Twelfth Night | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Twelfth Night | Characters

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Character Description
Viola After losing her brother, Sebastian, in a shipwreck, Viola disguises herself as a boy named Cesario. She finds work as a page with Orsino and falls in love with him. Read More
Orsino Orsino is the Duke of Illyria. He is madly in love with Olivia, whom he barely knows, and he asks Viola (as Cesario) to woo her on his behalf. He develops a great fondness for his new servant, Cesario, but doesn't realize Cesario is a woman. Read More
Olivia Olivia is a beautiful, wealthy countess grieving over her brother's death. She swears she will receive no visitors for seven years, but she quickly gives up on her vow when she falls in love with Orsino's servant, Cesario (really Viola in disguise). Read More
Sebastian Viola's twin brother, Sebastian, is separated from her during the shipwreck and saved by Antonio. Viola does not know he is still alive. When he arrives in Illyria, people mistake him for Cesario, and much confusion ensues. Read More
Sir Andrew Sir Andrew Aguecheek is a foolish knight and a friend of Sir Toby's. Sir Toby wants Sir Andrew to marry Olivia. Sir Andrew is easily led by Sir Toby, Maria, or almost anyone.
Antonio Antonio rescues Sebastian after the shipwreck and helps him find his way in Illyria. He is an old enemy of Orsino's, so he is in danger in Illyria.
Captain The captain commanded the ship on which Viola and Sebastian sailed. He rescues Viola and keeps her secret when she disguises herself as a boy.
Curio Curio is one of Orsino's attendants.
Fabian A servant in Olivia's household, Fabian participates in the trick played on Malvolio.
Feste The Fool, Feste, is Olivia's jester. As is typical in Shakespeare, he is a clown who often seems wiser than the other characters.
Malvolio Malvolio, Olivia's steward, is a grumpy misanthrope or hater of humankind. His bossy demands lead Maria, Sir Toby, and Sir Andrew to play a trick on him.
Maria Maria is Olivia's maid. She has a friendly, somewhat flirtatious relationship with Sir Toby, and she resents Malvolio. She writes the letter used to trick Malvolio.
Priest The priest marries Olivia and Sebastian (who she believes is Cesario). Later, when Viola (as Cesario) denies she is married to Olivia, the priest is called upon to confirm the fact of the marriage.
Sir Toby Sir Toby Belch, Olivia's uncle, is a loud, often drunk man. He is friendly with Sir Andrew, whom he is using because Sir Andrew is rich. Sir Toby resents Malvolio's bossiness and helps organize the trick played on him.
Valentine Valentine is one of Orsino's attendants.
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