The scene opens at the court of the Duke Orsino who is the leader of Illyria. Other lords surround him, and music plays in the background. He talks to a lord named Curio about his passionate love of the countess Olivia. Olivia's brother, whom she was extremely close with, recently died and she was in mourning. The duke's gentleman, Valentine, tells him that the countess is in mourning and will not accept any proposals. Orsino is saddened by this, but will not give up his chase of her.