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Twelfth Night

William Shakespeare

  Act 3 Scene 4

page Act 3 Scene 4 Page 4

Original Text

Modern Text


I’ll come to him.


I’ll go to him.
SERVANT exits.
55Good Maria, let this fellow be looked to. Where’s my cousin Toby? Let some of my people have a special care of him. I would not have him miscarry for the half of my dowry.
Maria, take care of this poor fellow here. Where’s my cousin Toby? Have some of my servants take care of Malvolio. I’d give half my dowry to keep anything bad from happening to him.
OLIVIA and MARIA exit.


Oh, ho! Do you come near me now? No worse man than Sir Toby to look to me. This concurs directly with the letter. She sends him on purpose that I may appear stubborn to him, for she incites me to that in the letter. “Cast thy humble slough,” says she. “Be opposite with a kinsman, surly with servants. Let thy tongue tang with arguments of state. Put thyself into the trick of singularity,” and consequently sets down the manner how: as, a sad face, a reverend carriage, a slow tongue, in the habit of some sir of note, and so forth. I have limed her, but it is Jove’s doing, and Jove make me thankful! And when she went away now, “Let this fellow be looked to.” “Fellow!” Not “Malvolio,” nor after my degree, but “fellow.” Why, everything adheres together, that no dram of a scruple, no scruple of a scruple, no obstacle, no incredulous or unsafe circumstance—what can be said? Nothing that can be can come between me and the full prospect of my hopes. Well, Jove, not I, is the doer of this, and he is to be thanked.


Oh ho! Look at me now! No less a person than Sir Toby, Lady Olivia’s own relative, is going to take care of me. This is just what the letter said. She’s sending him to me on purpose, so I can be rude to him just like she said in the letter. “Get rid of your low-class trapping,” she said. “Argue with a relative of mine like a nobleman, and be rude to servants. Talk about politics and affairs of state, and act free and independent.” And then she explains how to do it: I should have a serious face and dignified demeanor, well-modulated speech, acting like a distinguished gentleman and so on. I’ve got her now, but I’ve got God to thank for it! And when she left just now, she said “Take care of this poor fellow here.” Fellow!” Not “Malvolio,” not anything referring to my low station in life, but “fellow.” Everything’s going perfectly. Not the tiniest ounce, not the littlest insignificant amount of trouble or bad luck could ruin it—what can I say? Nothing can come between me and the fulfillment of all my hopes. Well, God is responsible for that, not me, and he deserves thanks.