Viola In William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night

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In William Shakespeare 's Twelfth Night; or, What You Will, Viola, a young woman who survived a shipwreck, makes a choice to disguise as a boy, in order to work for the Duke of Illyria, Orsino. During the first three days of her employment as a eunuch named "Cesario", she is sent on a quest to persuade Orsino 's love interest, Olivia, to be his wife. Though not an easy task, Viola is granted access to Olivia, who is mourning her recently deceased brother. While "Cesario" is attempting to woo her for his/her master, Olivia is drawn out of her sadness and mistakenly falls in love with "him." In Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 12-36, Viola realizes what just happened in her exchange with Olivia and how she has fallen in love with "Cesario." Although very …show more content…
Viola ponders how such a thing could have happened and realizes that her disguise is to blame. She knows that being dishonest is a sin and thus can be comparable to Satan. She sees herself as a handsome man in disguise and blames the "frailty" of women as the cause of Olivia 's quick infatuation with "Cesario" (2.2.22-27). This can be seen throughout the play with Olivia as well. She is not a strong woman and in the beginning chooses to live a life dedicated to her deceased brother than to move on and be happy. It isn 't until she meets "Cesario" that she is pulled out from her sorrow and falls in love. Viola speaks of how women are made to be weak, especially for good-looking men, and thus proves in Olivia 's quick emotional turnaround and fondness of "Cesario". "I do I know not what, and fear to find Mine eye too great a flatterer for my mind." …show more content…
Viola 's disguise has not only caused immediate problems for Olivia, but for herself as well. As quickly as she realizes that Olivia has fallen in love with her disguise of Cesario, she too realizes her love for her master, Orsino. She wonders how this will all turn out because her master "loves her (Olivia) dearly" and she (Viola) "both man and woman" loves him just as much (2.2.28-30). Viola realizes that as a man she cannot have Orsino and as a woman Olivia is "better love a dream" (2.2.21), in the end no one can have what they want because she is seen as a man to others but is really a woman. Viola looks to fate to help her through this ordeal "O Time, thou must untangle this, not I; It is too hard a knot for me t ' untie." (2.2.35-36)
Olivia also looks to fate to help guide her through her new infatuation with Cesario, "Fate, show thy force. Ourselves we do not owe. What is decreed must be; and be this so." (1.5.251-252) Viola and Olivia would both rather not confront their situations at hand but to allow the fate that is to be...to

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