Realizing that her disguise has produced unexpected results, Viola makes an allusion to the Gordon knot in order to describe the perceived difficulty of extricating herself from the confusion. Viola, in the act of reinterpreting herself as a man for the main purpose of protection, has found herself the body from which other characters can derive their own interpretations.
As I am man,
My state is desperate for my master's love:
As I am woman (now alas the day!)
What thriftless sighs shall poor Olivia breathe?
O time, thou must untangle this, not I,
It is too hard a knot for me t'untie. Viola.
Just as easily as a soft "chev'ril glove" may be turned inside out, especially when it is pulled off to uncover the hand, Viola's position in the play, in relation to the other characters, can be seen as one that leads to a flexible play of ideas that reveal multiple meanings, contradictory or otherwise.
This essay will show how the ironic positions of the main characters, in relation to Viola, in Twelfth Night contribute and then undermine the comic theme of the play, and finally, with certain dramatic license, reinstate it, thus complicating positions of evaluation at certain points in the play.
In Twelfth Night, one finds that the combined romantic and comic aspects of the main plot stem mainly from the theme of mistaken gender identity. In dealing with this theme, it is necessary to note that Viola's disguise as a man is assumed to be opaque by the aud...
... middle of paper ...
Grief, Karen. "Plays and Playing in Twelfth Night". Bloom (47-60).
Kreiger, Elliot. "Malvolio and Class Ideology". Bloom (19-26).
Nevo, Ruth. Comic Transformations in Shakespeare. London: Methuen & Co., 1980.
Osborne, Laurie E. The Trick of Singularity: Twelfth Night and the Performance Editions. Iowa City: U of Iowa P, 1996.
Rosenberg, Marvin. "Subtext in Shakespeare". Thompson, Marvin, and Ruth Thompson, eds. Shakespeare and the Sense of Performance. Newark: U of Delaware P, 1989. (79-90).
Shakespeare, William. The Arden Edition of the Works of William Shakespeare: Twelfth Night. Ed. J. M. Lothian and T.W. Craik. UK: Methuen & Co., 1975.
Thatcher, David. Begging to Differ: Modes of Discrepancy in Shakespeare. New York: Peter Lang, 1999.
Vickers, Brian. Appropriating Shakespeare: Contemporary Critical Quarrels. New Haven: Yale U P, 1993
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Love, quite an indescribable word, has such an impact upon people as to cause deceit and overall confusion in every relationship. In Will Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night or What You Will, Shakespeare attempts to have a great balance of both cruelty and joy while also containing comical qualities to this romantic play. Throughout Twelfth Night or What You Will, Shakespeare uses puns with characters such as Viola to cross-dress and change their identity. "She attires herself in the disguise of a page, as the best protection against uncivil comments, till she can gain some tidings of her brother" (O'Connor) while Viola is disguising herself as a boy, she falls in love with her employer, Duke... [tags: Twelfth Night Essays]
1723 words (4.9 pages)
- 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]
1145 words (3.3 pages)
- The character of Malvolio is treated too cruelly for Twelfth Night to be classed as a comedy. Malvolio is constantly humiliated and has some of the major elements of a tragic character. The revenge served to him is extremist and is not an equal reaction to his behavior. Malvolio's puritan nature and extreme unwillingness to be social with his peers upsets certain characters more than others. Sir Toby and Maria show carelessness for his person as he has a strict adherence to rules, contrasting with their blatant disregard for rules and discipline this is conveyed through the line “Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?” Sir Toby mocks Malvolio's pur... [tags: play, revenge, behavior, irony]
1148 words (3.3 pages)
- 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]
1063 words (3 pages)
- 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]
2156 words (6.2 pages)
- “But mine is all as hungry as the sea and can digest as much. Make no compare between that love a woman can bear me and that I owe Olivia.” (2.4.100-103). Love is like an ocean in the mind of Orsino. His love for Olivia consumes him and everything around him, or so he says. Similarly, it is easy to get lost or even drown in. Orsino creates explains his love as something that cannot be controlled and is not stable. As we see throughout “Twelfth Night” Shakespeare is poking fun at the very idea of love while at the same time respecting its power.... [tags: Love, Twelfth Night, Romance]
1256 words (3.6 pages)
- There’s nothing better than a comedy to lift your spirits up with baskets full of laughter. I like the idea of comedies when there’s a complete misunderstanding, trickery or when things go wrong. For example in one of the episodes of My Wife and Kids when a girl called Claire tells her dad that there will be photograph day in school. So she asks her dad for a massive photograph of her to put on the wall. Her dad said no. On the day of the school photograph when she woke up, her right cheek was swollen-much bigger than the other.... [tags: Twelfth Night, Olivia, Cesario, comedy, The Elizab]
1025 words (2.9 pages)
- Twelfth Night Comedy by Shakespeare and Its Effect on Other Writings While Great Expectations and Gulliver’s Travels were not written as comedy, humor is seen in them. The comedy in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night can be related to the comedy in those writings, although Shakespeare used a variety of comedic techniques, not used in either Great Expectations or Gulliver’s Travels. The comedy in Twelfth Night varies greatly from the comedy in Great Expectations and Gulliver’s Travels at times. Irony is a common comedic element seen in all three works.... [tags: William Shakespeare Twelfth Night Essays]
1983 words (5.7 pages)
- 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]
1033 words (3 pages)
- William Shakespeare wrote a satirical comedy, Twelfth Night in the 16th century. The date is not for certain but it was right around the same time he wrote Hamlet. Twelfth Night is widely famous today for being a Transvestite comedy meaning characters are cross dressing. William Shakespeare’s, Twelfth Night, plunges into a state of widespread misperception and disorderly behavior, the power of love rescues the unruly characters from the chaos and restores order to their lives and to their kingdom.... [tags: 16th century satirical comedies]
635 words (1.8 pages)
- The Character of Iago in Shakespeare's Othello
- Objectification in An Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard
- Essay on Appearance vs Reality in Othello and Twelfth Night
- Twelfth Night Essay: Olivia's Denial
- Viola and Beatrice in Twelfth Night and Much Ado About Nothing
- Use of Disguise in Twelfth Night