Twelfth Night

Topics: Love, Twelfth Night, Darkness Pages: 4 (1574 words) Published: November 15, 2009
In Twelfth Night, Shakespeare constantly alludes to the contrast between darkness and light by the use of secrets, mistaken identities and the contrast between sanity and insanity. With this motif Shakespeare shows us that if we act on first impressions without the true knowledge of the entity of the situation or character, then the misinformed motives will surely be in vain; and our efforts futile. Creating much dysfunction within the play, Viola’s manly disguise as Cesario creates confusion between Olivia, whom is in love with Viola’s disguise, along with Orsino, who is unable to explain his infatuation with Cesario. When we are first introduced to Olivia, she refuses to be courted by the Duke Orsino or Sir Andrew Aguecheek, claiming to be mourning the death of her father and brother for seven years. Yet her story quickly changes once Cesario (Olivia) enters the equation. Calling Orsino’s love a “heresy” as Viola delivers a message from the Duke seems ironic because of the fact that Olivia actually falls in love with the woman carrying the message (1.5.205). This prime example of mistaken identity causes Olivia’s attempts at winning Cesario’s love seem feeble and ignorant, especially as she sends off Malvolio to deliver a ring to her new found love. With every time Viola declines Olivia’s love, Olivia’s affection only grows stronger and more determined toward Cesario, only stoking the already blazing fire of smoldering misunderstanding, causing the heavy plume of chaos and dysfunction to climb higher and higher into the sky of the human psyche until the situation’s melting point is reached and the truth alone is left. Just as the reader feels the awkwardness of Olivia’s love for Cesario, the feeling is just as potent for Orsino’s love for Viola. Although it is perfectly natural for Orsino to have the feelings he does for Viola, the reader experiences awkwardness equal to that of Olivia’s feelings simply because Orsino believes that Viola is actually Cesario,...
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