Twelfth Night Gender Analysis

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Janelle Owusu Dr. Wood LMC 3228 30 November 2017 Shakespeare Term Essay Gender is one of the most prevalent themes in William Shakespeare’s comedy, Twelfth Night. In Twelfth Night, the play is based on Viola, a twin who gets separated away from her brother in a shipwreck. To find work, Viola undertakes the disguise of Cesario, a young male who wants to work in the household of Duke Orsino. Orsino has been personally dealing with the love he feels for Lady Olivia, who refuses to entertain any man since she is dealing with the loss of her brother and father. In Orsino’s efforts to have Cesario facilitate love between himself and Olivia, Olivia ends up falling in love with Cesario. Viola has also found herself falling in love with Orsino, thus creating a love triangle between these three. In this love triangle, Shakespeare exhibits a challenge and a reinforcement of the gender roles that were present in the setting he personally wrote the play from. Through Olivia’s attraction to Cesario, he challenges these gender roles and through Orsino’s attraction to Cesario, he reinforces these gender roles. 1 Twelfth Night is reported to have been written in 1601/1602 to be a festival amusement for the end of the holiday season which would have been during Shakespeare’s successful career in London as a writer and an actor [shakespeare theatre peter thomson]. In early, Seventeenth century England, both gender hierarchy, and a husband's patriarchal role as the premier of his household,
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