Twelfth Night Essay: Appearance vs. Reality

Twelfth Night Essay: Appearance vs. Reality

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William Shakespeare's, Twelfth Night has many themes, but appearance vs. reality is the theme that illustrates a different picture from two perspectives, there are many characters behind their masks and disguises. Some are hiding love behind these disguises and some are trying to show their love through a different disguise. They both still being servants are using disguise differently. Malvolio, servant of Olivia, falls in love with the trap (the letter) thinking his lady likes him, and to show his love he uses a different appearance to express it. Viola, servant of Orsino, falls in love with him, but secretly, not wanting to express her love for him, because of her disguise as her barrier for that case. Viola/Ceasario is wearing a disguise and secretly loves Orsino. Malvolio, on the other hand, is also a servant but still changes his appearance to express love for the great lady Olivia. This essay will prove that disguises and appearances are symbolic of the characters named Viola and Malvolio and are differently used for both.

Viola/Ceasario's disguise hides most of her past: the shipwreck, her lost brother, and the fact that she is a woman. Her identity now as a man, is to move on in life and get a job. Her love for Orsino is hidden with her original identity, as though she works for him as his servant. She is a very strong character in the play. "I prithee (and I’ll pay thee bounteously)/ 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." (1.2.52-55). After the shipwreck and the loss of her brother, Viola decides to move on using a disguise as her shield. Viola’s secret love for Orsino is different than the way Olivia loves Ceasario. Olivia is in lo...

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...oth perspectives. They both still being servants are using disguise differently. Malvolio, servant of Olivia and Viola, servant of Orsino, they both have felt love for their masters/boss. They both express it differently, Malvolio loving Olivia uses cheery appearance and Viola loving Orsino hides her love secretly in her disguise. This essay was to prove that disguises and appearance is a symbolic feature for Viola and Malvolio's characters. According to given facts and examples, it was very clear that Viola and Malvolio use disguises as their shield, but they each use it differently.

Works Cited


Books- Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

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