The Effects that Arise in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night From Viola's Disguising Herself as Cesario

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The Effects that Arise in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night From Viola's Disguising Herself as Cesario A large amount of the plot of Twelfth Night results from Viola's disguise and it has great number of unforeseen consequences. The first and possibly the most crucial of these is Olivia's sudden attraction to Viola when she disguises herself as Cesario. This begins when Olivia sees Viola for the first time. As she comes to declare the Duke's love for Olivia in Act 1 Scene 5. At the start of the scene Viola does not realise that she is speaking to Olivia, instead thinking she is addressing a servant. However, it is because of this that Viola says the first thing that may have attracted Olivia to her. She…show more content…
This mainly due to the fact that the audience is already amused buy Viola's disguise. It also means that what could appear to a be a perfectly normal feelings to Olivia who thinks that Viola is a man take on a whole new meaning on stage. Phrases from Olivia such as, 'Methinks I feel this youth's perfections…to creep in at mine eyes.' Become instantly jokes among the audience even if the lines in themselves are perfectly serious. It is this state of mistaken identity that adds a large amount of the comedy to the play. Yet after a while what feelings love Olivia had for Viola/Cesario turn into lust. This produces an even more comic situation on stage but also creates a feeling of anguish as Olivia throws herself at Viola. The best example of this is in Act 3 Scene 1. Olivia is pleading with Cesario to return her affections. She uses lines such as, 'by maidhood, honour, truth, and everything I love thee so that, maugre all thy pride…' In these lines that appear to about love Shakespeare has added a number of subtle references to the plays plot and morals. The words 'honour' and 'truth' are very out of place, as Viola has done nothing but lie and bend the truth in disguising herself. In addition if Olivia knew that Viola was actually a girl she would feel no pride at all. Finally, Shakespeare may also be questioning Olivia's
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