Disguised characters in plays

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William Shakespeare often used disguised characters in his plays to enrich the plot; women characters often disguised themselves as men in Shakespeare’s plays. Shakespeare used these disguises to his advantage, especially the woman characters. What other purposes did Shakespeare have for writing disguised characters into his plays? More times than not, these disguises led to trouble, confusion, and misplaced affection. Shakespeare’s use of disguises taught not only the characters in involved but the audience that appearances can be deceiving and that everything is not as it seems. Shakespeare’s best-disguised characters are the ones that do not require a change clothing and name. For example, in Measure for Measure a character named Angelo is disguised as a moral and virtuous man but is soon revealed to be nothing more than a liar and hypocrite. Normally when Shakespeare wrote for his characters to be disguised it was for the purpose of safety. However, as the plays progress we see characters using their disguise to overcome social norms, observe behind the scenes, and to teach other major characters about love. In this paper I will compare and contrast As You Like It’s Rosalind and Twelfth Night’s Viola circumstances for disguising themselves as men, how they use their disguise, and the problems that were created in play because of their disguise.
In As You Like It, a comedy written by Shakespeare, Shakespeare has two major characters Rosalind and Celia in disguise for the purpose of safety. Rosalind and Celia have been banished by Celia’s father, Duke Frederick. Rosalind and Celia decide to escape to the Forest of Arden (As You Like It I.iii.107) and that it would be safer to disguise themselves as shepherds rather than to just ...

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...ino that while women are not as passionate as been are about love they more than make up for it in their loyalty and faithfulness, and refers to this in.
“Too well what love women owe may owe men;
In faith, they are as true of hear as we,
My father had a daughter lov’d a man
As it might be perhaps, were I a woman,
I should your lordship.” (Twelfth Night II.iv.105-108)
Viola also teaches Olivia that love is not vanity and materialistic things offered to you, but instead love is about self-sacrifice and that she is to proud (Twelfth Night I.v.250). Viola helps Orsino understand that what women really want is not pretty words and jewels but a man that they can feel safe with and see a future with.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William G. Blakemore Evans , and J.J. M. Tobin. The Riverside Shakespeare. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997. Print.

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