Shakespeare/Twelfth Night term paper 12657

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In Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night", it is clearly evident that the

fluctuation in attitude to the dual role and situation and tribulations imposed

upon the character of Viola/Cesario ends up in a better understanding of both

sexes, and thus, allows Viola to have a better understanding for Orsino. Near

the opening of the play, when Viola is adopting her male identity, she creates

another self, like two masks and may decide to wear one or the other while

swinging between the two dentities in emotion and in character. She decides to

take on this identity because she has more freedom in society in her Cesario

mask, which is evident when she is readily accepted by Orsino, whereas, in her

female identity she would not be. Thus, a customary role in society and to the

outlooks of others is portrayed. Orsino sees Cesario, as a young squire just

starting out in the world, much like himself as a young, spry lad, so he has a

tendency to be more willing to unload onto her with his troubles and sorrows,

seeking a companion with which to share and to teach. Thus, Viola grows in her

male disguise to get a better feeling for his inner self, not the self that

heshows to the public, or would reveal and share with Viola in her true female

self, but rather his secret self, as he believes he shares with a peer. So, she

grows to love him. But, Orsino's motivation is actually not love for Viola, but

rather he seems to be in love with love itself. His entire world is filled with

love but he knows that there might be a turning point for him, like when he

says: If music be the food of love, play on; give me excess of it, that,

surfeiting, the appetite may sicken, and so die. (206) This quote shows that he

knows that he is so caught up in "love", that he hopes his appetite

for love may simmer when he takes more than he can handle. Near the end of the

play, when all tricks and treacheries are revealed and all masks are lifted,

Orsino "falls" in love with Viola. He first forgives her/him of

her/his duty to him, the master; then says that she shall now be her master's

mistress: Your master quits you; and for your service done him, so much against

the mettle of your sex, so far beneath your soft and tender breeding, and since

you call'd me master for so long, here is my hand. You shall from this time be

your master's mistress (237) This is sort of a switching love as he thought he

was in love with Olivia in the beginning, but, he readily switches his love to

Viola, as he feel she knows her personality well. As for Viola, she declares her

love for Orsino many times, as if by saying that she would love him if she were

a lady. When Orsino first sends Cesario to act as a messenger and send Orsino's

love to Olivia, Cesario proclaims: I'll do my best to woo your lady; [aside]

yet, a barful strife! Whoe'er I woo, myself would be his wife. (210) This shows

that Viola knows what a difficult situation that she is in, and that she might

try to woo her out of loving Orsino, so that she might have him for herself;

except there is a slight, unexpected twist of fate...After Cesario leaves from

Olivia's, she declares: yet my state is well; I am a gentleman." I'll be

sworn thou art. Thy tongue, thy face, thy limbs, and spirit, do give thee

five-fold blazon. Not too fast: soft, soft! Unless the master were the man. How

now! Even so quickly may one catch the plague? Methinks I feel this youth's per-

fections with an invisible and subtle stealth to creep in at mine eyes. Well,

let it be. What ho, Malvolio! (212) Olivia, is thinking back to her question to

Cesario, and his response to it. Then she replies to Cesario's response, to

herself, thinking about him. She agrees with his response, then goes over his

many delightfulfeatures, and wonders how she so quickly has caught the plague of

love for young Cesario. She decides that it is her feeling towards his youthful

perfections that creep into her heart and to her eyes. Then she agrees with her

decision, and sends for Malvolio, in hope that he may recall Cesario, so that

she may talk with him again. Olivia feels a strong passionate love for Cesario,

even though it was love at first sight for her. Cesario presented (himself) very

magnificently and left a lasting impression in Olivia's mind. The next time that

Cesario came by, Olivia declared: hood, honour, truth and everything, I love

thee so, that, maugre all thy pride, nor wit nor reason can my passion hide.

(224) This verifies that Olivia is profoundly in love with Cesario, despite all

his pride. But, Cesario does not possess the same sentiments for Olivia as he

says: By innocence I swear, and by my youth, I have one heart, one bosom and one

truth, And that no woman has; nor never none shall mistress be of it, save I

alone. And so adieu, good madam. (229) Here, Viola tells Olivia that she could

never love her, nor any other woman because she only has one love (to Orsino)

and is loyal. But, Olivia is still in love, and requests that Cesario return.

Overall, Viola learns that in the role of Cesario she had to be quick on her

feet, and defend the probing questions and statements as to her love and others

love for her. As well she acquired the skill to bide her time, until the time

was right, lest she reveal her true self or intentions.


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