In act 1 scene 5 we first learn about Viola’s behaviour from Sir.Toby. He enters the room “half drunk” after delaying Viola. He then proceeds to tell Olivia that he thinks Viola is a lecher, “I defy lechery. There’s one at the gate”. Viola doesn’t pay much attention to this description as she thinks that her cousin is too drunk to know what he saying.
Malvolio enters the room next after Olivia had sent him to the gate to try and get rid of Viola. He returns saying that Viola will “stand at your door likes a sheriff’s post… but he’ll speak with you . Malvolio gives a damning report saying that viola is “as a squash ’tis before a peascod, or a codling when ’tis almost an apple… One would think his mother’s milk were scarce out of him.” When Olivia decides to meet Viola Malvolio doesn’t question her decision although he disagrees with it.
When Viola first speaks to Olivia she asks “The honurable lady of the house, which is she?”. Olivia seems to be insulted by this as she then refuses to confirm that she is the lady. She then complains about him “being saucy at my gate.” Olivia refuses to listen to the praise which Viola starts to recite from her speech. She says “Come to what is important in’t. I forgive you the praise.”. This shows that Olivia is not intrested with what Viola has to say as she wishes to hurry her up.
Once Maria and the attendants leave the room Olivia starts to warm to Viola. Viola asks “Good madam, let me see your face.” Olivia does this even though this goes against her grieving for her brother. From this point on she starts to respond to his flattery, “O, sir, I will not be so hard-hearted. I will give out divers schedules of my beauty.” When she starts to do this Viola has to start creating her own things to say to Olivia rather than just remembering the speech she had learnt from Count Orsino. Olivia regretfully says that she cannot love Orsino but Viola can’t understand why. Olivia asks her “why,what would you do?” in a very impersonal manner. Viola says that she would camp on Olivia’s doorstep until she accepted. This also was not written into her prepared speech so it shows that Viola is poetic. Viola turns down the money that Olivia trys to give her as she feels that “my master, not myself, lacks recompense.”
When Viola leaves Olivia declares that she had found Viola attractive, “Methinks I feel the youths perfections.” Acting on this, and going against her seven years of not seeing another man, she sends for Malvolio and gets him to take a ring to Viola so that she returns with it the next day.
From this meeting we find out that Violais a good poet. Using this skill she can persuade people to do what she wants e.g. managing to make Olivia reveal her face. She also is very moral as when she was offered money she turned it down as she didn’t deserve it. She also delivered the message to Olivia from Orsino even though she is attracted to Orsino herself.