Sebastian (Twelfth Night)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Sebastian
A Priest, Olivia, and Sebastian
Creator William Shakespeare
Play The Twelfth Night
Source Twelfth Night
Role Minor character

Sebastian is one of the main characters from William Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night, believed to have been written around 1600 or 1601. It has been played by several famous actors, and even by actress Vivien Leigh in an acclaimed production directed by John Gielgud in 1955.

Background[edit]

Sebastian is the twin brother of Viola. After the beginning of the play, Viola mentions that her brother is drowned in the sea. However, a sea captain tells her that he saw Sebastian hang onto a mast and may be alive.[1]

The next appearance of Sebastian confirms this, as he has been rescued by Antonio, a sea Captain who looks after Sebastian at some risk to himself. Their journey brings them to the country Illyria, ruled by Duke Orsino. Meanwhile, Viola has disguised herself as a male page named Cesario and works for the Duke. A love triangle situation ensues, where the Duke is in love with Countess Olivia, Viola falls in love with the Duke, and Olivia falls in love with Viola, thinking she is a man.

Because they look so much alike, when Olivia sees Sebastian later, after he has not backed down from a challenge by Sir Andrew Aguecheek, she thinks he is "Cesario". She asks him to marry her, to which Sebastian agrees.[2] When Viola appears with the duke, the siblings are reunited and the Duke resolves to marry Viola.

Character interpretation[edit]

Sebastian's character is necessary to allow Viola to unravel the roles she has accumulated in the play, and to allow her to return to being a woman, and allowing her to marry Orsino.[3]

Sources[edit]

References[edit]