Viola in William Shakespeare's The Twelfth Night

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Viola in William Shakespeare's The Twelfth Night

Viola as a main character is the most deceitful; she tricks everybody

into believing she's a man, but as well as being most deceitful she is

also the most honest and sincere. So what are her attractive

qualities? Why does she appeal to us as an audience? In this essay I

will be looking at Viola and her appealing qualities as well as the

way in which I believe she should be acted.

In many ways Viola represents true love, love that is not self-seeking

but self-sacrificing, throughout the play she remains true to Orsino,

trusting him completely "To do you rest, a thousand deaths would die"

she would die for him and willingly. Many people would agree that any

person who could feel like that is stereotypically shallow and petty,

both traits people despise.

She carries out orders unquestioningly to "woo" Olivia, when she

herself knows she is wooing the woman that will be Orsino wife

"who'evr I woo, myself would be his wife" when it is she that wishes

to be in that place. She wants him to be happy and in giving him that

happiness, her happiness she is left alone, is that not


Out of all the characters in the play it is Viola who speaks sincerely

and honestly, showing them what true love is "In faith they are as

true of heart as we" telling Orsino that love a woman can bear towards

him is as much as he can bear a woman. She says to Olivia "write loyal

cantons of contemned love, andsingthemloudevenin thedeadof night"

showing her what real love is and most likely stopped what would have

been a dreadful marriage between Olivia and Orsino, two people so very


... middle of paper ...

...e her to an old lady dithering in the street, sure she knows

what she wants but in reality doesn't.

I think what make Viola an endearing character to play is that she has

a heart; she has feelings that aren't petty and annoying but deep and

thoughtful. I think that character is a hard character to play because

she has many complexities and acting her so she does appear thoughtful

is very hard to achieve.

I think that for example when Malvolio gives Viola the ring and

afterwards does her soliloquies that she should stare thoughtfully

down at the ring occasionally looking into the audience but her

attention always being brought back to the ring as a focal point.

Because this is kind of an important part is also adds a small amount

of drama. Viola is a rewarding character but also a very complex

character to play.
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