Twelfth Night Gender Roles Essay

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British Literature: Romance and where Gender Roles Stand When a person is born they either have a male or female sexual organ, determining whether that person would be a female or male, but somehow this makes a huge difference where that person stands in the world. In the present time couples actual have a chance to decide whether their child would be a girl or a boy with the help medical technology, but in the 16th and 17th century this was not a possibility; the gender of a child was based off of fate and fate alone. Authors, poets, and philosophers have commented about this topic from stories like Viola from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night about her dual identity to John Milton’s Paradise Lost about Eve. Men usually have the leading part in …show more content…

In the Twelfth Night, Viola and Sebastian are shipwrecked and end up ashore on different parts of Illyria. Having assume that her brother might be gone, Viola disguises herself as a male named to Cesario to successfully get into the kingdom. With the help of the captain of the ship that rescued her Viola was to be employed by Duke Orsino as Cesario. As Viola continues working for Duke Orsino she starts to fall for him, but then she is at two ends, deciding whether she should be loyal to the Duke or let her feelings overcome her. This critical point is further intensified by Orsino’s love for Countess Olivia, in which Cesario acts as a messenger between the both of them. Viola’s Cesario disguise is a well-made representation of what kind of expectations are held towards men of that era. While Viola endures problems of trying to be a woman in man’s position she also gains time with Orsino, in the perspective of Cesario, Viola starts to fully understand how men picture romance. “For boy, however we do praise ourselves, / Our fancies are more giddy / More longing, wavering, sooner lost and worn, / Than women’s are.” (Shakespeare Act 2, scene 4) As Viola stayed with Duke Orsino as his servant Cesario, she shows him how to comprehend women and later ends as Viola being Orsino’s

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