Merchant Of Venice Cross Dressing Analysis

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“Within comedy, the character who thinks it is possible to live without assuming a mask is merely too naive to recognise the mask he has already assumed” (Summers, 114). The theme of disguise is one that is bourn out by Shakespeare throughout the course of the play. Although used as an initial source of comedy, under close observation we are able to see the serious concerns embedded in disguise. Unrequited love is a burden that Viola is left to face due to her male exterior. Meanwhile Olivia and her love for Viola is a love that will never be reciprocated, as “Cesario’s” true identity as a woman acts as prevention for any romance between the two, thus highlighting the ambiguous nature of human sexuality and challenging the gender stereotypes that existed during the time in which the play was written. Through…show more content…
However, in his ability to do so, he creates for himself an eternal loneliness. Shakespeare’s use of disguise throughout, masks a multitude of underlying problems, some of which remain unresolved even at the play’s end. Cross dressing was a favoured plot device used by Shakespeare within his comedies, as it successfully creates humour for the audience, due to the confusion and uncertainty the interwoven plots create. It features in The Merchant of Venice( Portia and Jessica) and As You Like It (Rosalind), along with Twelfth Night. However, Shakespeare has explored the true complications of disguise, despite the fact that at its surface it acts as a standard comedic tone. Viola’s disguise as a man is performed with the intention of
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