Deception in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night captivates readers and spectators with a new twist around every corner. There are a vast amount of themes in this play but, deception has the biggest impact on the comedy. Deception alters the characters views and their mindset on important issues in the play. In chronological order, Viola disguising herself as a man, and deceiving everyone she meets. Maria, Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and Fabian trick Malvolio into thinking Lady Olivia has fallen in love with him.
In Act 1, Scene 4, it does not take long to realize that Viola (who is using the name Cesario to conceal her identity) has fallen in love with Duke Orsino in a matter of three days: “Whoe’er I woo, myself would be his wife” (1. 4. 41). She cannot, however disclose her feelings for the Duke because she is in the guise of a man. Interestingly, in the same scene we see that the Duke himself is not completely blind to Cesario/Viola’s attractiveness-- he even comments on it in the lines, “...Diana’s lip/ Is not more smooth and rubious; thy small pipe/ Is as the maiden’s organ…” (30-32).
In my opinion deception in this play creates mixed messages and it is up to the characters as well the audience what to consider of those mixed and sometimes confusing messages. So the purpose of deception will vary between the characters and situations in the two
Narcissism in Twelfth Night A Freudian study of Twelfth Night An essential element of William Shakespeare 's comedy Twelfth Night is the theme of self-love i.e. vanity and narcissism. Shakespeare likely set Twelfth Night 's action to occur January 5 and 6, the Eve of Epiphany and the day of Epiphany. During the course of these two days, all of the most important characters experience epiphanies, revelatory moments in which they recognize truths concerning themselves, their vanities and narcissism. Using Sigmund Freud 's work on narcissism, the true nature if the characters of Twelfth Night could be well explored by analyzing the moments of epiphanies.
The question of why Olivia, after dramatically declaring her affections for Cesario, would so quickly jump to Sebastian after finding Viola’s true identity, is likely answered by the societal norms of the Elizabethan era. Cesario and Viola are two halves of one whole; by loving Cesario, Olivia loves Viola too. Upon meeting “him,” Olivia says “Thy tongue, thy face, thy limbs, actions and spirit/ Do give thee five-fold blazon” (1.5.297-298). She is attracted not just to Cesario’s mannerisms, but to Viola’s beauty, which shines through her male bravado. The “actions and spirit” which Olivia refers to are Viola’s ability to converse with Olivia woman-to-woman, unbeknownst to the countess.
While Sebastian is traversing Illyria, he runs into Olivia who assumes he is the disguised Viola and kisses him and continues to wed him. This play is full of homosexual references and actions that include Viola disguising herself as a boy and falling in love with Orsino while she is still a man. Countess Olivia falls in love with the disguised Viola because of ‘his’ few feminine features, and, it is a girl falling in love with a girl. Viola stated to
In Twelfth Night, the imitation of the opposite gender originates from necessity and fear. Viola dressed as a man named Cesario to protect herself when she arrives upon foreign land. When Sebastian,her twin brother, arrives, Shakespeare utilizes the comical aspect of mistaken identity and confusion to show that it can be destructive. The plot in itself raises questions about gender, identity
Usually, men are described as very loyal to their emotions, but in the play Twelfth Night, their image is reversed and their mind can be changed very easily. As soon as Orsino realizes that Cesario is actually a woman, Viola, he agrees to marry her immediately. Although before then, he was fully in love with another woman. The sudden mind change shows that Orsino maybe is not fond with Olivia at all, he just loves the idea of being in love with Olivia. Before Viola reveals the truth, she tries to show her affection towards Orsino.
She is then sent to woo the Countess Olivia, although she didn’t want to for she already had started to catch feelings for Orsino. Countess Olivia, who has no feelings for, falls immediately in love with the messenger, Cesario who is viola in disguise, thus creating an amusing triangle which produces several complications. Viola started to have idea that her brother maybe alive when Antonia approaches her and she doesn’t know him. Nevertheless when Sir Toby accused her of hitting him. It was all cleared up at the end when Sebastian comes in to the charade and all misconceptions are cleared up.
Lindheim’s Rethinking Sexuality and Class in Twelfth Night, notes that “critics of course usually recognize that marriage is the desired closure for comedy”, (Lindheim, 680). Many characters achieve this “desired closure for comedy”; Olivia marries Sebastian, Viola marries Orsino, and so on, yet Malvolio’s story ends in cruel suffering. It can be argued that his character falls into this tragic situation because of his vices and wickedness, but from this comes the question of who deserves what: Does being a part of a lower class with a pessimistic personality warrant torture? Malvolio may be