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

Viola has a great importance of "Twelfth Night" because she alone helps reveal other main characters' personalities that would've otherwise been hidden

Extracts from this document...


Choose one important character from your extended text. You will write in detail about a character and explain his/her importance in the text. Viola has a great importance of "Twelfth Night" because she alone helps reveal other main characters' personalities that would've otherwise been hidden. Viola who is disguised as Cesario had the greatest effect in revealing Orsino's and Olivia's true natures that were hidden behind their melodramatic and self-involved behaviour. Her strong qualities of being direct, honest and friendly allow her to form close relationships with the both. In just "but three days" in his service, Viola (as Cesario) has already formed a close relationship with Duke Orsino. "I have unclasped to thee the book even of my secret soul", Orsino says to her. He uses this metaphor of being an unclasped book to explain that like an unlocked book he has completely opened up to Viola even into his "secret soul". Before meeting Viola, Orsino appears to be incredibly self-absorbed in his apparent unrequited love for Olivia while he mopes around on "sweet beds of flowers". ...read more.


But after meeting Viola, all her shows of apparent grief and mourning seem to drop away unforgotten. For example, Olivia's mourning veil symbolises just this. Once the veil that covers Olivia's face is taken off, "we will draw the curtain and show to the picture". This is a metaphor between Olivia and a painting, where once the "curtain" is thrown off, her true nature is exposed for any to see, particularly stressing her defencelessness and vulnerability. Eventually, Olivia who is "enchanted" by Viola's attractiveness and engaging wit must use all her wit and emotional honesty to deal with Viola's straight-to-the-point nature. For Olivia has become too used to dealing with Orsino's self-indulgent ways. While Orsino may twiddle around with Olivia's feelings with elaborate poetry, Viola is more emotionally direct and therefore requires a more emotionally honest response. When this character is introduced into the play, Viola enters these two lives and brings them both back into reality. Through a relationship with them, she shows them how to leave their polite formalities and become more emotionally honest about love. ...read more.


But in reality, the possibility of Orsino recognising her love is close to nothing and the formation of this love triangle (where Olivia is in love with Cesario i.e. Viola's disguise, Orsino is in love with Olivia and Viola is in love with Orsino) only increases the importance of disguising her love. These two disguises of this nature allows for many ironies in the play. For example, when Orsino asks if Viola (who is disguised as Cesario) is in love, Viola replies that she is in love with someone "of your complexion" and "about your years" which is undeniably true but very ironic considering she is not talking of another woman but hinting that she is in love with Orsino himself. Viola carries out the theme of disguise throughout most of the play. She reflects the theme of disguise because to everyone else in "Twelfth Night", she is known as Cesario (with exception to the audience) and she has to constantly keep her love for Orsino disguised. Although at various times her honesty lets her come close to revealing her real nature as a woman, her disguise still holds up until the appearance of her twin brother, Sebastian. ...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. Cruelty in "Twelfth Night" - an examination of Shakespeare's comedy's darker side.

    the ship, we are shown that she has a twin brother and so are more aware of him, and the cruelty towards them both through out the film. In the BBC film Felicity Kendall plays Viola and she is probably the most realistic of all the actors/actresses in this version

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

    Another pair who share friendship is Orsino and 'Caesario'. They do not even know each other very well but they got very close within a short period of time. We can see this from the quote, "He hath known you but three days, and already you are no stranger.".

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

    But in light of this, his emotions are brought to the surface when he entertains people with his music. The realization that Feste has the most knowledge of love, or what real love is, begins to seep through as he sings.

  2. Consider Shakespeare's presentation of Orsino and Olivia in Twelfth Night and consider how they ...

    deal of scorn looks beautiful in the contempt and anger of his lip! help show this. Orsino believes that men love more strongly than women. Cesario disagrees and begins to tell Orsino about her imaginary sister, who died for the love of a man.

  1. Twelfth night - would you agree with Viola that the use of disguise and ...

    So even when characters are unaware that they are being fooled the effects of this trickery can still have treacherous outcomes. Olivia is deceived further still when she, in thinking he is Cesario, marries Sebastian in haste, so that her "most jealous and too doubtful soul may live at peace".

  2. In the first two scenes, we meet the three main characters, Viola, Orsino, and ...

    The images of the sea, and salt water, are associated with all three of the characters, but with differing meanings and results. Orsino compares the sea to "the spirit of love", and how it has "thy capacity / Receiveth as the sea", and says that anything of "validity and pitch" that enters the sea "falls into abatement and low price".

  1. "Conceal what I am" - Explore the theme of disguise and deception in "Twelfth ...

    Deception plays a role here because it is clear Orsino's conception of himself is misplaced and so he is self-deceiving and also this highlights his egotistical nature. Shakespeare also uses iambic pentameter here and this defines Orsino's character to a certain degree.

  2. Discuss the ways in which Shakespeare explores the theme of love throughout 'Twelfth Night'.

    present the audience with a higher knowledge of the plot than that presented by the other characters in the play. Shakespeare characterises Feste to be 'better a witty fool that an foolish wit.' He is able to look upon the unfolding scenario with the detachment of an outsider due to his minimal involvement with the action.

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