The Function Of Disguise In Twelfth Night By William Shakespeare

1433 words - 6 pages

The Function of Disguise in Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare's play, Twelfth Night is based around disguise and
deception, both mental and physical. The deception leads to a lot of
misunderstanding and subsequently, a lot of humour.

The tale begins in Illyria with the Duke Orsino, who is suffering due
to his unrequited love for the Lady Olivia. The Lady is also suffering
from the recent loss of her brother and father, and currently wants
nothing to do with the equally mournful Duke.

A disguise is used for safety when a young character named Viola
becomes shipwrecked in Illyria. She has been warned of the dangers of
being alone in Illyria and so disguises herself as Cesario, a male
eunuch and goes to work for the Duke Orsino, whom she has heard well
off.

The Duke accepts her service, under the impression that she is a he,
and wishes Cesario to attempt to woo the Lady Olivia, thinking she
will be taken in by his youthful looks. However, Viola has fallen in
love with the Duke Orsino,

'I'll do my best To woo your lady (Aside) Yet, a barful strife!
Whoe'er I woo, myself would be his wife'.

Unfortunately for Viola, the Lady Olivia is not interested in The
Duke,

'Your lord does know my mind, I cannot love him'

and even worse for Viola, the Lady Olivia has taken a liking to her!

'I cannot love him; let him send no more - Unless perchance you come
to me again to tell me how he takes it'.

Viola now sees her disguise as something negative. She is in love with
the Duke but cannot tell him so outright but is reduced to dropping
hints, and she must now face the affections of another woman on
herself,

'Poor lady, she were better love a dream,

Disguise I see thou art a wickedness'

A disguise has caused Viola much trouble so far, although there is
great comic effect in watching Viola attempting to be something she's
not.

Another factor that would have had great comical effect if the play
were being acted on stage, would be the fact that the actor playing
Viola would have been a man. In Shakespeare time women were not
allowed to act on stage and so a man, or more probably a teenager
who's voice had not yet broken, would be pretending to be a women, who
was pretending to be a man. This would have cause great hilarity among
the audience.

[IMAGE]

I believe that Shakespeare was aware of the comic effect this would
cause and used it to its full advantage. If you were to see a
production of Twelfth Night at a theatre, you will see that they have
retained this use of all-male actors, which adds a whole new dimension
to the play.

Let us now look at another character, Marvolio, who puts on a mental
disguise to become someone he's not. He then goes on to wear a
physical one that gets him into trouble because of an illusion...

Find Another Essay On The Function of Disguise in Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

Cruelty in Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

4189 words - 17 pages Cruelty in Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare "Twelfth Night" is also subtitled as "What you Will" which shows that this should be a happy, festive comedy, its title is from the twelve-day cycle of celebration enjoyed by medieval revellers each December. As this is a comedy it means that there are multiple marriages in the final scene and happy endings for most, except maybe one person who is seen as a fool throughout

Characters of Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

3103 words - 12 pages Characters of Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare The title "What you Will" is a perfect summary of the whole play. This story is about deception in character, being something you are not; whether it being disguising gender, true feelings or beliefs. We never no the real to why Viola chose to disguise her gender. We must assume that she wants to conceal her identity until she has gathered enough information about

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare: The Jocular Struggle in Life

2262 words - 9 pages work at Orsino's palace. These disguises that trick Orsino and Viola’s eyes are what initiate Viola’s journey to find love and self-morality. In Viola’s case “the eyes" are "the windows to the soul”(Shakespeare), as she says “I love More than I love these eyes, more than my life, More, by all mores, than e'er I shall love wife. If I do feign, you witnesses above punish my life for tainting of my love!”(Twelfth Night V.I 60.). The eyes patently

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

590 words - 2 pages Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare The complex plot - full of mistaken identities, misdirected passions, high comedy, low tricks, and unexpected poignancy - begins as a ship, carrying the identical twins Viola and Sebastian is wrecked off the coast of a fictional country, Illyria. Viola is washed ashore on this alien coast and becomes convinced that her beloved brother is dead. She learns that

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

1246 words - 5 pages , which brought a tinge bit of sadness to the Elizabethans. William Shakespeare employs the dramatic conventions of mistaken identity and disguise to establish humour in an example of Act 2 Scene 2 of Twelfth Night. Viola realises Olivia is in love with her “Fortune forbid my outside have not charmed her! she made good view of me, indeed so much that, me thought, her eyes had lost her tongue”. Dramatic irony is expressed in this speech. Then

Twelfth Night, by William Shakespeare

1337 words - 5 pages In Twelfth Night, Shakespeare portrays several characters in a controversial way. Some witty characters are portrayed as foolish, and some foolish characters are portrayed as witty. In the beginning of the play, Sir Andrew and Malvolio are presented as smart people; however, as the play progresses, the audience is exposed to their foolish sides. On the other hand, Sir Toby and Feste are portrayed as fools, but as the plot develops the audience

The Pain and Suffering of "Twelfth Night" by William Shakespeare

1660 words - 7 pages Disposition on the Sea of Love." The Sewanee Review 83.2 (1975): 267-283. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 11 Jan. 2011. Web. 19 Feb. 2014. Salingar, L. G. "The Design of Twelfth Night." JSTOR, 1958. Web. 19 Feb. 2014. Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night, Or, What You Will. Ed. Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine. New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2009. Print.

Twelfth Night, by William Shakespeare

1051 words - 4 pages Examining Viola's Character in Twelfth Night "I may not be a lion, but I am a lion's cub, and I have a lion's heart" . These words are said by one of the most celebrated and authoritative women in the 16th century Elizabeth I. Even though the authority was at woman's hands at that time, a dominant woman was unnatural in the society itself. The presence of such a powerful female figure creates an interesting situation for dramatists and

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

3190 words - 13 pages Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare Twelfth night is a comedy play written by William Shakespeare. The entire play revolves around love and ideas of love. The very first line of the play tells us that love will be the main feature: ‘If music be the food of love, play on’. Shakespeare delves deeply into the different facets of love, and explores how each facet is totally different from each other although they all

The Pain and Suffering of "Twelfth Night" by William Shakespeare

1506 words - 6 pages dark note where someone did not find love. All the characters must suffer through this disease and all of the pain that the ‘plague ‘ of love bring with it, so they can find the happy ending at the end of the rainbow at the conclusion of the play. Shakespeare’s play “Twelfth Night” presents a world of painful love and love causing a person to suffer severely. Shakespeare makes his comedy “consists in the triumph of natural love over affectation

The Outcome of Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

4206 words - 17 pages The Outcome of Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare The ‘Twelfth Night’ written by William Shakespeare in the Elizabethan era, is a dramatic comedy enriched with a great deal of hurt to accompany scandalous behaviour and shocking deceptions. The comical elements of this play are those which contribute to Elizabethan humour. The principal characters are of a high social status, making any disruption to their life

Similar Essays

Function Of Disguise In Twelfth Night By William Shakespeare

1569 words - 6 pages Function of Disguise in Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night is a play based around disguise in the form of deception and becoming someone different. In Twelfth Night, disguise takes many different shapes from physical disguise to mental disguise. Disguise is one of the main topics of the play and helps to create the plot. It brings in confusion and comedy as well as the darker and

Sir Toby Belch's Function In Twelfth Night By William Shakespeare

552 words - 2 pages Analysis of Sir Toby in Twelfth Night In Shakespeare's comedy Twelfth Night an emphasis is put on the importance of not taking oneself too seriously. This feeling of folly triumphing over gravity is proven by the success of the happier, less serious characters throughout the story. The embodiment of folly in Twelfth Night is Sir Toby Belch, the drunken uncle of Olivia. He serves many functions in the play, showing the narrator the importance of

The Purpose Of Disguise In Twelfth Night

1149 words - 5 pages : Bloom, Harold, ed. William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987. Grief, Karen. "Plays and Playing in Twelfth Night". Bloom (47-60). Nevo, Ruth. Comic Transformations in Shakespeare. London: Methuen & Co., 1980. 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

Sexuality In Twelfth Night By William Shakespeare

1522 words - 6 pages In Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, the young Viola, having once lost her brother in a shipwreck, realizes that dressing up as a boy herself is the best way to continue living and thriving and looking for him. This play shows how much respect Shakespeare had for women more than ever, as Viola can do anything that a man can do. In addition to that, the serving-woman Maria proves herself perfectly capable of tricking Malvolio, enough so to make