• 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. 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.

  1. 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.".

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

    He leaves with a passionate line, saying "I'll be revenged on the whole pack of you!", yet to our knowledge his vengeance is not resolved, as this is the last we see of him throughout the rest of the play.

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

    The second scene from Act 1, is probably the most important scene in the play, as it is here that Shakespeare's substantive comedic element comes into play, that of mistaken identity. It introduces Viola, the main character in the play.

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

    However, this is understandable as Viola insists that she would wait outside of Olivia's gate, day and night, proclaiming her love for her, until Olivia took pity on her. With these words, Olivia becomes infatuated with Viola as this kind of dedication contrasts greatly with the way Orsino tries to pursue her love.

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

    Maria disguises her handwriting as Olivia's as their handwriting is very similar: 'I can write very like my Lady your niece, on a forgotten matter we can hardly make distinction of our hands'. She writes a counterfeit letter to Malvolio stating that Olivia is in love with him when of course she is not.

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

    point of view; 'I pity you' This sorrow she feels for Olivia shows she is not cruel and is more caring. This can be seen in the soliloquy in act two when Viola realises Olivia has fallen in love with Cesario; 'Poor lady, she were better love a dream' She

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