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How does Shakespeare explore aspects of love, gender and identity in Twelfth Night?

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  • Essay length: 933 words
  • Submitted: 11/07/2002
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AS and A Level Twelfth Night

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How does Shakespeare explore aspects of love, gender and identity in

Twelfth Night?

Edward Worboys

In William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, many relationships are forged or sabotaged for and by the characters, and as a result these relationships are made comical. The use of disguise causes deception and misunderstanding which leads to love where it is not meant to be. Foolery leads the characters into inescapable traps, which causes chaos with their emotions, and finally pure physical attraction and not true love lead some characters into falsely believing that they were in love. This combined with warped identities and gender misunderstandings; relationships were twisted and contorted so often that comedy was bound to result. Throughout Twelfth Night deception caused confusion between many characters, but the one character that remain in the centre of this confusion was Viola. The deception was caused because of her outward appearance. She was disguised as a man in order to get closer to Orsino. The confusion begins when Viola is sent to woo Orsino's love Olivia. She in turn falls in love with Viola's counterpart Cesario. Olivia's love is revealed when she sends her servant Malvolio to return a ring which Viola

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