Sunday, July 17, 2011

Twelfth Night

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In Shakespeares Twelfth Night, it is clearly evident that the

fluctuation in attitude to the dual role and situation and tribulations

imposed upon the character of Viola/Cesario ends up in a better

Custom writing service can write essays on Twelfth Night

understanding of both sexes, and thus, allows Viola to have a better

understanding for Orsino. Near the opening of the play, when Viola is

adopting her male identity, she creates another self, like two masks and

may decide to wear one or the other while swinging between the two

identities in emotion and in character. She decides to take on this

identity because she has more freedom in society in her Cesario mask, which

is evident when she is readily accepted by Orsino, whereas, in her female

identity she would not be. Thus, a customary role in society and to the

outlooks of others is portrayed.

Orsino sees Cesario, as a young squire just starting out in the world,

much like himself as a young, spry lad, so he has a tendency to be more

willing to unload onto her with his troubles and sorrows, seeking a

companion with which to share and to teach. Thus, Viola grows in her male

disguise to get a better feeling for his inner self, not the self that he

shows to the public, or would reveal and share with Viola in her true

female self, but rather his secret self, as he believes he shares with a

peer. So, she grows to love him. But, Orsinos motivation is actually not

love for Viola, but rather he seems to be in love with love itself. His

entire world is filled with love but he knows that there might be a turning

point for him, like when he says

If music be the food of love, play on; give me

excess of it, that, surfeiting, the appetite may

sicken, and so die. 1. (I,I,I-III)

This quote shows that he knows that he is so caught up in love, that he

hopes his appetite for love may simmer when he takes more than he can


1. Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night. Longmans Canada Limited, Don

Mills, Ontario, 161. All subsequent quotes are from this edition.

Near the end of the play, when all tricks and treacheries are revealed

and all masks are lifted, Orsino falls in love with Viola. He first

forgives her/him of her/his duty to him, the master; then says that she

shall now be her masters mistress

Your master quits you; and for your service

done him, so much against the mettle of your

sex, so far beneath your soft and tender

breeding, and since you calld me master for

so long, here is my hand. You shall from

this time be your masters mistress. (V,I,-7)

This is sort of a switching love as he thought he was in love with Olivia

in the beginning, but, he readily switches his love to Viola, as he feels

he knows her personality well.

As for Viola, she declares her love for Orsino many times, as if by

saying that she would love him if she were a lady. When Orsino first sends

Cesario to act as a messenger and send Orsinos love to Olivia, Cesario


Ill do my best to woo your lady; [aside]

yet, a barful strife! Whoeer I woo,

myself would be his wife. (I,IV, 40-4)

This shows that Viola knows what a difficult situation that she is in, and

that she might try to woo her out of loving Orsino, so that she might have

him for herself; except there is a slight, unexpected twist of fate...

After Cesario leaves from Olivias, she declares

What is your parentage? Above my fortunes,

yet my state is well; I am a gentleman. Ill

be sworn thou art. Thy tongue, thy face, thy

limbs, and spirit, do give thee five-fold blazon.

Not too fast soft, soft! Unless the master were

the man. How now! Even so quickly may one catch

the plague? Methinks I feel this youths per-

fections with an invisible and subtle stealth to

creep in at mine eyes. Well, let it be. What

ho, Malvolio! (I,V, 8-8)

Olivia, is thinking back to her question to Cesario, and his response to

it. Then she replies to Cesarios response, to herself, thinking about

him. She agrees with his response, then goes over his many delightful

features, and wonders how she so quickly has caught the plague of love for

young Cesario. She decides that it is her feeling towards his youthful

perfections that creep into her heart and to her eyes. Then she agrees

with her decision, and sends for Malvolio, in hope that he may recall

Cesario, so that she may talk with him again. Olivia feels a strong

passionate love for Cesario, even though it was love at first sight for

her. Cesario presented (himself) very magnificently and left a lasting

impression in Olivias mind.

The next time that Cesario came by, Olivia declared

Cesario, by the roses of the spring, by maid-

hood, honour, truth and everything, I love

thee so, that, maugre all thy pride, nor wit

nor reason can my passion hide. (III,I,145-148)

This verifies that Olivia is profoundly in love with Cesario, despite all

his pride. But, Cesario does not possess the same sentiments for Olivia as

he says

By innocence I swear, and by my youth, I have

one heart, one bosom and one truth, And that

no woman has; nor never none shall mistress

be of it, save I alone. And so adieu, good

madam. (III,I,15-157)

Here, Viola tells Olivia that she could never love her, nor any other woman

because she only has one love (to Orsino) and is loyal. But, Olivia is

still in love, and requests that Cesario return.

Overall, Viola learns that in the role of Cesario she had to be quick

on her feet, and defend the probing questions and statements as to her love

and others love for her. As well she acquired the skill to bide her time,

until the time was right, lest she reveal her true self or intentions.

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