Sebastian is Viola’s twin brother, who is feared lost in a shipwreck, prior to the start of the play. He is a free-hearted youth, who undertakes a voyage with Viola, perhaps with no motive apart from seeking adventures. During the shipwreck he proves himself to be a man of courage. Being cast ashore, he laments for his sister with the utmost tenderness; but quickly forgets his sorrows-and chalks out a plan for his immediate future. He is thus as practical as his twin sister, Viola. This quickness of resolve, sharp reflexes of the mind and vigour in action are evident in Sebastian throughout the play.
He is so good natured, and trusts fortune so completely, that he receives a purse from Antonio, when both know that he cannot repay it. He gives a liberal present out of the money he receives in order to be free roma troublesome companion. He gets involved with episodes of the strangest nature completely unexpectedly. He enters these new adventures with deliberate circumspection.
Sebastian is a robust young man, who gives back the blows received with due interest when he is drawn inadvertently into the quarrel of the knights. He establishes in Olivia’s eyes the spirit of manhood that she was looking for. He rouses Orniso from his passive sentimentality, when the Duke realises that he would not be worthy of love if he did not act like a man. He also delivers a clear message to Olivia that he would get her home rid of dissolute guests.
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He has an infinite amount of charm, which is both fresh and charming The sudden acceptance of a marriage proposal from a Countess he sets eyes upon for the first time, may appear as silly to some. But Shakespeare wanted to tell us that Olivia’s womanly feeling of instinct is not merely limited to feminine weakness; men of robust nature are equally prone to indulge in it. This blind impulse is also seen in Antonio, the sea captain, who is attracted towards Sebastian so much that he bestows his treasure upon him, and, for his sake, takes delight in the danger of their circumstance. The courageous. humble and gracious Sebastian is a worthy brother to an equally virtuous and worthy sister. It is apt that Olivia marries Sebastian. The man that she had been seeking in the disguised Viola is in real terms amply present in him.
It becomes a reality only through Sebastian. Shakespeare’s comedies invariably have love culminating in marriage. Since Olivia could not marry Cesario, and could not possibly fall in love with anyone else without diluting the virtue of love, Shakespeare has her marrying Sebastian. There is no jarring of sensibilities when she does so. In fact there is delight as well as relief: delight that Olivia’s love culminates in eternal happiness, and relief that Orsino is freed of his sensibilities, and Viola of his disguise, so that the two can marry each other. Viola loves the Duke throughout the play, and she more than Olivia deserves her love to be rewarded. The arrival of Sebastian paves way for exactly such an eventuality. Viola can remove her disguise, since with her brother by her side she no longer needs the artificial protection. Orsino rouses into activity when he sees Sebastian make love like a man. He requires just a few minutes of Silence to let reality sink into his head and to transfer his artificial and passive love for Olivia to the real and active love for Viola. Sebastian thus is not merely a protector of Viola’s virtue. He also wins for Viola her love. He is a true brother, a courageous man, and would prove a worthwhile husband to Olivia.