Twelfth Night
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Viola

Also known as Cesario

Conceal me what I am

[1.2.53]

Also called

  • Good youth (Orsino, 1.4.15),
  • Fair young man (Maria, 1.5.92),
  • Peevish messenger (Olivia, 1.5.275),
  • A coward, a most devout coward, religious in it. (Sir Andrew, III.4. 278),
  • Dissembling cub (Orsino, 5.1.159),
  • The very devil incardinate (Sir Andrew, 5.1.175)

Relationship Status

Loves Orsino

Character biography

I am so relieved that I managed to survive the shipwreck in the terrible storm that landed me on the shores of this new country. The ship’s captain was an enormous help to me and I feel sure that, without his help, I would not have survived. I am overwhelmed with sadness that my brother Sebastian is no longer with me. We were travelling together, but I haven’t seen him since the terrible moment when the ship was wrecked. The ship’s captain said he saw Sebastian tied to a mast which gives me some hope, but he could be trying to cheer me up. As we are twins I have always felt so very close to Sebastian. My life without him now feels very empty - I hope and pray that he might have been rescued as well. I have decided that the best way for me to survive in Illyria is to disguise myself as a man as I know it can be dangerous for a lone woman who is a stranger in a country like Illyria. I am so grateful to the ship’s captain for helping me with this. I will call myself Cesario – a name that I have always liked. I hope to secure a post working for a respectable family in the city while I continue searching for my brother Sebastian.

Related to…

Sebastian

Dear agony aunt

I’m in love with my master, but things are a bit awkward. You see, he thinks I’m a boy (I’ve had to disguise myself)! I want to tell him the truth, but I’m worried how he’ll react. What should I do?

If you trust your master, then why don't you tell him everything and don't hold back? Just don't let Olivia hear about you and Sebastian!

Monday, February 29, 2016 - 20:19

Wait for the perfect moment, when you think it will not hurt him much, then break it to him.
He may even love you!

Monday, February 29, 2016 - 13:54

Wait for the right moment to tell your master, then tell him that you are a woman. He may even fall in love with the real you!

Thursday, February 25, 2016 - 16:59

Don't tell the truth, because you will have to love Olivia!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016 - 16:49

The truth will set you free! Be honest with him. What's the worst that can happen?

Monday, February 1, 2016 - 13:15

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Locked Content

Illyria Border Agency

Illyria Border Agency Report

Names: Viola and a ship’s captain (name withheld)

Arrival: Shipwrecked on the shores of Illyria

Status: No papers.

Current status: Viola is a recent arrival who was shipwrecked in the recent violent storms that hit the shores of Illyria. She was one of the few passengers from the wrecked ship who was able to make it to safety. The ship’s captain both helped her survive the shipwreck, and to recover here in Illyria. She has a twin brother, travelling with her, but it is thought he died in the wreck. Viola claims that she and her brother come from a family which is very highly respected in their own country. As she does not have any supporting documents she is not in a position to prove this.

Since the sighting reported on the shore following the shipwreck, Viola has disappeared. The Duty Officer thinks the ship’s captain helped her to disguise herself and she may be trying to get to the city with the intention of finding employment, perhaps as a servant to one of our leading citizens. All officers have been supplied with descriptions and asked to look out for her and the captain.

Further updates will be posted if any sightings of Viola can be confirmed.