When someone incorrectly thinks that they have found or recognized a particular person, this is a case of mistaken identity. In Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare portrays mistaken identity through the characters in this novel. Mistaken identity is proven throughout this novel through intelligence and cunning actions of various characters. Viola, the countess of Illyria, uses mistaken identity to disguise her as a boy, Sebastian, Viola’s brother, gets mistaken for the young Cesario and Feste the fool acts as a priest to toy with malvolio’s mind.
Firstly, Viola disguises herself as an amiable young boy. Viola gets help from the captain of the ship to change her image: “Conceal me what I am, and be my aid for such disguise as haply shall become the form of my intent” (Shakespeare 1.2.53). Viola uses her intelligence to become a boy so she can work for the Duke in Illyria. With her disguise she is found in a triangle of love: “My master loves her dearly, and I, poor monster, fond as much on him, and she, mistaken, seems to dote on me” (2.2.33). Viola’s disguise has gotten her into a bit of trouble that she believes she can’t handle Viola who is now Cesario has to deal with love in many ways.
Secondly, Sebastian gets mistaken for Cesario. Feste goes up to Sebastian thinking he is Cesario: “I prithee, vent thy folly somewhere else; Thou know’st not me” (4.1.10) Feste is trying to get Cesario to meet Olivia but it is really Sebastian he is speaking with. Olivia also mistakes Sebastian as Cesario: “Nay, come, I prithee; would thou’ ldst be ruled by me!”(4.1.64). Olivia is in love with Cesario and gets married to him but really it’s Sebastian. Sebastian is a victim of mistaken identity in the novel.
Thirdly, Feste acts as a priest for Maria’s dirty work. The fool agrees to become Sir Topaz, the priest: “Well, I’ll put it on, and I will dissemble myself in‘t and I would I were the first tat ever dissembled in such a... [continues]
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(2012, 11). Twelfth Night Essay. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 11, 2012, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Twelfth-Night-Essay-1249690.html
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