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Twelfth Night, the themes of mistaken identities, disguise, true love and self-indulging love.

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Introduction

´╗┐Characters and events are important factors in plays as their interactions throughout the plot develop the central ideas or themes that the author wishes to communicate to the audience. Some common themes are investigations into common human experiences that may involve complex moral issues or questions the integrity of relationships. A play which uses characters and events to explore such important themes is Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare. The dominant themes Shakespeare introduces in Twelfth Night are love and deception. Love and deception are critical in that they embody the values for humans in today's society since love comforts humans and bring them together while deception is the betrayal of truth and honesty which causes separation and anguish. Shakespeare uses these themes in order to demonstrate a rich variety of relationships. Shakespeare presents love throughout the play to provide the audience with his perspective on love as it exists in human society including self-love, selfless love and true love. Shakespeare illustrates the different aspects of love throughout the play by the language used including soliloquies, metaphors, motifs and symbols. Self-love is one's self indulgence disguised as love in order to fulfill or satisfy one's egotism. ...read more.

Middle

I do not now fool myself, to let imagination jade me; for every reason excites to this, that my lady loves me.' By contrast, true love is a strong affection that one has for another which is constant, while selfless love is when one truly loves another but does not show it and has the courage to sacrifice for their love. The characters Viola and Antonio express true and selfless love in Twelfth Night. In the love triangle between Viola, Orsino and Olivia, Viola is the only character who is truly in love. She loves Orsino and wants to send the message across to him but realises she has to suffer for the consequences of being in disguise as a man. Her selfless and passionate love can be seen when she describes herself as someone else, 'She pined in thought, And with a green and yellow melancholy, She sat like Patience on a monument, Smiling at grief. Was this not love?' This interprets that although she had to suffer from a forced silence in her passionate feelings for Orsino, she patiently accepted and waited in grief. ...read more.

Conclusion

He also uses deception that is in jest to create dramatic irony in the play which is created in the play when Malvolio is tricked to dress up in crossed garters and yellow stocking and act absurdly in order to please Olivia (Act III Scene IV). Further, mistaken identity is the state of being mistaken for someone else because of the appearance similarity which can cause disasters such as a tangled situation. Mistaken identities are seen in the events that unfold such as when Viola is mistaken as Sebastian while Sebastian is mistaken as Viola. This resulted in Antonio emotionally suffering as he thought he was betrayed by Sebastian destroying the relationship between Antonio and Sebastian (Act III Scene IV). Shakespeare's characterisation in choosing Viola and Sebastian to be twins was to bring together Viola and Sebastian together to resolve the confused and tangled situations such as the love triangle. This is why deception is unwanted and is often thought as a negative aspect of relationships between loved ones. Thus, themes are shaped by the characters, the relationship between them and the events that surround the characters. This is clearly demonstrated in Twelfth Night through mistaken identities, disguise, true love and self-indulging love. ...read more.

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