• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Twelfth night - would you agree with Viola that the use of disguise and deception is wicked?

Extracts from this document...


"Disguise, I see thou art a wickedness, wherein the pregnant enemy does much". (II, iii, 1. 24-25) consider the various types of disguise and deception in Twelfth Night, how far would you agree with viola that this is wicked? Deception is a key theme within Shakespearean drama, whether it be tragedy, history or comedy. It is often the cause of a lot of turmoil, especially within Twelfth Night, as there are many romantic difficulties due to the art of disguise. However Shakespeare does not always use deception to cause romantic problems, he shows the act of deceit in many different lights, as is done in Hamlet, for example. Claudius lies to everyone about the murder of Hamlet's father and as a result is guilt ridden, saying "O heavy burthen", so it seems that Shakespeare often intends to portray deception as wicked, but does the audience agree with this concept? For surely some good must come from the great extent of trickery. Twelfth Night is an ideal play to discuss this, as although the chicanery causes a lot of distress, this is evened out by the happy ending we would not receive when discussing a tragedy such as Hamlet. It seems this play is reasonably unbiased. When we first hear of Viola's disguise there is immediate foreshadowing as she says "what else may hap" (I, ii, 60), surely hinting that a lot shall occur due to the extent of her deception, and we have to wait just two scenes to hear of this. ...read more.


However this accidental marriage turns out to be a happy one, as when Cesario is uncovered as Viola Olivia is grateful for the misunderstanding and, as far as we know, goes on to love her new husband Sebastian. This is a clear example of when deception is quite the opposite of wicked, as Olivia originally fell in love with Viola, who Sebastian (being her twin) is supposedly the male version of, and as Olivia does not think of herself as gay, this unlikely coincidence - brought upon by deception - is an extremely successful one. Maria instigates the manipulation of Malvolio through means of deception, and the consequences of this prove very wicked on his behalf. First, he humiliates himself in front of his colleagues. They watch on, making comments such as "fie on him, jezebel!" while he fantasises, with no clue that they are watching. This is surely wicked as Malvolio works himself into an emotional frenzy, causing himself to believe that he loves Olivia, and worst of all that she returns this love. The foolery doesn't stop here, as they take the chicanery as far as they possibly can before they are eventually caught out. Feste even chooses to ridicule Malvolio while he is imprisoned; deceiving him further still he says he is Sir Topaz. He attempts to convince Malvolio he is insane, saying "thou art more puzzled than the Egyptians in their fog". ...read more.


If Shakespeare intended for deception to be seen as a cruel thing, then it is doubtful that he would have made this a romantic comedy. For if he aimed for the audience to have such a pessimistic view on the play, he surely would have made it a tragedy, therefore making the effects of deception obviously bad. I do not think that Shakespeare intends for his audience to see deception as a wicked thing, therefore I do not think they do. Overall I would tend to agree with Viola that disguise is a wickedness, however I believe that Twelfth Night is an exception to this opinion, as although it did cause the characters a lot of grief, this concluded to be a very happy ending, typical of the plays genre. Also I can pick fault with Viola's opinion as she says that the disguise itself is a wickedness. I believe that it is not the disguise that is wicked but of course the nature in which it is used, in the circumstances of this play disguise is used to protect Viola and it is not intended to cause any harm. In my opinion this means that it is not wicked, however had she used deception with cruel intentions - much like Maria - then I would have to agree that it would be a wickedness. Some wickedness may have occurred due to beguilement, bit I think the audience would agree that overall, when referring to Twelfth Night, the act of disguise is not wicked. Polly kinnear. Page 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Twelfth Night section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Twelfth Night essays

  1. How does Shakespeare explore the theme of deception and self-deception in Twelfth Night?

    all the daughters of my father's house, And all the brothers too", often speaking in riddles. She also has an encounter with Feste where she counters his play on words that he may know her identity by saying, "I am sick for once, [Aside] thought I would not have it grow on my chin".

  2. Discuss the different types of love presented in Twelfth Night

    In the play Malvolio's self-love is one of the most extreme and unpleasant kind, resulting in overweening pride and self-delusion. The quote, "wise men, that crow so at these set kind of fools, no better than the fools' zanies." We can see that Malvolio thinks that he is clever than

  1. Twelfth Night is a feminist play. Discuss.

    For instance, Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and Feste. In contrast, the females are more witty, clever, and manipulative. The contrasting individuals could be, Sir Toby and Maria. In the exchange between them in act I, scene 3, we can see that although both of them seem to be very witty,

  2. The Dramatic Importance of Act 1 Scenes 1 and 2 referring to other parts ...

    In this scene Orsino shows his obsession with love when he says 'make no compare between that love a woman can bear me'. He seems to find being in love painful yet he enjoys it at the same time; this is similar to Romeo when he describes his love for Rosaline in 'Romeo and Juliet'.

  1. 'Disguise I see thou art a wickedness' (Viola 2.2) What is the function of ...

    Viola's disguise is responsible for her being caught up in the unusual love triangle and she says of Olivia: 'Poor Lady, she were better love a dream, Disguise I see thou art a wickedness'. This is not the only way in which disguise is used in Twelfth Night, it is also used to create comedy.

  2. Twelfth Night is full of echoes and parallels. Consider how these contribute to the ...

    Love is the central theme of the play, and the way in which Shakespeare has created a situation where many characters are all secretly in love with others, allows him to separate the kinds of love intended to be serious, and those intended to be comic.

  1. 'Explore the ways in which Shakespeare presents the theme of love throughout the Twelfth ...

    This is also another observation of love where trickery plays a large part, again linked to the theme of appearance and reality. Act two, scene five connects to love through another theme. Malvolio is convinced Olivia is in love with him although she isn't; the appearance and reality of things are often entirely different.

  2. Love as a Cause of Suffering - Twelfth Night is a romantic comedy, and ...

    This situation creates what can best be described as a sexual mess, in which Viola falls in love with Orsino but cannot tell him, because he thinks she is a man, while Olivia, the object of Orsino's affection, falls for Viola in her guise as Cesario.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work