Do you ever stop and think about Sebastian?


In Twelfth Night, of course. I am not talking about the singing crab.

Just, when I think about that scene in Friends where Ross absolutely disintegrates at the idea that Rachel is not his sexual layaway, I also think about Sebastian.

Because look at your man. Now look at Sebastian. Your man can’t even.

Sebastian wanders into a story that’s halfway done and just accepts things as they happen. You have to assume this is partially due to having Ultimate Plotmaker Viola as a sister for his whole life. (I invite you all to contemplate babies Viola and Sebastian being called to account by their father for yet another mishap and Sebastian happily takes half the blame, would be offended at the idea that Viola deserves all the blame, when it was all Viola’s cunning plan. When the plans work, of course, he happily cedes her all the credit. Imagine teenaged Viola and Sebastian planning cunning plans about their neighbors and Sebastian ruining them by forgetting the plan and just going with the flow and how did you end up three towns away in a blacksmith’s forge and he just shrugs and is like he seemed nice!)

ANYWAY. Sebastian wanders into a plot halfway done and just sort of accepts everything. There is never a moment when he questions anyone on the class-appropriateness of their behavior. He apologizes for beating up Ultimate Bully Belch but points out that Ultimate Bully Belch is the absolute worst and thus clearly deserved it. Everyone agrees because Belch is the worst and he deserved much, much worse at that point.

He does have that moment when he thinks think-y thoughts for a hot minute after Olivia has had her wild way with him and his logic basically goes: “is she mad? no. am I mad? maybe. OK, let’s go with it. She should probably be the boss of me.”

AND THEN. THE PIECE DE RESISTANCE ON THE CAKE OF HOT DAMN SON. When it turns out the lady he has happily subbed his merry way into marrying was actually in love with his sister the whole time, what is his reaction? He says, “Fair enough. I should clearly be more like my sister all the time, I agree.”


I now invite you to imagine the crossdressing afternoon teas between the houses. Because Sebastian is not a complicated guy so when he says, “you have married a maid and a man” I assume he meant that he would be happy to blend gender boundaries because haven’t he and Viola been doing that all along? They’re identical fucking twins there is no way they haven’t been fooling people with dressing as each other since they could dress themselves. And Sebastian’s role is an archetypal female role, a passive role in the play. If Viola was a little quick to think up the “WAIT I HAVE A BRILLIANT IDEA I’LL BE A BOY” plan, Sebastian has absolutely no reason to suggest the reverse in the last scene.*

(*yes, I know it can be interpreted as a virginity/chastity claim in a Renaissance context but as language has decided to make a dumbass decision in this case, I elect to ignore it. Fury said so.)

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