Different Forms of Disguise and Deception in Twelfth Night Essay

Different Forms of Disguise and Deception in Twelfth Night Essay

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Different Forms of Disguise and Deception in Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night is said to be Shakespeare's most complete comedy. As in
most comedies, Twelfth Night celebrates different forms of disguise
and deception in order to make the play more entertaining. ”There's
something in it that is deceivable”(ActIV, ScIII), indeed the crux of
the play is based on disguise and deception. The most significant
deception would definitely be Viola’s disguise as Orsino’s page,
Cesario, which makes the story remarkably intriguing. In addition to
Viola’s disguise, the deceptions of some characters further intensify
the amusement of the play. The different forms of disguise and
deception paradoxically throughout the play lead to a lot of
misunderstanding and subsequently, a lot of humour.

Viola’s disguise as Cesario is the origin of much of the deception in
the play. At the very beginning, Viola has been warned of the dangers
of being alone in Illyria, therefore she is determined to go into
disguise, “conceal me what I am” (ActI, ScII). Viola is then disguises
as a male eunuch and works for the Duke Orsino. Under the impression
that Cesario is a boy with youthful looks, the Duke sent Cesario to
woo the Lady Olivia on his behalf. Sarcastically, a love triangle is
formed since not only Viola who has fallen in love with Orsino, Olivia
has fallen in love with Cesario as well. As Cesario is a boy in
Orsino’s eyes, Viola is unable to confess her love for Orsino, “I'll
do my best to woo your lady/ Yet, a barful strife! Whoe'er I woo,
myself would be his wife” (ActI ScIV). The reality is always kindless,
Olivia is not interested in the Duke, “Your lord does k...


... middle of paper ...


...alls in love with Cesario at first sight,
“Methinks I feel this perfections” (ActI ScV) Malvolio deceives
himself as an important person, “See himself as surrounded by idle
things” (ActIII Sc IV) as well as his role of Olivia’s suitor. All
these characters are trapped by their illusions.

Among the many characters in Twelfth Night, some are disguised as
someone else, some are deceving themselves, some are being deceived
and some are deceived about their true natures. The different forms of
disguise and deception has numerous effects, namely to give way to
ironic humour, to further explore characters and relationships, to
develop the connection between the main plot and the sub-plot and so
on. Overall, the play brings up great comic effect by using disguise
and deceptoin, making Twelfth Night a truly exceptional piece.

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