Maria (Twelfth Night)

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Maria (second from right) giggling while Malvolio demonstrates his yellow stockings to his lady Olivia. Painting by Johann Heinrich Ramberg.
Creator William Shakespeare
Play Twelfth Night, or What You Will

Maria is a fictional character in the play Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare. She is a servant in Olivia's household.

Connections with other characters[edit]

  • Maria is Olivia's lady and employee
  • Sir Toby Belch is Maria's lover and eventual husband
  • Malvolio is the steward in Olivia's household and therefore Maria's supervisor


  • By my troth, Sir Toby, you must come in earlier a' nights: Your cousin, my lady, takes great exceptions to your ill hours.
    • Maria explaining to Sir Toby that her lady is not fond of her uncle's behaviour (Act 1, Scene 3).
  • Nay, either tell me where thou hast been, or I will not open my lips so wide as a bristle may enter, in way of thy excuse. My lady will hang thee for thy absence.
    • Maria scolding Feste for being absent from the household (Act 1, Scene 5).
  • I can write very like my lady your niece: on a forgotten matter we can hardly make distinction of our hands.
    • Maria conspiring with Sir Toby to write a letter that would fool Malvolio (Act 2, Scene 3).
  • Go shake your ears!
    • Maria insulting Malvolio
  • Get him to say his prayers, good Sir Toby, get him to pray.
    • Maria egging on Sir Toby to annoy Malvolio.


Year Media Performer
1869 Broadway Fannie Davenport
1905 Broadway Zeffie Tilbury
1910 Film Marin Sais
1939 Television Lucille Lisle
1949 Broadway Ruth Enders
1955 Film Anna Lisyanskaya
1957 Television Micheline Luccioni
1963 Off-Broadway Peggy Pope
1969 Off-Broadway Jennifer Darling
1970 Television Raph Wolfs
1972 Television Jet Naessens
1974 Television Anne Stallybrass
1980 Television Annette Crosbie
1987 Film Tracy Harvey
1988 Television Abigail McKern
1996 Film Imelda Staunton
1999 Off-Broadway Dana Slamp
2003 Television Maureen Beattie
2009 Off-Broadway Julie White
2012 Off-Broadway Katie Alto