Twelfth Night
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Olivia

Fate, show thy force, ourselves we do not owe,/What is decreed, must be. And be this so.

[1.5.284-5]

Also called

  • Fair Olivia (Captain, 1.1.34),
  • A virtuous maid (Captain, 1.1.36),
  • Madonna (Feste, 1.5.37),
  • Fool (Feste, 1.5.51),
  • Mouse of virtue (Feste, 1.5.55-6) ,
  • Marble-breasted tyrant (Orsino, V.1.119)

Relationship Status

Loves Cesario

Character biography

I am so lost in sadness for the memory of my dear departed brother that I’m not even thinking about coming out of mourning in the near future. My trusted steward, Malvolio, keeps my household in good order. This is very important because my uncle, Sir Toby, can bring riot and chaos to any household with his drinking, and I fear he can even draw in my trusted and capable gentlewoman Maria. Sir Toby’s friend, Sir Andrew, seems to me to be providing Sir Toby with even more opportunities for dissolute behaviour. As well as these worries, I am constantly receiving messages of love from Orsino. No matter what I do, I cannot seem to make him realise that his love is of no interest to me. I often turn to my fool, Feste, to lighten my mood when I am particularly low. Feste has been with my family since my father’s time and is a trusted companion though his comments can be rather sharp at times.

Repeatedly rejects…

Orsino

Dear agony aunt

There’s this one guy who is a bit obsessed with me. Actually…now I think about it, there’s two of them! I’ve tried saying no, but they won’t get the message. How do I let them down nicely? Or should I just be blunt?

Be honest. There's too many boys out there, honey. Pick the right one.

Thursday, March 3, 2016 - 21:44

You should have a quiet chat and tell him you don't love him, maybe with some cake and tea.

Monday, February 29, 2016 - 14:02

If there is no other way, then sometimes they will have to get hurt. Tell them how you feel now rather than when the cut goes too deep.

Monday, February 29, 2016 - 13:45

Well, I would let them down lightly, take them to your home and give them some tea and a cake and have a chat with them. Tell them you don't love them but you can still be friends, you may make a valuable ally!

Thursday, February 25, 2016 - 17:03

Sometimes it's best to be honest. If you've got so many guys who like you, someone's going to end up getting hurt. It's best to tell them how you feel now than have them think they have a chance.

Monday, February 1, 2016 - 13:14

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Who's Who in Illyria

A report from our special correspondent:

Olivia in mourning:

Illyrian Lives – the magazine celebrating all those of note

Readers will know that the well-regarded lady, the Countess Olivia, has been in mourning following the sad loss of her brother. It is said that she is only wears deep mourning clothes and her sad appearance will be sure to win the utmost sympathy from every right-thinking person in Illyria. My sources inside Olivia’s mansion tell me that she frequently gets messages of love from a suitor who may be another high-ranking and well-regarded member of Illyrian society. It is thought that Olivia rejects these offers of love. Perhaps she feels that it is too soon since her brother’s death for her to think of moving to a new stage in her life.

My sources also tell me that Olivia’s relative, Sir Toby Belch, has a friend, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, staying as his guest at the mansion. It is thought this new Knight in town may himself have amorous feelings for Olivia. Given Sir Toby’s reputation for drinking and having a good time (as many hosts of our local taverns can confirm) it is perhaps fortunate for Olivia that she has her stern steward Malvolio to keep things in order. I am sure all our readers will join me in wishing happiness to our gracious Countess Olivia.