In discussion, Feste and Fabian enter. Fabian wants to see the letter Feste has, but Feste refuses. Orsino enters with Cesario and his attendants. Orsino is looking for Olivia. Feste jokes with him about preferring his enemies, who are cruel but truthful, to his friends, who flatter but lie; Orsino gives him money. He asks Feste to go and get Olivia, which he does. Then Antonio enters, led by officers. Cesario points him out as the man who defended him; whereas Orsino, as the pirate who stole his ships' wealth. The officer confirms this, and Orsino denounces Antonio as a thief. In response, Antonio admits his crimes, though argues he is no thief. His reason for coming to Illyria, he explains, was only to protect the man who is now with Orsino, whom he saved from a shipwreck, though now the man ignores him. Neither Orsino nor Cesario can understand quite what's happening; Antonio claims that this man arrived today, but Orsino is sure that Cesario has been serving him for three months.
Olivia and her attendants then enter. Orsino praises her, and asks that Antonio be taken away. Olivia wants to speak to Cesario, but duty requires that "he" let "his" master speak; Olivia, however, has no interest in hearing Orsino. Orsino says he knows who has won her heart - and he will sacrifice that man, even though "he" is his dearest servant and friend. He calls Cesario away. Asked by Olivia why "he" stays with Orsino, Cesario responds that "he" loves Orsino more than "he" could ever love a woman. Olivia cries out, and asks if "he" has forgotten (she, of course, thinks it was Cesario she married when she married Sebastian). She sends an attendant to get the priest. Orsino calls Cesario away, but Olivia commands her "husband" to stay with her. Orsino, shocked, asks if this is true; Cesario denies it. Olivia condemns "him" for being so fearful, and the priest enters. Asked by Olivia what happened between her and Cesario, the priest relates how he secretly married the two of them only two hours ago. Orsino grants Cesario to Olivia but demands that "he" leave him forever. Cesario tries to protest, but Olivia cuts him off.
Sir Andrew enters, crying for a doctor to come and help Sir Toby. A man, Cesario (actually Sebastian) has attacked both of them. Orsino points out that Cesario is right here - shocked, Sir Andrew tells "him" that the fight was Sir Toby's fault. Cesario denies that "he" ever struck either of them. Sir Toby enters with Feste. He asks for the doctor, but Feste reports that's he's drunk - Sir Toby answers that he hates drunks. Sir Andrew offers to help him - Sir Toby responds that Sir Andrew is a weak and stupid fool. Olivia sends Sirs Toby and Andrew, and Feste, away, telling Sir Toby to go to bed and get treatment for his injury.
Sebastian then enters. He apologizes to Olivia for hurting her kinsman; his crime was excusable, but he's sorry he fought so soon after their wedding vows. Olivia is shocked: she sees the same face, voice, and dress, on two different people. Sebastian sees Antonio, and rejoices over seeing him again. Antonio, too, is amazed: he now sees two Sebastians. Finally, Sebastian sees Viola, asking, "Do I stand there?" He had a sister, he says, who drowned but no brother, and he asks where she's from, and who the "man's" parents are. Cesario answers: "he's" from Messaline, and "his" father was called Sebastian, as was "his" brother, who died. Cesario imagines Sebastian is a ghost; Sebastian insists that, if Cesario were a woman, he would call "him" Viola. "His" father, Cesario says, had a mole on his brow, and died when Viola was thirteen; so too, said Sebastian, did his. Cesario admits it: "he" is actually Viola, and has lived disguised as Cesario to serve Orsino. Sebastian turns to Olivia, and tells her how she has been mistaken, and is now married to a woman and to a man. Orsino says to Olivia that, if this is true, he too will be a beneficiary - Orsino asks Viola to give him her hand, and to dress as a woman again. The captain that brought her ashore, Viola says, has her woman's clothing but has been imprisoned by Malvolio. Olivia wants to send for Malvolio, but then remembers that he's gone mad.
Feste and Fabian enter, Feste carrying a letter. The letter is from Malvolio, to Olivia. Olivia asks for it to be read. Feste delays, and Olivia asks Feste to read it. The letter tells how wronged Malvolio has been by her, and that he still keeps her letter, which instructed him to act like this. Olivia sends Fabian to bring Malvolio. Olivia tells Orsino that she'll be happy to be his sister-in-law; Orsino agrees: he praises Viola for her service, and asks her to be his wife. Viola is also, Olivia says, her sister.
Malvolio enters with Fabian. Malvolio claims Olivia has done him wrong, and shows her the letter. She cannot deny, he says, that she wrote this letter, and that she made promises of love to him, only to break them and treat him like a madman. Olivia responds: it's not her writing, but Maria's imitation of her writing, and it was Maria who first argued that he had gone mad. Malvolio has been wronged, but not by her, and he will be the judge of how to treat the persons who have wronged him. Fabian asks to speak: he and Sir Toby were behind the prank, and Maria helped out at their request. It was only, he claims, a joke. Moreover, he mentions in passing, Maria and Sir Toby have, in the aftermath, gotten married. Olivia says that Malvolio has, indeed, been fooled. Feste jokes about how he pretended to be "Sir Topaz." Malvolio, furious, leaves, vowing revenge. Orsino asks Fabian to go and calm him down - he still needs to tell them where the captain is. Once they know that, he explains, Viola will have her women's clothes again, and they can be married. In the meantime, Orsino asks Cesario to come with him - and that's what he'll call Viola until she's dressed as a woman again.
Everyone but Feste exits, and Feste sings a final song, a ballad that follows the singer's life from being a child to a man to a husband, with the refrain: "For the rain it raineth every day." This play's over, he sings, but the actors will try, every day, to entertain.
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Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Scenes 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3
Scenes 1.4 and 1.5
Scenes 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3
Scenes 2.4 and 2.5
Scenes 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3
Scenes 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3