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The Theme of Secrecy in Twelfth Night


Secrecy is a crucial aspect in any plot. It develops irony and in some cases situational funny. The method which a character keeps or reveals a secret affects the plot and contributes to the main theme of the work.

Viola, a character in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, should keep the trick of her real identity. The play utilizes secrecy as a crucial aspect of the plot by creating irony, situational funny, and tension, along with affecting the plot and contributing to the overall significance of the play. The plot of Twelfth Night is affect by the trick that Viola keeps and exposes.

Viola is a woman of Messaline who has been shipwrecked on the coast of Illyria. Believing her sibling Sebastian is dead, she wishes to begin a brand-new life in Illyria, however the court of Woman Olivia is not accepting any brand-new members since Woman Olivia remains in mourning after her dad and bro have died. In order to join the court of Duke Orsino, Viola must camouflage herself as a boy called Cesario. Orsino accepts “Cesario” into his court and from that point on, secrecy is embedded within the plot. Secrecy is needed because she can not be exposed as a female for numerous reasons.

Viola ends up being close with Orsino, which causes her to fall for him, but since she has actually ended up being so near him, Orsino trusts “her” and sends out “Cesario” to Woman Olivia’s home to attempt to persuade her to accept his love. Although Olivia has actually sworn off love, as quickly as she fulfills Cesario she falls for him since he understands all the lovely things to state to her. Considering that Cesario is actually Viola, the swooning words she says to Olivia is what Viola would want to hear if a guy were confessing his love to her.

Cesario states to Olivia, “Make me a willow cabin at your gate/ And hire my soul within your home,/ Write devoted cantons of contemned love,/ And sing them loud even in the dead of night// Hallow your name to the resound hills/ And make the babbling chatter of the air/ Cry out ‘Olivia!’ O, you should not rest/ In between the elements of air and earth/ However you must pity me” (43 ). This speech is what Viola would want to hear if she was being pursued by a man, which is why Olivia falls for Cesario. This makes complex the plot due to the fact that now Olivia loves Cesario who is really Viola which develops a sense of situational comedy and irony.

This secret not just affects the plot, but it adds to the total style of the play, love or the absence of. Olivia is not really in love with Cesario and neither is Orsino with Olivia, they are both in love with the concept or principle of love. On the other hand, Viola is genuinely in love with Orsino, which is exposed to the audience when Cesario is discussing love with Orsino; Cesario says, “Calm, however you must./ State that some woman, as perhaps there is,/ Hath for your love as fantastic a pang of heart/ As you have for Olivia. You can not lover her:/ You tell her so.

Must she not them be answered” (73 )? Viola, camouflaged as Cesario, is discussing herself which creates stress and paradox for the audience. Viola’s secret keeps her from freely loving Orsino and triggers Olivia to be in love with Cesario. Viola’s bro, Sebastian, who is in reality not dead, represents 2 themes in the play: mistaken identity and things are not what they seem. Sebastian is saved by Antonio, a guy whose inflammation towards Sebastian turns into love. Sebastian takes a trip to Illyria, not knowing that Viola lives and living there.

Viola and Sebastian look quite alike, and now that Viola is impersonating a young boy, they look identical. Sebastian is misinterpreted for Cesario by Olivia, which gives him two identities. Olivia begs “Cesario” to wed her and Sebastian seeing that Olivia was quite and rich, accepts her proposition. Sebastian says to himself, “Yet doth this mishap and flood of fortune/ Up until now exceed all instance, all discourse,/ That I am prepared to suspect mine eyes/ And wrangle with my reason that persuades me/ To any other trust however that I seethe-/ Otherwise the woman’s mad” (155 ).

Sebastian’s circumstance represents mistaken identity which things do not seem what they seem. Viola’s secret additional makes complex the plot; now Olivia believes she is married to Cesario who is in fact Sebastian. Also this news irritates Orsino who is in “love” with Olivia and causes major issues between Orsino and Cesario; Orsino states to Cesario, “O thou dissembling cub! What wilt thou be/ When time hath sowed a grizzle on thy case?/ Or will not else thy craft so quickly grow/ That thine own trip shall be tine overthrow?/ Farwell, and take her, but direct thy feet/ Where thou and I henceforth may never ever satisfy” (173 ).

Viola is sad by Orsino’s speech since she is truly in love with him and she is not the one who married Olivia. Olivia misinterpreting Sebastian for Cesario, proves that she does not actually like Cesario, she loves concept of love which is the overriding style of the play. Identities and disguises are developed by secrecy in the play. Viola’s and Sebastian’s true identities are exposed when she finds herself face to face with her bro Sebastian. Malvolio, another character in the play whose identity is lost due to secrecy, restores his identity by the end of the play.

Viola’s need for secrecy causes her choice of keeping the trick for most the play. Her secret complicates the plot, and develops irony and situational comedy throughout the play. Her trick did permit her to achieve her objective of joining Orsino’s court and beginning a brand-new life, however her revealing the secret allowed her and Orsino to be together. Viola’s secret added to the significance of the play, that like is not always what it seems, often love has 2 identities. Love can be simply falling in love with the concept of the emotion or the genuine thing.

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