Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night


William Shakespeare

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Twelfth Night Characters

Read our modern English translation.

Viola (Cesario)

The protagonist of Twelfth Night. An aristocratic woman, she is tossed up on the coast of Illyria by a shipwreck at the beginning of the play and disguises herself as the pageboy, Cesarioread analysis of Viola (Cesario)


The Duke and ruler of Illyria. At the beginning of the play Orsino is obsessed by his unrequited love for Olivia . However, in the final scene, when Orsino discovers that Cesario is in fact… read analysis of Orsino


A beautiful noblewoman in Illyria. At the beginning of the play, she has rejected both Orsino and her ridiculous suitor, Sir Andrew Aguecheek. In mourning for her recently deceased brother, she has vowed not… read analysis of Olivia


Viola's twin brother, whom she believes is lost at sea, and who likewise thinks she's dead. Sebastian is noble and capable of strong, deeply felt emotion, just like his sister. The constant powerful love he… read analysis of Sebastian


The steward in charge of the servants at Olivia's house. A stuck-up killjoy, Malvolio annoys the other members of the household by constantly condescending to and scolding them. In revenge, Maria, Sir Tobyread analysis of Malvolio
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The Captain of the ship that sank while carrying Viola and Sebastian. He survives along with Viola, and assures Viola that the last he saw of Sebastian that Sebastian was alive. Loyal, helpful, and… read analysis of Captain
Minor Characters
Olivia's clever, feisty lady-in-waiting holds her own in battles of wit with the other servants and devises the prank on Malvolio. Although vicious to Malvolio, she is devoted and attentive to Olivia. Her wit wins the affection of Olivia's uncle, Sir Toby, whom she marries.
Sir Toby
Olivia's vulgar uncle, a drunkard, lives at and leeches off of her house. Sir Toby's crass double entendres and sex jokes offer an earthy contrast to Orsino's flowery love-poetry, and his antics help to overthrow Malvolio's efforts to impose order. Sir Toby eventually marries Olivia's lady-in-waiting, Maria.
Sir Andrew Aguecheek
A friend of Sir Toby, he hopes to marry Olivia, despite the fact that his suit is obviously hopeless. Sir Andrew provides a comic foil for the higher characters, who are much more serious about their wooing.
A clown, Feste is allowed to poke fun at the higher characters. In this role, he turns upside down the conventional social order, just as occurred during the Twelfth Night holiday (see Background Info for more detail on the Twelfth Night holiday).
A local from Illyria who rescues Sebastian from the shipwreck. Antonio's feelings for Sebastian push the boundary line between devoted male friendship and love.
An attendant in Olivia's household.
One of Orsino's attendants.
One of Orsino's attendants.