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

Mistaken Identity in Twelfth Night.

Extracts from this document...


Anna Mason 9S Mistaken Identity in Twelfth Night Throughout "Twelfth Night" there is much foolery, fantasy and mistaken identity. These incidents have made the play more fun, interesting and surprising and have certainly given the play a few twists. Olivia and Viola-Cesario (I, v) The first and most important case of mistaken identity in my opinion, began in Act 1, scene 5, in Olivia's household. Viola-Cesario was sent by Orsino to try and "woo" Olivia for him but Viola, in love with Orsino herself, knew that she would not want to do this: "I'll do my best to woo your lady. [Aside] Yet a barful strife! Whoe'er I woo, myself would be his wife." (I, iv, l. 39-41). The two got on well although there was much verbal fencing, but by the time Viola-Cesario had left, Olivia feared she had fallen in love with "him". We learn this from Olivia's words after Viola-Cesario's departure: "Even so quickly may one catch the plague? ...read more.


72-3). Malvolio read on to discover that Olivia "liked" yellow stockings (a colour she hated) with cross-gartering. He was also told to treat his fellow workers as inferiors to him and to smile jokily all day, a mood that Olivia was not in with the death of her brother. Malvolio then doing as "Olivia" had said, came before her looking ridiculous and hinting that he knew of the letter: "this cross-gartering... If it please the eye of one, it's with me... I think we do know the sweet Roman hand." (III, iv, l. 20-6). Malvolio continued to hint and recite quotes from her letter for some time, making a complete fool out of himself. When Sir Toby entered, Malvolio was rude to him as the letter instructed, but he was accused of being possessed and was told he was mad: "La you, and you speak ill of the devil, how he takes it at the heart! Pray God he be not bewitched!" (III, iv, l. ...read more.


Viola said that she had no idea who he was and Antonio, still believing her to be Sebastian, rightfully got very angry and upset: "Will you deny me now? Is't possible that my deserts to you Can lack persuasion? Do not tempt my misery." (III, iv, l. 298-300). And later: "Thou hast, Sebastian, done good feature shame. In nature there's no blemish but the mind: None can be called deformed but the unkind." (III, iv, l. 317-9). This case of mistaken identity caused hurt feelings and confusion to those involved. Unlike the other cases, it is not humorous and few events branch from it. The incident is an interesting and more serious part of the play, which involves another mistake over Viola's identity. As a final summary, I think mistaken identity is a very important aspect of Twelfth Night: it provides humour, complications and interesting twists to the play. As a reader or viewer of Twelfth Night it is very enjoyable to know the thoughts of each character while they go around not knowing the truth and making mistakes. In some ways Twelfth Night is almost like a pantomime: the mistaken identity supplies a fantastical, foolish and humorous mood to the play. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Twelfth Night section.

Found what you're looking for?

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

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

The essay gives an overview of some of the cases of mistaken identity and the effect of the humour it resulted in. The quotes selected were appropriate. As a literature essay, an examiner would expect to see some reference to the literary context which the text comes from and how the audience's response to the themes may change over time.

Marked by teacher Melissa Thompson 27/03/2013

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 GCSE Twelfth Night essays

  1. How does Shakespeare create and use comedy in the play Twelfth Night?

    Of course Orsino relates to Viola and not Cesario without really knowing it. Shakespeare shows that Orsino is contradicting himself here. He shows the audience that Orsino is fake. The audience find it comical whenever Orsino speaks of his love for Olivia because they know it is fake.

  2. How does Shakespeare present the character of Viola?

    This shows Viola to be an easy character for people to trust. The way the character Orsino relates to Viola's character gives promise that Olivia will also respond to her in a positive way. She seems a good choice of character to deliver Orsino's message to Olivia.

  1. Twelfth Night has been described as a play of contrast-light and darkness; humour and ...

    They also believed excess was greediness, which to them is a sin. Although Shakespeare in this play portrays Malvolio as a bad person, Shakespeare was also questioning the theme of excess, that perhaps it is wrong when it gets out of hand, like Sir Toby's revenge against Malvolio.

  2. How is Romantic love presented in Twelfth Night?

    beings then men, and how Viola, who is intelligent, manages to ignore his references to his lack of respect for women and still be 'in - love' with Orsino. There are also many gender confusing relationships, Shakespeare uses this to bring out comedy in Twelfth night.

  1. Discuss the similarities and differences between Olivia and Viola in "Twelfth Night".

    Dost thou live by thy tabor? FESTE: No, sir, I live by the church. VIOLA: Art thou a churchman? FESTE: No such matter, sir. I do live by the church; for I do live at my house, and my house doth stand by the church.

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

    Viola knows that she can relate to Orsino's love: 'For I can sing, And speak to him in many sorts of music' This quote tells us that viola stands a good chance to be a well-known servant by Orsino as she can sing and speak in different sorts of music, which Orsino adores listening and speaking to.

  1. What Types of love does Shakespeare explore in Twelfth Night?

    Look you now, he's out of his guard already. Unless you laugh and minister occasion to him, he is gagged.' Malvolio is trying to prove that Feste is not as important as him and that he should not be forgiven.

  2. What is the function of disguise in Twelfth Night ?

    Viola now sees her disguise as something negative. She is in love with the Duke but cannot tell him so outright but is reduced to dropping hints, and she must now face the affections of another woman on herself, 'Poor lady, she were better love a dream, Disguise I see thou art a wickedness' A disguise has caused

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