To agree with the statement, disguise and deception is used widely by Shakespeare. Throughout the play we only see Viola in her disguise as ‘Cesario’. From Act 1, Scene 2, we see her planning on using the disguise of a man to serve Orsino. The interactions between her and the other characters show dramatic irony as they do not realise who Cesario actually is, however the audience does. Orsino, at the start of Act 2, scene 4 says “Now good morrow, friends; Now, good Cesario.” Orsino does not know the actual person he is talking to when he praises Cesario, just the same when he says Cesario is “semblative a woman’s part”, saying that Cesario looks like a woman. For Shakespeare’s audience there was a heightened level of irony because at that
In the beginning of the play, Viola gets caught in a storm with her brother. She ends up surviving a shipwreck, which shows a lot of perseverance. The female lead saved herself from a massive shipwreck, and showed determination to get back to land. She then assumes her brother Sebastian has died in the shipwreck, after he was nowhere to be found. Viola tries to survive on the land and be a servant by pretending and dressing up as a guy. Pretending to be man shows that she is bold, and can deal with anything that comes her way. She proceeds to ask Captain, “I prithee-and I pay thee bounteously-conceal me what I am, and be my aid. For such disguise as haply
The main disguise that the play centers around is this disguise of Viola while she serves the Lord Orsino. This deception ends up turning on Viola as the women Orsino sent her to court
Malvolio is deeply in love with Olivia, whom he is a servant to. He has often received negative signals from her, but he does not pay attention to them. Malvolio receives a note that Maria left for him as a trick and Malvolio quickly believes that it is from Olivia to him. Malvolio is so content with the idea of Olivia finally showing her affection for him that he doesn't question why, in the note, she asks him to act so oddly or hear the snickering of the pranksters watching him.
Viola contributes a great deal to the theme of Disguise versus Identity in Twelfth Night. Viola must bundle up her personal emotions which she has for
Much of the first half of the Twelfth Night is about disguised identities and general misconceptions about who is actually who. The play opens on a note of melancholy and death, Orsino grieving because Olivia refuses to love him and Viola and Olivia mourning the deaths of their brothers. It is following a shipwreck that Viola disguises herself as a male, ensuring that confusion will be part of the plot. The idea of masquerading as a member of the opposite sex is a familiar device and the “complications, artificial as they may appear, are an essential part of the play’s complete development.” (Travers 308) It is interesting to note that unlike other comedies such as “The Tempest”, Shakespeare does not create an older generation who prevent the young lovers from being together; instead it is the perplexity about gender and that keeps them apart. Sebastian, Viola’s identical twin, is the solution to all of the problems, though his appearance does add to it for a short while. Viola, dressed as Cesario, is mistaken for Sebastian by Antonio, and is asked for the money that he gave to Sebastian. However, this type of confusion adds to the comic nature of the plot as the audience is aware of the concealed identities. Order eventually comes from the chaos, disguises are shed and identities are revealed. The appearance of Sebastian ensures that the marriage will be possible for the main characters; Viola is free to marry Orsino and Olivia marries Sebastian, although she
For instance, when he finds the love letter that is supposedly written by Olivia, confessing her love for him, and telling him to smile, wear yellow stockings and go cross-gartered, he says, “I will smile, I will do every thing that thou wilt have me.” (2, 5, 165-6). He thinks the letter is from countess Olivia, who he is in love with, and believes that the greatness of being her husband is about to be given to him. Before finding the letter, he wanders around in Olivia’s garden and dreams about himself “To be Count Malvolio!” (2, 5, 32). He imagines how the other characters of the play would serve him, which again shows that Malvolio thinks he stands above everyone. In addition, when Malvolio is hailed by Olivia, he arrives smiling, wearing yellow stockings and cross-gartered, which makes Olivia think he has gone insane: “Why, this is very midsummer madness.” (3, 4, 51). Consequently, in this part of the play Malvolio’s inside does not match his outside. Throughout the play he is a grave character, that detests other persons having fun, so his actions of smiling and wearing strange dress make him look like a madman, which is why he gets locked up in Olivia’s basement. Towards the end, he returns to his initial manner, and declares that he will “be reveng’d on the whole pack of you!”, referring to the characters that tricked him into believing that the letter was
Viola is disconcerted at being confused with Sebastian in Twelfth Night's final acts, but this confusion is not one plotted by men. She and Beatrice remain two of Shakespeare's few undeceived women.
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.
When Antonio is dragged to the Orsino’s court by his guards, he claims that Viola (whom he thinks is Sebastian) is the cause of all his troubles. Antonio tells the duke his entire story about how he met Sebastian and Sebastian's supposed betrayal of Antonio:
Malvolio is a social climber, he feels that if Olivia would love him his status would be higher. But because of
Although Viola faced a lot of confusion and conflicts she was equipped to handle this because she was mostly causing it by cross dressing and lying about who she truly was. But, Maria, Sir Toby and Sir Andres, servants to Olivia, all decided to play practical jokes on Molvolio. By giving Molvolio a note and disguising it to look like Olivia’s hand writing, they caused Molvolio to make a fool of himself. The note left him directions to behave and dress a certain, this caused ignominious Molvolio to become confused. By being deceitful and conspiring, Sir Toby, Maria, and Sir Andrews colors shined through. Not to mention, Molvolio’s true self became evident after misidentifying the letter. Molvolio became arrogant and was filled with self-importance, but when things became clear and Molvolio discovered the note was not written from Olivia he became embarrassed. He could not move forward, forgive and forget, so he left. This is how misidentification can cause conflicts and cause character’s true selves to shine
Also, perhaps Viola is in disguise herself. She can see through other people's disguises or flaws, that not even they are able to spot. Some characters are deceived about their true nature. An example of this is that Orsino sees himself becoming "one self same king" of Olivia's "sweet perfections", fulfilling her sexual desire, thought and feeling "liver, brain and heart". He naively believes that he is in love with Olivia when he has never really conversed with her.
Andy Fickman updated Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night to explore the key idea of hidden identity through his characterisation of Viola from She’s The Man. In She’s The Man, an example of hidden identity in relation to Viola is Viola purporting to be a guy (Sebastian) to play soccer. While Viola is playing soccer as Sebastian she got hit in the crotch and says,“Oh. Right. OWW! OH, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! IT BURNS!”. This quotes has used dramatic irony by letting the audience know that Viola is a female mimicking Sebastian’s appearance. Viola’s has no reaction to getting hit in the crotch but realises she is trying to portray Sebastian so she fakes that she feels the pain. This shows the use of hidden identity through Viola pretending to be Sebastian.
Malvolio’s lack of self-criticism or self-awareness makes him vulnerable to Maria's plan to ridicule him.