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Twelfth Night, The Three Strong Women

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Introduction

William Shakespeare wrote his third romantic comedy, 'Twelfth Night', in around 1601. The main plot in 'Twelfth Night' is a romance story but the subplots also involve a lot of comedy. The main characters are: Olivia, Sebastian, Viola/Cesario, Duke Orsino and Maria. Out of all these characters the strongest are Olivia, Viola and Maria. This is because they all use their wit and strong will to stand out against the men in the play. As I mentioned above, Olivia is one of the strong characters in this play. This may be due to the fact that she is a Duchess or that she has lost her father and brother and must now support herself. 'Good Madonna, why mournest thou? 'Good fool, for my brother's death' (Act 1, Scene 5, Line 64-65) Viola, like Olivia, is also a strong character in this play. This may be because she has, also, lost her brother and does not know whether he is dead or alive. 'O My poor brother, and so perchance may he be' (Act 1, Scene 2, Line 6) ...read more.

Middle

She is not completely vengeful, however, because she doesn't approve of getting Malvolio sent to prison. Viola and Maria are in similar situations because they have both fallen in love with someone they think they cannot have. Viola is playing Duke Orsino's right hand man with the disguise of Cesario and has fallen in love with him. However she cannot uncover who she is by telling him that she likes him. So indirectly she tells him, 'What kind of woman is't? Of your complexion. She is not worth thee then. What years, i' faith?'(Act 2, Scene 4, Line 25-27) Like Viola, Maria also cannot profess her love for Sir Toby as she is afraid he will reject her because of her social standing. This is because Maria is simply a lady in waiting and Sir Toby is rich and is of high social status. In spite of this, they end up getting married at the end of the play, 'Maria writ the letter at Sir Toby's great importance, In recompense whereof he hath married her.'(Act 5, Scene 1, Line 357-359) ...read more.

Conclusion

'I have unclasped to thee the book even of my secret soul.' (Act 1, Scene 4, Line 12-13) Olivia is a stronger character than Sebastian because she proposed to him. 'Plight me the full assurance of your faith,' (Act 4, Scene 3, Line 26) Maria is a stronger character than Sir Toby and Fabian because she tricks Malvolio by writing him a fake letter, and successfully convinces him that Olivia likes him. 'I will drop in his way some obscure epistle of love; I can write very much like my lady your niece.' (Act 2, Scene 3, Line 151-152, 155-156) In my opinion, I believe that Shakespeare was a man of morals and did not like the way women were treated in society. I think he, therefore, wrote this play to contradict everything society said about men being stronger than women. This brilliantly executed play, written by William Shakespeare, so long ago, ironically reflects the 21st Century. This is because in modern society women very rarely feel intimidated by men. They're allowed to study and work. Personally, I believe that Shakespeare was a brilliantly open minded person and his personality was reflected in his work. ...read more.

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