How Shakespeare Explores the Theme of Deception and Self-Deception in Twelfth Night

How Shakespeare Explores the Theme of Deception and Self-Deception in Twelfth Night

Length: 2530 words (7.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

How Shakespeare Explores the Theme of Deception and Self-Deception in Twelfth Night

Deception is the use of deceit that deceives everyone around you
including yourself. It is the fact or state of being deceived. It can
be a ruse or a trick in disguise, which deludes, giving a sense of
indirection. It’s a misleading falsehood. One can deceive by running
away from even their true self either physically or mentally.
Self-deception on the other hand is the act of deluding oneself by
creating illusionary ideas. It is a misconception that is favourable
to the person who holds it. On the whole, self-deception basically is
when a character is lying to his or herself. William Shakespeare shows
us these two different types of deception in Twelfth Night. In the
play not only does deception act as a quality shown in the play. It is
also one of the themes in Twelfth Night that the play revolves around
as Shakespeare makes it out to be by presenting the character of

In Twelfth Night, Shakespeare presents the obvious deception of the
play that is Viola. Viola’s role in the play is purely based on the
ideas of disguise and deception. She initially deceives everyone by
disguising herself as a man, ‘Cesario’, in order to serve Orsino. We
can see this from the quote, “For such disguise as haply shall become:
The form of my intent”. From this quote, we can see that Viola becomes
the form of her intent which is a man, in order to work for Orsino and
in doing so she deceives her ownself. She also deceives everyone else
in the play, with the exception of Feste, and as a result causes
confusion among and between the characters and mayhem in the...

... middle of paper ...

...e play. Instead Feste takes
part of the humor only with revenge on his mind and not to provide
humor, and relies only on quick plays on words to supply humor. This
could be Feste disguising that he is not comfortable with his role in
life as playing the role of the fool. This disguise can be taken as a
self-deception on Feste’s part.

Shakespeare explores the theme of deception and self-deception in
Twelfth Night by creating its characters to use deception in disguise
to create comedy in the play, which is one of the major themes of the
play, Twelfth Night. The characters go to the extremes of deception by
deceiving everyone and even deceiving their own selves just to get
what they want which is the love that they desire. From this we can
even sometimes associate deception with their madness to get what they

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Misperception and Deception in William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night Essay

- Misperception and Deception in Twelfth Night                  Twelfth Night is likely one of Shakespeare’s most entertaining and complete comedy. This romance explores a generous wealth of themes and issues. The most recurrent theme is the relationship between misperception and deception. As a result of their environment and immediate circumstances, men are forced into misperceptions. Paradoxically, they are completely trapped by these illusions. Between the bad fortune they encounter and the bad fortune they themselves generate, they become caught between a rock and a hard place; they are victims of deceit as well as their own folly....   [tags: Twelfth Night William Shakespeare]

Powerful Essays
2156 words (6.2 pages)

Essay William Shakespeare 's Twelfth Night

- Twelfth Night is often portrayed with contrasting themes, however, it is arguable that Shakespeare emphasises concealment and flawed characteristics in many of the characters, as a reoccurring theme. In order to entertainingly explore the potentially controversial, oppressing and uncomfortable ideas, such as sexuality or secrecy, Shakespeare delivers them in a comedic approach or concealed manner. In particular, Shakespeare uses trickery to take countless forms in his plays which is often through the humorous accidental encounters of The Comedy of Errors....   [tags: Twelfth Night, Love, Comedy, The Comedy of Errors]

Powerful Essays
1034 words (3 pages)

The Consequences of Deception Essay examples

- ... When she is stranded in Illyria Viola employs the use of deception in order to become Cesario in order to work for the Duke, Orsino. Conceal me what I am, and be my aid For such disguise as haply shall become The form of my intent. I’ll serve this duke. Thou shalt present me as an eunuch to him. It may be worth thy pains, for I can sing And speak to him in many sorts of music That will allow me very worth his service. 1.2.58 It could be said that the use of disguise by Viola was not done with a malicious intent, however due to her deception the complex romantic plot between Orsino, Olivia and Cesario is constructed....   [tags: Shakespeare's The Twelfth Night]

Powerful Essays
885 words (2.5 pages)

Twelfth Night Essay

- Twelfth Night “Twelfth Night is a comedy of light and shade. Its characters are not unreservedly happy and the events are not unreservedly humorous.” Discuss. As a comedy, Twelfth Night is obviously intending to not only entertain its audience but also point out problems in society. It is imperative to entire merit of the play not to be realistic but to allow for empathy. Therefor to have a comedy of complete lightheartedness there would be no balance and hence no avenue for audience interaction....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
2006 words (5.7 pages)

Essay about Deception in William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night

- Deception in William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night In William Shakespeare's comedic play, Twelfth Night, a recurring theme is deception. The characters in the play used deception for a variety of purposes. Viola's use of deception involves her disguising herself as a man in order to obtain a job with the Duke of Illyria, Orsino. On the other hand, Maria, Olivia's servant, writes a letter to Malvolio in Olivia's handwriting to make Malvolio act foolishly because of his love for Olivia. While some use deception as a means of survival, others use deception to trick others and make them act foolishly....   [tags: William Shakespeare Twelfth Night Essays]

Powerful Essays
770 words (2.2 pages)

William Shakespeare 's Twelfth Night Essay

- Introductory speeches in many Shakespeare plays can be a foreshadowing of what is to come. In William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth night,” we see a tremendous amount of monolog made by many different characters in many different acts. One monolog, in particular, gives the readers a hint or an impression of what goes on in the play itself. In the very first act in the play twelfth night, Duke Orsino’s introductory monolog uses diction, personification, and metaphor to show themes of desire and deception that are explored through the characters and the play in the larger play....   [tags: William Shakespeare, Love, Twelfth Night]

Powerful Essays
1499 words (4.3 pages)

The Use of Deception in William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night Essay

- The Use of Deception in William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night            Deception is a key theme in William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. The characters must use deception to obtain good things, escape bad situations, or to play cruel hilarious ticks on other people. One example of deception is when Viola clothes herself in men's clothing in order to obtain a job under the Duke of Illyria, Orsino. During another scene Sir Andrew, Fabian, Maria, and Sir Toby Belch trick Malvolio into making a fool of himself....   [tags: William Shakespeare Twelfth Night Essays]

Powerful Essays
697 words (2 pages)

The Purpose of Disguise in Twelfth Night Essay

- Theme of Disguise in Twelfth Night The notion of disguise is very important theme within Twelfth Night.  From my point of view I feel that the crux of the play is primarily based on this concept.  Indeed "there's something in it that is deceivable" summarizes this point precisely.  Disguise runs like a thread through the play from start to end and holds it all together just as tightly as thread would fabric.  Yet, paradoxically as the plot progresses there are many problems, deceptions and illusions, which provide a comment on human behavior and creating the needed escape of comedy....   [tags: Twelfth Night essays]

Powerful Essays
1145 words (3.3 pages)

Use of Disguise in Twelfth Night Essay

- Twelfth Night, "there's something in it that is deceivable". Disguise is very important as a theme in the Twelfth Night.  In fact, disguise is a crucial plot to the play.  It is the thread which runs through the play from start to end and holds it all together.  Yet, paradoxically along the way there are many problems, deceptions and illusions, providing a comment on human behavior and creating comedy. Women's parts were played by boy actors in Shakespeare's day, so the audience would have found special sophistication in Viola's part:  a boy dressing up as a woman who, in the play disguises herself as a man....   [tags: Twelfth Night Essays]

Powerful Essays
1063 words (3 pages)

The Foolishness in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night Essay

- The Foolishness in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night      William Shakespeare used a unique device to explain how foolishness is an unavoidable part of everyday life.  He employed many specific examples of foolishness in his comedy titled Twelfth Night.  Each of the characters he created were all foolish in one way or another.  Not only do the characters entertain the audience, but also educate the audience as they portray mankind avoiding obvious truth.        Shakespeare takes a humorous approach to expose the ways we fall prey to pride, vanity and self-deception.  As the story unfolds, the characters discover their faults before they can do any real harm to themselves...   [tags: Twelfth Night essays]

Free Essays
1033 words (3 pages)