Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night: Character Traits & Analysis

Instructor: Kaitlin Oglesby
Sir Andrew Aguecheek is a supporting character in William Shakespeare's comedic play, 'Twelfth Night.' While Sir Andrew is primarily a humorous presence, some of his less desirable character traits do emerge and bring him grief. Read the lesson, then test yourself with the quiz!

Poor Little Rich Boy

Did you ever have a friend at school who bragged about their new car, designer clothes, new video games, or the cool places that their parents took them on vacation? Chances are this is the same person that at a young age had their own credit card. Sure, it was fun having them around to pay for things, but at the same time, maybe you felt kind of badly for them for essentially having to buy their friends? Well, this kind of friend isn't a new phenomenon -- Shakespeare was writing about this exact type of person hundreds of years ago. Just look at one of his more pathetic comedic characters, Sir Andrew Aguecheek.

Sir Andrew is a friend of Sir Toby Belch, the uncle of Lady Olivia in Shakespeare's comedic play, Twelfth Night. Sir Andrew is known as a dunce, and he follows Sir Toby around. He is at Lady Olivia's home to court her and doesn't have much success in that regard. Sir Andrew is a comedic character, and he takes part in an elaborate joke on Malvolio, Olivia's steward. However, in the end, Sir Andrew is left alone, without the girl, and missing some of his precious money. I bet this makes you feel even worse about your wealthy friend, but maybe not enough to pay for your own popcorn at the movies.

Character Traits

Sir Andrew arrives at Lady Olivia's house with Sir Toby, ready to court and woo her. This plan immediately runs into a snag, specifically that Olivia does not want to see anyone, as she is in mourning for her father and her brother. Sir Andrew appears from the start to not be the brightest of fellows, and he immediately begins drinking and acting badly with Sir Toby, who appears to be using him at times.

Sir Andrew joins Feste the clown, Maria, and Sir Toby in playing a joke on Malvolio that is a significant subplot in the play. They trick Malvolio into believing that Olivia is leaving him messages of love, causing Malvolio to look foolish in front of Olivia. This does not improve Sir Andrew's chances with Olivia, however. In fact, she has been busy falling in love with Cesario, who is actually Viola in disguise! This infuriates Sir Andrew, who challenges Cesario/Viola to a duel, egged on by Sir Toby. However, Viola finds out that her brother Sebastian is alive, which confuses Sir Andrew. Granted, it appears that most things confuse Sir Andrew.

Sir Andrew challenges Cesario to a duel
Sir Andrew challenges Cesario to a duel

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