The Function of Disguise in Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare Essay

The Function of Disguise in Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare Essay

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The Function of Disguise in Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare's play, Twelfth Night is based around disguise and
deception, both mental and physical. The deception leads to a lot of
misunderstanding and subsequently, a lot of humour.

The tale begins in Illyria with the Duke Orsino, who is suffering due
to his unrequited love for the Lady Olivia. The Lady is also suffering
from the recent loss of her brother and father, and currently wants
nothing to do with the equally mournful Duke.

A disguise is used for safety when a young character named Viola
becomes shipwrecked in Illyria. She has been warned of the dangers of
being alone in Illyria and so disguises herself as Cesario, a male
eunuch and goes to work for the Duke Orsino, whom she has heard well
off.

The Duke accepts her service, under the impression that she is a he,
and wishes Cesario to attempt to woo the Lady Olivia, thinking she
will be taken in by his youthful looks. However, Viola has fallen in
love with the Duke Orsino,

'I'll do my best To woo your lady (Aside) Yet, a barful strife!
Whoe'er I woo, myself would be his wife'.

Unfortunately for Viola, the Lady Olivia is not interested in The
Duke,

'Your lord does know my mind, I cannot love him'

and even worse for Viola, the Lady Olivia has taken a liking to her!

'I cannot love him; let him send no more - Unless perchance you come
to me again to tell me how he takes it'.

Viola now sees her disguise as something negative. She is in love with
the Duke but cannot tell him so outright but is reduced to dropping
hints, and she must now face the affections of another woman on
...


... middle of paper ...


...o be clever, in order to say things that would amuse
their hosts

FESTE:Good madonna, why mourn'st thou?

OLIVIA:Good Fool, for my brother's death.

FESTE:I think his soul is in hell, madonna.

OLIVIA:I know his soul is in heaven, fool.

FESTE: The more fool, madonna, to mourn for your brother's soul, being
in heaven. Take away the fool, gentlemen.

The irony of the situation is that Feste, as you can see from this
verse, is quite an intellect; in fools clothes, while Marvolio is a
fool in the clothes of an intellect. This shows that clothes do not
always show what type of person you are.

The main plot in Twelfth Night is disguise. It was used to create the
love triangle between Viola, Orsino and Olivia. The play uses disguise
and deception to great comic effect, making it a truly exceptional
piece.

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