Describe the different forms of disguise and deception that feature in Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night'.

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Describe the different forms of disguise and deception that feature in Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night'.

For this essay I shall try and describe the different forms of disguise and deception which appear in 'Twelfth Night'. The elements of both disguise and deception are both very important to the play, they bring confusion between the characters which add to the comical tones of the play.  

 The main thought that we, the reader think of would be Viola's physical disguise as a male 'Cesario' which is one of the central plots that contribute to the comedy of the play. The thought of a male dressing up as a female (and vice versa) is increadibly funny to us today. This would work especially well on a stage, where the full impact of seeing someone trying to accumulate the characteristics of the opposite gender would hit the audience. Yet, because in Shakespeare's day, the female parts were played by boy actors, the original Elizabethan audience would have found a special sophistication in the part of Viola - which would have been a boy, dressing up as a woman, who in the play dresses up as a man. As confusing as it may seem, it does enable the audience to understand more of the situation when either Olivia or Orsino are on stage. It is also these situations which cause a lot of disruption and  confusion which make up the plot.

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In 'Twelfth Night' disguise and deception are the key feature in the more comical scenes. A good example of this is the humiliation of Malvolio, who is unknowingly decieved into thinking that Olivia is in love with him by Maria, Sir Toby and Sir Andrew Aguecheek. The audience would have found this hilarious in Shakespeare's day because Malvolio embodied  all the attributes of a solem strict puritan, which the fun loving Elizabethan audience hated. There is no real sympathy felt for Malvolio at all in the play because of this, and the audience would have seen the mistreatment of ...

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