And what should I do in Illyria?

My brother, he is in Elysium.
(1.2.2-3)
Viola believes that her brother has drowned during the storm that wrecked the ship. She asks what is to become of her now that her brother is no longer alive to protect her. Elysium, the classical Greek equivalent to heaven represents a place of peace and eternal joy. The similarity in the sounds of the names seems to link Illyria with Elysium, suggesting a place of security and happiness. The inference is that Illyria will eventually provide the healing that Viola needs after the (apparent) loss of her brother. (Go to the quote in the

There is a fair behaviour in thee, captain
And though that nature with a beauteous wall
Doth oft close in pollution, yet of thee
I well believe thou hast a mind that suits
With this thy fair and outward character.
(1.2.43-47)
Viola confides her plans for disguising herself as a boy to the Sea-Captain who has saved her from the storm. She comments that although a fair and kindly exterior can sometimes conceal a corrupt soul, she believes that the Captain’s nature is as true and loyal as his appearance suggests. This being so she intends to trust him with her secret plan of dressing herself as a boy to protect herself whilst she is in Illyria, and will even ask the Captain’s aid in achieving this. (Go to the quote in the text of the play)
Did you never see the picture of ‘we three’?
(2.3.15-16)
This is a topical reference to the caption of contemporary seventeenth-century ‘trick’ pictures of two fools or clowns, in which the viewer of the picture then becomes the third ‘fool’. An anonymous painting of two fools, possibly the well-known jesters Tom Derry and Archie Armstrong, exists by this title ‘WeeThree Logerhds’ and it is possible that Shakespeare has something like this painting in mind when he wrote this line. Other versions are known to have existed as inn signs, in which the two ‘fools’ were depicted as asses, which may explain Sir Toby’s greeting to Feste “Welcome, ass” (2.3. 17). (Go to the quote in the
Why, thou hast put him in such a dream that when the image of it leaves him, he must run mad.
(2.5.186-188)
The image of love wavering closely between dreaming and madness is another of the play’s motifs. Maria is referring to the ‘dream’ that Malvolio is experiencing of Olivia being in love with him through the trick played by Sir Toby, Sir Andrew and Fabian. She suggests that once Malvolio realises it is a trick and that Olivia is not in love with him, the knowledge will drive him mad. Compare these lines with Sebastian’s lines in Act 4, scene 1 and his soliloquy at the beginning of Act 4, scene 3. Olivia has declared that she is in love with him, and he has never seen her before. In 4.1 he initially decides that “this is a dream/…If it be thus to dream, still let me sleep” (4.1.60-62). The dreamlike state continues and in 4.3 he is desperately trying to seek some kind of explanation for the situation he finds himself in. He tries to convince himself that “’tis not madness” (4.3.4), and “this may be some error but no madness” (4.3.10), but is finally forced to conclude “that I am mad,/Or else the lady’s mad” (4.3.15-16). Sebastian’s ‘dream’ is temporary in that the apparent madness is dispelled when the identity of the twins is finally revealed and he can claim Olivia as his wife. However Malvolio’s experience in the dark house turns his ‘dream’ into a living nightmare in which his protestations of sanity are ignored and he is humiliated and humbled. (Go to the quote in the
Come, we’ll have him in a dark room and bound. My niece is already in the belief that he’s mad.
(3.4.130-1)
Sir Toby’s injunction continues the motif of madness, but introduces a darker and more troublesome side to the play. Whilst love can induce a kind of madness that can create the kind of melancholy suffered by Orsino, Sir Toby is refers here to mental insanity. The common cure for insanity during this period was to imprison the patient in a dark room in the belief that the darkness would drive out the evil spirits from the patient’s body. This cruel and often violent practice that continued for many years. Sir Toby’s proposal to subject Malvolio to this ‘cure’ when he knows that the madness is not real indicates a dark side to Sir Toby’s character. (cf: Dr Pinch’s proposed treatment for Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus in The Comedy of Errors: “They must be bound and laid in some dark room” 4.4.95
Nothing that is so, is so.
(4.1.8)
This line, more than any other perhaps, encompasses one of the dominant themes of Twelfth Night, that of deceptive appearances. Within the world of the play almost everything is deceptive: appearances, love, even death. Feste is speaking this line to Sebastian, whom he believes to be Cesario. Yet Cesario is not who he ‘seems’ to be either. The play is dominated by a man who ‘seems’ to be in love with a woman who does not return his love, and this woman herself is in love with a woman who ‘seems’ to be a man. Viola’s brother ‘seems’ to be drowned, and Sebastian believes his sister to have died during the shipwreck.
These images of deceptive reality also capture the mercurial spirit of the world of Illyria. Shakespeare has endowed Illyria with a kind of magical quality that allows these inversions of normal behaviour and situations. It is only in Illyria that the festival of Twelfth Night can be carried on permanently by Sir Toby and his associates; only in Illyria in which girls can masquerade as boys; only in Illyria where dead siblings can be resurrected. Illyria ‘seems’ like a real place with a sea-coast, storms and ruling dukes, but it too is not as it seems to be. It is a make-believe world of illusion and fantasy comparable with Shakespeare’s other ‘created’, ‘magical’ worlds: the forest of Arden in As You Like It, and Ephesus
the fifteenth and sixteenth century, masques, disguisings and the Feast of Fools (an ecclesiastic festival which involved an inversion of social hierarchy as members of the lesser clergy dressed up as their superiors to ridicule and mock the routine practices of the church) were closely associated with Twelfth Night. It is this carnival spirit which presides over Shakespeare’s comedy as gender becomes a masquerade in Viola’s transformation into Cesario, aristocrats fall in love with servants (and vise versa), and stewards entertain absurd delusions of grandeur. The audience is asked to suspend their disbelief in this Discovery Age theme park where fraternal twins appear identical, love at first sight is not an uncommon occurrence, and a narcissistic duke agrees to accept as his “fancy’s queen” a woman who only five minutes before functioned as his male page.3 As Bloom asserts, “Twelfth Night is a highly deliberate outrage.”

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