Essay on Twelfth Night's Reflection Upon Women

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Twelfth Night's Reflection Upon Women

When Shakespeare wrote the play Twelfth Night in about 1602, women were generally thought of inferior to men meaning they were lower class. Shakespeare does no accept this idea. He shows this when he was asked by Queen Elizabeth 1 to write a play with love and comedy, the two main characters are very strong women and the male characters are very weak.

Olivia is rich, noble and very emotional and very strong in character. In act 1 scene 2 we learn that Olivia’s brother and father have recently passed away, Olivia has a very strong love for her brother because of this she made some extreme vows: she will not show her face at ample view, “but like a
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She has also fallen in love with Cesario/Viola who is a servant, which was not thought of as appropriate for noble women, Olivia did not care what other people thought, again, showing her strength of character.

Olivia refused Duke Orsino’s love, this would have been very hard to do as Orsino is the duke of Illyria, he is the perfect husband as he is noble, of great estate, valiant, gracious, physically good looking, learned and free, he would have been what every women was looking for, but not Olivia, Olivia knows what she wants and is strong enough to find this for herself. Olivia lets her true feelings show, she does not hide them away.

As the vows that Olivia made were very extreme and almost impossible to keep, she decided to break some of them showing her strength and realisation of this impossible task. She had now fallen in love and although she had vowed never to show her face in public, whilst mourning for seven years, love had forced her to change her mind showing her love for Cesario/ Viola was stronger than her love for her brother.

Viola is a very noble, intelligent lady who was very witty and clever in speeches which isn’t what women were normally like showing that Viola is a strong women compared to other women, who has been shipwrecked alone and has lost all of her belongings; this takes a very strong character to be able to cope with this
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