Twelfth Night Essay: Appearance Vs. Reality

1099 words - 4 pages

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 love with Ceasario, in reality, when Viola loves Orsino secretly. “Cesario, by the roses of the spring/ By maidhood, honour, truth, and everything/ I love thee so that, maugre all thy pride/ Nor wit nor reason can my passion hide/ Do not extort thy reasons from this clause/ For that I woo, thou therefore hast no cause/ But rather reason thus with reason fetter/ Love sought is good, but given unsought is better." (3.2.145-152). Viola loving Orsino, but on the other hand Olivia is explaining Ceasario her love for.

Malvolio, on the other hand, thinks he is better than everyone else which generally makes him a character that is not likeable. The reality of Malvolio is that he is Olivia’s servant and won’t be able to get a higher class. His appearance, different from his reality, will make him change from the strict manner to a crazy and cheery Malvolio. He is trying to impress Olivia, with the appearance given in the fake letter. His reality, a servant of Olivia gives him the lowest standard in the society of Illyria. His appearance is very-well opposite of his reality, and with his new appearance he is trying to be the love of Olivia, which can get him a higher standard than being a servant. “Malvolio, the servant...

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