Twelfth Night Identity Essay

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A common theme seen throughout many of William Shakespeare’s writing are the apparent lack of and search for identity. Shakespeare has a tendency to thrust an audience in the middle of a character’s search for whom they really are. It is the basis for many of his play’s plots and the source for most of the conflict in each of them. But, in both The Comedy of Errors and Twelfth Night, Shakespeare adds a deeper layer upon the characters’ search for individuality through the use of twins. Characters in both Twelfth Night and The Comedy of Errors have an issue with their appearances that does not allow them to be their true self. Sebastian and Viola/Ceasario, Antipholus of Syracuse and Antipholus of Ephesus, and both Dromios at times, in their respective plays, are all mistaken for a different person, whether on purpose or not. Through the use of twins Shakespeare furthers the importance of identity in both plays. Shakespeare uses these mistaken …show more content…

Shakespeare uses the concept of mistake identities in each of these plays to show that although you make look one way on the outside, it is impossible to hide your true identity from the world. Twelfth Night shows this in Viola dressing up as Ceasario and the eventual confusion it causes when her twin brother comes into the picture. The audience is also gifted to a confusing set of mistaken identities in The Comedy of Errors as each of the Antipholuses and Dromios are mistaken for each other. In both plays the error of mistaking a character for another leads to conflict but in the end in leads to love. Viola ends up with Orsino, Sebastian with Olivia, and Antipholus of Syracuse with Luciana, Adriana’s sister. This love comes out of the fact that these characters, although with a change in appearance, stayed true to their own identity and in doing so ended up with a happy

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