Twelfth Night's Reflection Upon Women Essay

Twelfth Night's Reflection Upon Women Essay

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Twelfth Night's Reflection Upon Women

When Shakespeare wrote the play Twelfth Night in about 1602, women
were generally thought of inferior to men meaning they were lower
class. Shakespeare does no accept this idea. He shows this when he was
asked by Queen Elizabeth 1 to write a play with love and comedy, the
two main characters are very strong women and the male characters are
very weak.

Olivia is rich, noble and very emotional and very strong in character.
In act 1 scene 2 we learn that Olivia’s brother and father have
recently passed away, Olivia has a very strong love for her brother
because of this she made some extreme vows: she will not show her face
at ample view, “but like a cloistress she will veiled walk”. She will
cry in her room everyday, she loved her brother so much that she was
willing to keep his memory alive by mourning for seven years, this
shows the very strong character she held, as this was an almost
impossible task.

Women were thought of as inferior at the time the play was written.
Women were ruled by the men of the household, but because Olivia’s
father and brother have died she has no-one to rule her life, this
shows her strength as she has taken advantage of this, by ruling her
own household and servants by herself. Olivia is confident enough to
seek what she wants gracefully for example in act 1 scene 5 Olivia
wants Cesario/Viola to come back again, in order to get Cesario/Viola
to come back Olivia removes her ring and forces Marvolio, (her head
servant) to take it to Cesario “Run after that same peevish messenger”
“He left this ring behind him” she did this so that Cesario would come
back again...


... middle of paper ...


... than do it for himself. The play also tells us that
Orsino only thinks about how he loves Olivia he doesn’t even think
about whether Olivia loves him he just expects her to love him.

Sebastian, Viola’s brother is also a very weak male character, when he
marries Olivia he lets her take control of him he does what she tells
him to do which shows how weak he is because he doesn’t control her or
his own life.

Overall Viola is the stronger woman as when Olivia’s brother dies
Olivia makes extreme vows where as when Viola thinks her brother is
dead she does not make extreme vows or mourn, she gets on with her
life, which shows that she is the stronger woman.

The fact that Duke Orsino and Sebastian are such a weak male
characters, they make the women look as though they are even stronger
than they already are.



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