Essay about Deception in William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night

775 Words4 Pages
Deception in William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night In William Shakespeare's comedic play, Twelfth Night, a recurring theme is deception. The characters in the play used deception for a variety of purposes. Viola's use of deception involves her disguising herself as a man in order to obtain a job with the Duke of Illyria, Orsino. On the other hand, Maria, Olivia's servant, writes a letter to Malvolio in Olivia's handwriting to make Malvolio act foolishly because of his love for Olivia. While some use deception as a means of survival, others use deception to trick others and make them act foolishly. The first example of deception in this play was when Viola decides to disguise herself as a man. Viola barely escapes a shipwreck…show more content…
She feels pity for Olivia and herself with the statement "Poor lady, she were better love a dream" (2.2. 25)! Viola's use of deception causes a cross gender love triangle with which she can not deal. Another example of deception is when Maria, Olivia's servant writes a letter to Malvolio, Olivia's head servant and Maria's coworker. Maria deceives Malvolio by writing in Olivia's handwriting. In the letter she says that Olivia loves men in yellow stockings. "Remember who commended thy yellow stockings, and wished to see thee ever cross-gartered" (2.5. 143-145). Maria knows that Malvolio will follow this ridiculous deed because of this love for his lady Olivia. Sir Toby Belch says, "He shall think by the letters that thou wilt drop that they come from my niece, and that she's in love with him" (2.3. 154-156). Maria places the letter in her garden where Malvolio will definitely find it. Thinking Olivia will fall in love with him because of his clothing, Malvolio dress up in yellow stockings and goes to see Olivia. When Olivia sees Malvolio and the way he is acting, she isolates him for fear that he is insane. Shakespeare's use of cross dressing and deceitfulness extends beyond the actual writings in the plays and goes onto the stage. Women were not allowed to perform on stage in Shakespeare's time. ."..all the great women's roles in Elizabethan and Jacobean plays, from Juliet and Lady Macbeth to the duchess of Malfi, were written to be
Open Document