Explore the Ways in Which Shakespeare Presents and Develops the Character “Viola” in “Twelfth Night” Focusing on Act 1 Scene 5

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“Twelfth Night” is a play written by William Shakespeare in the 17th Century that was supposed to be performed on the twelve days of Christmas. The play is about twins that get separated. Viola one of the twins, lands on an unknown land. She disguises herself as a man to work for Orsino, the duke of the land. She does all this to meet Olivia, the woman Orsino is wooing. While wooing Olivia for Orsino, Olivia starts to fall in love with Cesario (Viola’s male name). Throughout the play Viola starts to fall in love with Orsino as they get closer and closer. This love triangle gets more and more complicated throughout the play until Sebastian, the other twin, appears and marries Olivia. Orsino thinks Cesario has betrayed him until everyone meets and Sebastian and Viola reunite. Orsino, now understanding, realises he has been chasing the wrong woman and marries Viola to her great joy.

The festival of twelfth night starts on Christmas day and ends on 6th January. The festival brings a lot of enjoyment for all people. A lot of food is eaten and wine is drunk. Shakespeare uses roles in his play to mimic people on twelfth night. Like the Twelfth night celebration, Viola plays a role beneath her actual status. Sir Toby Belch and Sir Andrew Arguecheek are the enjoyment and drunkenness side of Twelfth night. Feste (the clown) differs and is all seeing and knowing about the play. Shakespeare uses this festival of twelfth night to entertain with another play.

However there is a tragic element to the play. Malvolio a puritan works hard to close theatres. He uses appearance to show hypocrisy which adds humour. He pretends to be a puritan but he really sees himself rich and powerful. Shakespeare does it because the puritans were getting dangerous. He is foretelling the closure of the theatre when Malvolio says “I’ll be reveng’d on the whole pack of you!”

Viola the main character of the play is one of two twins. Viola and Sebastian look very much alike. As viola lands on an...
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