of Messalina. Viola in disguise looked exactly like her brother Sebastian. One day when Viola, alias Cesario came out of Olivia’s house, a rejected suitor of Olivia challenged her in a duel. She was somehow saved by Antonio. Later when Sebastian came there this rejected suitor attacked him, thinking him to be Cesario. Coming out of her house Oliva found Sebastian and took him inside, thinking him to be her man of heart. Finding him in good humour Olivia proposed to marry I him soon and it was instantly solemnized.
The duke came to know that his page had married to the lady whom he loved endearingly. He became furious and threatened Cesario with instant death. Though Viola protested that she was not married, the duke did not believe it. However, their mistake was cleared when the priest was called in and Sebastian appeared there and declared Olivia as his wife.
13 Sketch the character of Viola.
Ans. Viola, the protagonist, represents two themeslove and disguise or mistaken identity in ‘Twelfth Night.’ She has been shipwrecked and has become sad due to the supposed loss of her brother, Sebastian. To survive safely in foreign land, she disguises herself as a young boy who looks exactly like her brother. She took the name Cesario and engaged herself in duke Orsino’s household. Providing him with good advice, she becomes his confidant. Despite her own feeling of love for the duke she remains loyal to Orsino and expresses his love to Olivia.
She has fellow feeling and she is, indeed, sympathetic. This gorgeous beautiful lady has a pleasing personality. Her words have power to attract others. It is for her that Olivia has come out of her strict vow of seven years confinement. She has intelligence, wit and charm. She has the power to win everyone’s heart including the readers.
14 Sketch the character of Olivia.
Ans. Olivia, a beautiful lady and the daughter of a count, has kept herself aloof from the sight and company of men, due to the recent deaths of her father and brother. She has a vow that she will not meet anyone in seven years. So she has nothing but to lead her life in mourning and in self-confinement. Olivia is very simple and sincere. So she falls in love with a man who is woman in disguise. From being emotional and dramatic this character is transformed into aspiring and pleasing.
Initially, she was a puppet; but this puppet jerks up almost all of a sudden seeing beautiful Cesario. She is now desperate for her love and decides to marry in no time. We all laugh at her when it is revealed that she has actually loved another woman. But we cannot deny her sincerity and devotion. Keeping the flaws aside Olivia plays the part of a very significant character.
15 Make a comparative study of Viola and Olivia.
Ans. Between the characters of Viola and Olivia, the two female protagonists, we find a number of similarities. Of late Olivia had lost her father and brother and planned to mourn the death for seven years by renouncing the sight and company of men. This strange vow, however, shows her emotional weakness. For this, she did not accept the duke’s courtship. Like Olivia, Viola is also in miserable condition as she had lost her brother in a shipwreck and got to an unknown land.
For the sake of survival she puts on disguise. Though they were profoundly sad they had their choice of love and they were serious about that. Both the beautiful ladies achieved what they wished for. But in characterisation Viola is stronger and bold, indeed.
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