Soliloquy Assingment - Viola

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Viola’s Soliloquy Assignment
Kelvin Park
October 19, 2009

In William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” act II, ii 17-41, Viola makes her first soliloquy after realizing that Olivia has fallen in love with her. Shakespeare uses this literary tool - in which a character talks to himself or herself or reveals his or her thoughts without addressing a listener – to create dramatic irony in the play. The audience here learns information about the said character that is unknown by the other characters in the piece. The information can strengthen our understanding of a character or foreshadow and set up the course of the plot to come. Upon speaking with Olivia on account of Count Orsino, Viola realizes after being chased down by Malvolio that Olivia has talking a liking to her as Cesario. Viola, in love with Orsino herself, notes the helplessness of her situation under her disguise. Hindered from expressing her feelings for the Duke “And I (poor monster) fond as much on him…” (II, ii, 34), and loved by another woman “Poor lady, she were better love a dream,” (II.ii.24), neither whom know her true identity, we begin to see a part of Viola’s character that supports the purpose of the soliloquy. Viola expresses her hope that time will untangle the predicament since she is not willing to try to figure out how to solve it. She chooses not to reveal herself to either Olivia or Orsino - but rather continues despite the expanding complexity of the plot and the relationships between the characters – which could have a much greater impact later than sooner in the play. This escape from the situation paints Viola as an inconsiderate character blind of the consequences of her actions. Despite her failure to take on a responsible role in the face of her problem, it could be argued that she needs to think for some time over the matter before acting. However, without acknowledging the sorrow and harm that she could cause, she believes that time will work out a solution for her...
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