Twelfth Night
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Maria

Sport royal, I warrant you. I know my physic will work with him.

[2.3.157-8]

Also called

  • Fair shrew (Sir Andrew, 1.3.43),
  • Little villain (Sir Toby, 2.5.11),
  • Excellent wench (Sir Toby, 2.5.101),
  • Noble gull-catcher (Feste, 2.5.171),
  • Most excellent devil of wit (Sir Toby, 2.5.189),
  • Minx (Malvolio, 3.4.115)

Relationship Status

In a relationship with Sir Toby

Character biography

I simply love my role as gentlewoman to my lady, the Countess Olivia. I fell very privileged to share her most private thoughts and I feel I help her to cope with the pressure of her position. For instance, she can share with me the frustration she feels about the constant stream of love letters sent to her by Count Orsino. I know she isn’t interested in him, but he seems to be incapable of understanding this. One thing that really helps my work go with a swing is having that rascal Sir Toby and his friend Sir Andrew about the place. I do like Sir Toby as he is always up for fun and I love to join in when my mistress doesn’t need me. It is even better if we can annoy Malvolio who is such a self-important kill-joy and seems to think he is in charge of the house and not my mistress. That Sir Andrew though, what a case! He thinks he’s in with a chance with my lady. What a laugh! Seriously, I do wonder if Sir Toby might be the one for me, though first it would be better if he didn’t drink so much – and there’s not much chance of that!

Enlists Sir Topas, aka…

Feste

Dear agony aunt

My boyfriend is a bit of an idiot: he stays up all night, drinks and his friends seem to be bad influences. Last night, he got me in trouble with my boss! Should I tell him how I feel or just dump him?

Maria just dump him!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 - 18:01

Maria, all you need to do is tell him how you feel. If he really loves you then he will try to fix his drinking problem to impress you and keep you.

Thursday, February 25, 2016 - 17:21

Dump him!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016 - 10:34

Dear Maria, Definitely tell him how you feel first, see if he's willing to change and then go from there. And if he's getting you in trouble at work, try to separate yourself from him there.

Monday, February 1, 2016 - 13:17

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The lady-in-waiting

The Good Servant Guide – everything you need to know about finding the right staff

A gentlewoman is a sensitive and highly personal appointment for any mistress of a grand house to make. She will be her lady’s private confidant and must be absolutely trustworthy. She will come from a good family.

We met with Maria the gentlewoman to the esteemed Countess Olivia and asked her to tell us some of the important aspects of the role.

Good Servant Guide- Maria, tell us how you see the role of gentlewoman.

Maria- Well, you know, it is a very intimate position to hold. You dress your lady, help choose her clothes and share the most private parts of her life.

GSG- If a grand lady is looking for a new gentlewoman, what sort of person should she look for?

Maria- A lady would need to find someone who is very trustworthy and discreet. She requires someone she can share her most private thoughts and secrets with. You also share her sad moments like the bereavement my lady has suffered, but I also think a gentlewoman should also have a good sense of humour.

GSG- Sense of humour? Why is that important?

Maria- Well, being a grand lady can be very serious and she will sometimes need to be able to laugh. Her gentlewoman can laugh with her and take away some of the pressures. It is really important if some of her other staff are stuffy and self-important.

GSG- Can you give our readers an example?

Maria- Oh yes! In our house there is a steward who is very serious and seems to think he is in charge and not my lady. It helps my lady that we can laugh about him behind his back at times. It brings a lighter atmosphere making a change from his seriousness

GSG- Thank you Maria for giving us a glimpse into the life of a gentlewoman. Our readers now know what kind of person they need to look out for.