Twelfth Night Act 1 Scene 3: Summary & Analysis

Instructor: Katherine Garner

Katie teaches middle school English/Language Arts and has a master's degree in Secondary English Education

This lesson provides a summary and analysis of Act 1 Scene 3 of Shakespeare's comedy ''Twelfth Night'', as well as a short quiz to test your comprehension.

Maria Scolds Toby

Act 1 Scene 3 of Twelfth Night is set at Olivia's home and we meet several new characters. Olivia's uncle, Sir Toby Belch, and her servant, Maria, enter. Toby asks Maria why Olivia is behaving so strangely about her brother, saying I'm sure care's an enemy to life, meaning that so much grief and worry will get in the way of her living life and could be bad for her health.

Maria scolds Toby for coming home so late; evidently he is in the habit of staying out late and drinking, which Olivia disapproves of. He disregards this, saying that he will do what he wants and Olivia and Maria need to get used to it.

Maria mentions that Olivia is worried that his drinking could kill him and also that she was upset about a knight that Toby brought to the house as a potential husband.

Sir Toby remembers that he brought a friend, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, to the house to meet Olivia. Sir Toby says that he is brave and has a lot of money. Maria says all of that doesn't matter because he is a foolish prodigal, or someone who wastes his money.

Toby defends Andrew but Maria accuses them of drinking together every night and acting like fools.

Introduction of Sir Andrew Aguecheek

At that moment, Sir Andrew Aguecheek himself enters. Toby introduces him to Maria and encourages him to flirt with her, which she is annoyed by and responds with sarcastic comments of her own. She leaves and the men start to drink together. Andrew tells Toby that he plans to return home soon as he thinks he has no chance with Olivia.

Toby convinces him that Olivia is not interested in courting anyone, especially the duke, because she doesn't want to be with anyone of higher class than herself. Andrew says that maybe he will stay for a little while longer and keep trying.

Andrew mentions that he loves to go to plays and to dance and Toby asks him if he is a good dancer. Andrew confirms that he can cut a caper, which means he can dance pretty well, and the two dance around the room drunkenly.

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