- Viola is the central character in Shakespeare’s play, Twelfth Night. She is washed up on a beach in Illyria after losing her twin brother in a shipwreck. She disguises herself as a boy, gives herself the name Cesario and finds employment with Duke Orsino , the wealthy young ruler of Illyria. Gwyneth Paltrow as Viola in Twelfth Night
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Twelfth Night Characters & Descriptions. Orsino. Orsino, the Duke and Count of Illyria, is a young man deeply and fashionably in love with Olivia. Her rejection of him leaves him in a deep ... Sebastian. Antonio. Sea Captain. Valentine.
- Viola. A young woman of aristocratic birth, and the play’s protagonist. Washed up on the shore of Illyria when her ship is wrecked in a storm, Viola decides to make her own way in the world.
- Orsino. A powerful nobleman in the country of Illyria. Orsino is lovesick for the beautiful Lady Olivia, but becomes more and more fond of his handsome new page boy, Cesario, who is actually a woman—Viola.
- Olivia. A wealthy, beautiful, and noble Illyrian lady, Olivia is courted by Orsino and Sir Andrew Aguecheek, but to each of them she insists that she is in mourning for her brother, who has recently died, and will not marry for seven years.
- Sebastian. Viola’s lost twin brother. When he arrives in Illyria, traveling with Antonio, his close friend and protector, Sebastian discovers that many people think that they know him.
Characters in the Play. Viola, a lady of Messaline shipwrecked on the coast of Illyria. (later disguised as Cesario) Olivia, an Illyrian countess. Maria, her waiting-gentlewoman. Sir Toby Belch, Olivia’s kinsman. Sir Andrew Aguecheek, Sir Toby’s companion. Malvolio, steward in Olivia’s household. Fool, Olivia’s jester, named Feste.
See characters in Shakespeare’s other plays >>. See below for a full list of all the characters in Twelfth Night: ORSINO, Duke of Illyria. OLIVIA, a rich Countess. VIOLA, in love with the Duke. SIR TOBY BELCH, Uncle to Olivia. SIR ANDREW AGUECHEEK. MALVOLIO, Steward to Olivia. MARIA, Olivia’s Woman.
- Viola (Cesario) The protagonist of Twelfth Night. An aristocratic woman, she is tossed up on the coast of Illyria by a shipwreck at the beginning of the play and disguises herself as the pageboy, Cesario… read analysis of Viola (Cesario)
- Orsino. The Duke and ruler of Illyria. At the beginning of the play Orsino is obsessed by his unrequited love for Olivia . However, in the final scene, when Orsino discovers that Cesario is in fact… read analysis of Orsino.
- Olivia. A beautiful noblewoman in Illyria. At the beginning of the play, she has rejected both Orsino and her ridiculous suitor, Sir Andrew Aguecheek. In mourning for her recently deceased brother, she has vowed not… read analysis of Olivia.
- Sebastian. Viola's twin brother, whom she believes is lost at sea, and who likewise thinks she's dead. Sebastian is noble and capable of strong, deeply felt emotion, just like his sister.