Act 1

Scene 1

In his own palace, Duke Orsino is giving a philosophy of love. He says that if music is the food of love then play on. He expresses his love at first sight for Olivia.

Valentine brings the news that Olivia won’t entertain herself for the next seven years because she is mourning her brother’s death and will keep mourning it. Orsino expresses his surprise that how can she give up all this for only her brother.

Scene 2

On the seacoast, Viola is with a caption and sailors. Viola believes that her brother is dead after the shipwreck but the captain consoles her that he saw him as far as he could sticking to a mast floating upon the sea.

The captain tells her about this new place Illyria and its Duke Orsino who is in love with Olivia. Olivia lost her father and later on her only brother so she is still in mourning. Viola decides to disguise herself and serve the Duke.

Scene 3

Sir Toby Belch is talking to Maria who is a servant in Olivia’s house. Maria tells him about Sir Andrew who is trying to court Olivia too. In a comic manner, Sir Toby and Sir Andrew start countering each other. They start having fun around and Sir Toby says that they are born under Taurus so they are like this.

Scene 4

In Duke Orsino’s palace, Valentine and Viola are in the disguise of man’s attire. Viola dressed as Cesario has come closer to the Duke. The Duke asks her to communicate his passion for Olivia and Viola agrees while thinking of it as a hard task.

Scene 5

In Olivia’s house, Maria is talking to Feste a clown. Olivia enters with Malvolio her steward. Olivia accuses Feste of dishonesty. Feste in his humor talks without restraint.

Feste says that it is foolish of Olivia to mourn for her brother’s death if she is so sure that his soul is in heaven. Malvolio expresses his surprise that how can Olivia delights in such a rascal.

Olivia says that Feste is a licensed clown whose only job is to scold. Someone comes to meet Olivia and is stopped at the door by Sir Toby. Malvolio reports that the visitor is stubborn enough to meet her.

Olivia asks about him and finally orders to allow him to come in. It is Viola dressed as Cesario. Olivia attends behind a veil. Viola addresses her in a courtly language and asks her to be alone so that the message she has brought will be delivered to her alone.

Viola talks to her about Orsino and his love for her and describes Olivia’s beauty in a poetic manner. Olivia sends Malvolio to carry the ring left behind by Viola (as Cesario) because she is not up for him.