Twelfth Night – William Shakespeare
Summary by Scenes
ACT 1 SCENE 1
• The play opens in the Duke's palace.
• As his musicians play, the Duke speaks of love and says if music is the food that sustains love he wants to hear enough to make him sick of it, so he will no longer want to hear any and no longer be in love. (It appears he's not having much luck in the romance area.)
• His servant, Curio, returns from visiting Lady Olivia's house (the Duke's love interest) and informs the Duke that she has sworn off men for the next 7 years in order to devote herself to grieving for her recently deceased brother.
• The Duke, distraught with this information, comments that it is such a waste for her to place all her love on a dead man. But, he adds, if she can love a dead man that much - imagine how much she will love him when he wins her over!
ACT 1 SCENE 2
• Viola has landed after a shipwreck on the seacoast of a country called Illyria.
• Viola is without her brother and believes he is dead.
• Viola mourns over her brother Sebastian's death, but the Captain, who survived with her, tries to offer her some comfort by telling her that the last time he saw Sebastian he was alive and clinging to some driftwood on the angry sea.
• Viola asks who governs the land they are in and the Captain tells her a Duke named Orsino.
• Viola recognizes the Duke's name and mentions that when she heard her father speak of Orsino, long ago, he was a bachelor.
• The captain confirms that Orsino still is, but that it is rumoured he has taken a love interest in Lady Olivia.
• When Viola wants to know who this lady is, the Captain tells her that the lady has suffered much in the last year: She lost her father a year ago and her brother has just recently died.
• Viola immediately feels compassion for Olivia's situation, as they have their suffering in common, and wishes to go work for her.
• The Captain assures Viola that this would be impossible as Olivia has refused all...