What You Will:
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Our story begins with our protagonist Viola shipwrecked in a terrible storm in a country named Illyria. In the shipwreck, Viola becomes separated from her twin brother, Sebastian. Sebastian is rescued by a pirate named Antonio.
As it is very hard in Illyria to get a job as a woman (boo), Viola disguises herself as a man named Cesario. Viola gets a job in Duke Orsino’s court. Duke Orsino is a heartsick lord, in love with a Lady named Olivia. Olivia does not love him back. Viola, however, has very much fallen in love with Duke Orsino.
Olivia has plenty going on without having to worry about Orsino. Olivia lives with her Uncle, Sir Toby; her chambermaid, Maria; and her very uptight servant, Malvolio. Toby is always having parties. He invites his best friend Sir Andrew to try and marry his niece, Olivia. Malvolio is constantly frustrated with their shenanigans.
Orsino comes up with a plan to have Viola (who is still disguised as Cesario) woo Olivia for him. This plan quickly backfires, as Olivia falls in love with Viola. Olivia comes up with the excuse of a “dropped ring” in order to make Viola come back to her. Viola receives the ring and realizes Olivia has fallen in love with her alter ego of Cesario.
Viola’s twin Sebastian also finds himself in Illyria in the company of the wanted pirate Antonio. Sebastian is eager to get to know this new unknown place. Antonio, fearing he will be caught, is not so eager. Antonio gives Sebastian his purse and tells him to meet him later in the day. They part ways, and Sebastian sets out to explore Illyria.
Toby is having another party with Maria and Andrew. It is interrupted by Mavolio, who threatens to tell Olivia. Maria, who has had enough of Malvolio’s uptight ways, comes up with the idea to play a trick on him. With some help, Maria crafts a letter to make Malvolio believe Olivia is in love with him. Malvolio finds the letter and is overjoyed with the news. He rushes away to perform the tasks asked of him in the letter. This includes wearing silly yellow stockings, which in reality is something Olivia hates! Toby, Maria, and Andrew are very pleased with themselves.
Orsino and Viola (still disguised as Cesario) debate as to whether women can love as much as men. Viola stands up for women and convinces Orsino to rethink his stance. Unfortunately, he still hasn’t given up on Olivia and sends Viola to try to woo Olivia again.
At Olivia’s, Olivia confesses her love to Viola. Viola rejects Olivia and returns to Orsino.
Malvolio, decked out in yellow stockings and acting all sorts of silly, tries to confess his love to Olivia. Olivia, unaware of the trick being played on Malvolio, thinks he is unwell. She sends for Toby and Maria to care for him. Instead of caring for him, they isolate him away from everyone else in Illyria. Malvolio is confused, sad, and heartbroken.
Toby and Andrew try to start a fight with Viola. Antonio, who is out looking for Sebastian, mistakes Viola for Sebastian. Antonio leaps to Viola’s defense. Antonio is recognized and arrested. When he asks Viola for his purse back, Viola is confused and offers him half of her money. Antonio is shocked and hurt by what he thinks is Sebastian’s betrayal of him. Antonio says Sebastian’s name, which is overheard by Viola. Viola begins to have hope that her brother is still alive.
Malvolio remains sad and confused by everyone’s treatment of him.
Andrew and Toby meet Sebastian on the street and mistake him for Viola. They start a fight with Sebastian. Sebastian fights back. Before things can get really bad, Olivia intervenes, thinking that Andrew and Toby are trying to fight Cesario. Sebastian is love struck and agrees to marry Olivia. They have a quick wedding.
A little while later, Orsino and Viola are walking in the town square, and they see Antonio. Antonio, still thinking Viola is Sebastian, tells Orsino the whole story of saving Sebastian. Olivia enters and sees Viola, calling her “husband.” Orsino is shocked and angry at Viola for betraying him. Viola denies marrying Olivia. Sebastian enters and is reunited with Viola. Viola reveals her true identity and confesses her love for Orsino, who returns her love.
Malvolio returns, and Olivia figures out that it must have been Maria, Toby, and Andrew who played the trick on him. The story ends with everyone seeking forgiveness and trying to make Malvolio feel better.