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Realtionship between Viola and Olivia

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William Shakespeare wrote the play 'Twelfth Night' to suit his Elizabethan audience, so that is why perhaps there is a lot of confusion in the play, as the Elizabethans loved puzzles. In this time and age we may find it difficult to believe that a woman could be successfully disguised as a man. However in the time in which the play was written, all of the parts in the plays were acted out by men, as women were not allowed to act on stage until the late 1600's. Therefore all female characters were acted out by young boys. When Viola is ordered by the Duke Orsino, to express his love for Olivia, she feels rather put out and slightly envious at the thought that the person she has to woo, could be the wife of the man she secretly adores with a deep passion: 'Yet a barful strife. Whoe'er I woo, myself would be his wife'. She feels it an inner struggle within herself to put aside her own feelings, so that she can express Orsino's love most convincingly. Before even meeting Cesario, Olivia is intrigued and rather impressed at the description that was given to her: ' Not yet old to be a man, nor young enough for a boy... ...read more.


Although Olivia is bolder with her feelings, she shows a weakness and a vulnerable side to her. This is surprising, as Olivia is a very strong minded, independent and an authoritative figure, who is of high born rank: 'Give me leave, beseech you. I did send, After the last enchantment you did here, A ring in chase of you. So I did abuse Myself, my servant, and, I fear me, you. Under your hard construction must I sit, To force that on you in a shameful cunning Which you knew none of yours. What might you think?' Olivia is very eager to hear what Cesario thinks of her and asks for his forgiveness. This is very out of character for her, as she is normally, very sure of herself. 'Enough is shown; a cypress, not a bosom, Hides my heart. So, let me hear you speak'. Olivia feels that she has revealed too much of her heart and the feelings of passion contained within it. She is a very secretive person and so revealing her emotions to Cesario is a surprise to her, and it shows how in love she is with him . She is very keen for Cesario to declare his love for her. ...read more.


she tries to make Cesario understand that she would never be able to love the Duke when she loves him. We learn how deeply attracted she is to him, when she says she would go to hell for him: 'Well, come again tomorrow. Fare thee well. A fiend like thee might bear my soul in hell'. She thinks the more he visits her the more his heart will soften for her. When Viola's brother Sebastian appears, there is a lot of confusion as he is mistaken for being Cesario. Olivia, thinking that he is Cesario asks him to marry her. Although confused, Sebastian counts his lucky stars :' What relish is this? How runs the stream? Or am I mad, or else this is a dream.'. When the Duke comes to visit Olivia to persuade her, she calls Cesario her husband, to both the Duke and Viola's surprise. Cesario is confused and bewildered; which also makes Olivia feel confusedm and this affords great entertainment for the audience. Shakespeare uses alliteration 'With such a suffering, such a deadly life' most likely because it helps draw attention to these words and to create the rhythm of a line. It also makes the words more dramatic. In the end, when the plot is unraveled, Olivia declares Viola her sister: 'A sister, you are she'. Now the two women can live together is a more peaceful way. ?? ?? ?? ?? Anisa Ali 26/3/2007 GS2 ...read more.

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