A girl in a shipwreck, Viola is rescued by the captain. She has a twin
brother who she loves very much who she thinks died in the shipwreck. Forced to
dress like a boy in order to get a position in a royal household, Viola takes on
the name Cesario. Count Orsino, whom she works for, takes to her
immediately and promotes her. While in the service of Orsino, Viola is a
dedicated messenger pleading for his cause, although she is in love with him.
Confused by the situation in which she was put, Viola does not know how to
untangle the knots that arose because of her cross-dressing. She is as
honest as possible in her situation, and avoids conflict.
the countess of Illyria, devastated by the deaths of her relatives, refuses to
marry or receive men. She believes that the Count Orsino is too above her
in age and station for marriage. She is intrigued by Orsino’s messenger
and ends up falling in love with him. In her home, she has to deal with drunken
relatives, stupid suitors, and a haughty Steward. She is persistent in
denying the Count, and once she makes her decision to marry Cesario, she does
not give in.
the faithful servant of Lady Olivia, Maria is responsible for the prank played
on Malvolio. She wants to teach him a lesson because of his uppity
Toby Belch: Olivia’s drunken
kinsman, Sir Toby refuses to give up his lush lifestyle. He participates
in the prank with Malvolio, and instigates the fight between Cesario and Sir
Andrew. He does not believe that Lady Olivia should stay single, and tries
to get her to marry his friend, Sir Andrew.
Andrew Aguecheek: a destitute knight
trying to replenish his fortune by marrying Lady Olivia, Sir Andrew is a
cowardly fool. He spends his time with Sir Toby drinking, and at times,
wooing Maria. He tries to give up his suit on Olivia, but Sir Toby advises
him against it.
the Fool: a jester in both Olivia’s
and Orsino’s household, the Fool plays many roles. He is witty, a
trickster, a devoted messenger, and a singer. He helps play the prank on
Malvolio by acting like the preacher.
another gentleman in Olivia’s household, Fabian takes part in the fight with
Sebastian, and the prank on Malvolio.
the leader of Illyria, the Count is madly in love with the Lady Olivia. He
is confused however, because he also falls for Cesario, though he does not
realize it until he finds out Cesario is actually Viola.
and Curio: two
gentleman in Orsino’s house who deliver the news about Lady Olivia’s initial
rejections to him.
Viola’s twin brother who travels to Illyria, beats up Sir Toby and Sir Andrew,
and who falls in love with Lady Olivia. He agrees to marry her, and solves
the tangled situation in which his sister’s hidden identity creates.
a friend of Sebastian’s who saves him in the shipwreck. He risks his safety to
travel with Sebastian to Illyria. Though generous to Sebastian, he is a wanted
man in Illyria and is captured by the Count’s men while saving Viola.
saves Viola in the shipwreck and helps her get her position in Orsino’s
the man who betroths Sebastian and Olivia.
Officers: the men who
capture Antonio and take him to Count Orsino.