Deception In Shakespeare Analysis

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In The Prince, Machiavelli dictates the importance for a ruler to have the skill of deception, and in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Viola deceives the people of Illyria through disguising herself as Cesario. For Machiavelli, deception is an important skill rulers should have in order to deceive their subjects about the virtues they hold and their overall ability to rule. Viola deceives people through her disguise as a male, in order to serve Orsino, the duke. Machiavelli and Viola both view deception as a necessity, in order for one to achieve one’s ultimate goals. Instead of living an honest, truthful life, deception allows for one to excel further in the political, social and economic aspects of their life. Machiavelli encourages deception for one to succeed and advance further in one 's political life, whereas Viola improves her social and economic…show more content…
Viola loses her fortune and thinks she loses her brother in the shipwreck and as a result must disguise herself, deceiving those around her so she can have a job, in order to make a living. The deception of her disguise, as a female cross-dressed as a male, creates a sense of comedic, dramatic irony, in the fact that the audience knows Cesario is Viola, but the other characters do not. This deception creates a comedic chaos in the play and is only resolved when the deception itself stops, when Sebastian and Viola meet face to face, and Viola reveals her true self. Sebastian then explains to Olivia what transpired, “So comes it, lady, you have been mistook [...] / Nor are you therein, by my life, and deceived: / You are betrothed both to a maid and man” (5.1.259-264). Orsino, after discovering Cesario is actually Viola, decides to marry her, thus allowing Viola to advance further up the social ladder. Olivia and Orsino are the victims of Viola’s deception, but they were simply incommoded, for in the end Olivia marries Sebastian and Orsino marries
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