Viola And Olivia In William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night

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In Twelfth Night, Viola and Olivia are the central characters to the play’s plot. Each are young women that take approaches to dealing with the people around them, which are mainly men. There is much trickery that goes on in Twelfth Night, but the ending is for the most part happy. Viola marries Orsino and Olivia marries Sebastian, but the events leading up to this are more or less chaotic. Ultimately, I argue that while Olivia uses her higher social status in order to maintain control of herself and others, Viola resorts to trickery in order to bring about her desires. Thus, there are ways that Viola and Olivia both reserve information about themselves while also remaining authentic to an extent.
Aside from mere personality, though, Olivia as well as Viola can be distinguished from other characters in Twelfth Night not just by their genders, but also by their attempts at isolating themselves from society. Olivia, according to Valentine, vows “till seven years’ heat,/ Shall not behold her face at ample view” (1.1.25-26). This is due to her brother’s death. It is even possible that her vow to retreat from society fueled her lack of interest in the duke who pursues her called Orsino. Olivia and Viola both have lost a brother, although Viola fortunately eventually finds her brother. Still, due to the fact both characters believe their brothers to be dead for the majority of the play, their attitudes are affected by this. Olivia in particular attempts to keep a good opinion of
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