• 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. 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.".

  1. 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.

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

    On the other hand, it is her disguise which also causes her to be saved from the battle ever occurring. As Antonio thinks she is Sebastian and consequently attempts to fight for her, saying "I take the fault on me".

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

    deal of scorn looks beautiful in the contempt and anger of his lip! help show this. Orsino believes that men love more strongly than women. Cesario disagrees and begins to tell Orsino about her imaginary sister, who died for the love of a man.

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

    Disguise is again used to point out to the audience who is considered to be foolish and who is not. Feste, the clown, acts like a fool for entertainment purposes and therefore everybody thinks of him as a fool. However, Feste makes comments about the other characters which help us

  1. Discuss the ways in which Shakespeare explores the theme of love throughout 'Twelfth Night'.

    Other characters that feature in the sub-plot are Sir Toby and Maria. Their relationship whilst comical does display suitable pairing as they both offer similar views of love. Sir Toby and Sir Andrew's relationship however relates back to the theme of appearance and reality.

  2. Twelfth Night - Feste's self.

    Feste hardly knows Orsino, who in turn scarcely knows Feste, but for Feste to cast this view shows his perceptiveness. This view is so accurate, that it leads Orsino to make Cesario go to Olivia's and tell her that his love is 'more noble than the world'.

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