William Shakespeare 's Twelfth Night Essay

William Shakespeare 's Twelfth Night Essay

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On the surface, Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night may seem like to the run of the mill Shakespearean comedy. It has loads of the ingredients you would typically see in a Shakespeare play; love being the be all end all, revenge, and yes, cross-dressing. Aside from dramatics, this comedy embodies the fundaments of the battle of the sexes; the age-old conflict is reminiscent to how gender roles are to this day. Man vs. Woman, or the main ingredient as it is, sets the ball rolling for the tone and the social construct of the comedy. Viola, disguised as Cesario, says, “Disguise, I see thou art a wickedness wherein the pregnant enemy does much. How easy it is for the proper-false in women 's waxen hearts to set their forms!” (Twelfth Night, II.ii 27-30.) This quote alone expresses not only the ambiguity of gender through identity, but also the way men portray female’s inferiority and deceitfulness. Despite the male protagonists ' view on women 's incapability to love, Viola 's quote shown through the actions and oppositions that transpired throughout Twelfth Night. As a result of Viola 's identity and deception, she is stuck between two genders, two relationships, and multiple messengers; ultimately showcasing vulnerability, identity, and femininity. Moreover, begging the question, how true is love if you can only fall in love with a disguise?
“A tale of two star-crossed lovers,” this is not the quote to describe this play. Nonetheless, vulnerability is a factor of many relationships; including Romeo and Juliet’s, for it is a vulnerability that is ultimately a lover’s downfall or strength. In the case of the complicated love triangle between Viola [Cesario,] Orsino, and Olivia, each individual is vulnerable or fights their vulnerability...


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...l character. They see a man and assume his strength, rather than his character. This says exemplifies the fact that people perceive personality traits based on gender. Orsino says earlier that women lack retention for love, however he respects Cesario [Viola] enough to send him to woo Olivia for him.
In conclusion, the characters’ own individual weaknesses show that they are all vulnerable when it comes to love and lust. Whether they are female or male, they are all deluded by love. How is it possible for a woman’s heart too be easily molded when Orsino falls in love at first sight? Violas journey through her disguise as Cesario depicts the real difference between genders. It is not their capability to love, rather their appearance and biological make up. Twelfth night exemplifies femininity through the confusion and the inability to identify gender through a mask.

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