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Twelfth Night Coursework Assignment


5. “Conceal what I am” Check out the style of disguise and deception in “Twelfth Night”

William Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’ is based around camouflage in the form of deception. In ‘Twelfth Night’, camouflage takes various shapes from physical to mental camouflage.

One of the significant styles of ‘Twelfth Night’ is likewise misperception and deceptiveness. Yet, paradoxically along the way there are numerous problems, deceptiveness and impressions, supplying a discuss human behaviour and creating funny. In ‘Twelfth Night’, Shakespeare explores and highlights the theme of deception and disguise with precise detail.

In ‘Twelfth Night’, it appears that the variation in attitude to the dual role and situation and tribulations imposed upon the character of Viola ends up in a much better understanding of both sexes, and thus, allows Viola to have a much better understanding for Orsino.

“Stand you awhile aloof. Cesario,

Thou know’st no less however all; I have unclasp ‘d

To thee the book even of my secret soul.”

Here it appears that after really little time Viola has actually won the trust of Orsino through her camouflage and he appears to have actually chosen that he can reveal more in Viola than in anybody else.

She chooses to handle this identity due to the fact that she has more liberty in society in her Cesario mask, which is obvious when Orsino readily accepts her. Orsino confides in Cesario the most intimate sensations of his ‘secret soul’ and grows accustomed to Cesario extremely quickly, whereas, in her female identity, it is clear that she would not take pleasure in such flexibility.

I likewise believe this is significant, as Shakespeare is conveying the impression that since Viola has actually camouflaged herself as a ‘eunuch’ she has more autonomy and less constraints; I believe Shakespeare’s underlying and implicit message is that sometimes it is helpful for ladies to impersonate males to achieve freedom; therefore assuming a camouflage is necessary.

The theme of deception is also evident instantly in the play. An allegedly ‘worthy’ Duke Orsino is suffering due to his unrequited ‘love’ for the Girl Olivia.

” If music be the food of love, use,

Offer me excess of it, that, surfeiting,

The hunger might sicken, therefore pass away.”

There is a touch of unreality and deception here about Orsino’s distress, as if he automatically delighting in the scenario he is in and so the audience is delegated deduce whether Orsino is in self-deception.

Shakespeare hints here that Orsino’s love for Olivia is a hyperbolic, abstract love and one of self-indulgence as it is ‘high-fantastical’ and so he encourages the audience to look more totally and analyze Orsino’s ‘spirit of love’ as one of self-delusion.

Orsino constantly restates how immense his ‘love’ is for Olivia, however it is quickly viewed as empty rhetoric. He is fixated with the concept of love, and himself as the great, modern lover rather like Romeo from Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’. Deception contributes here because it is clear Orsino’s conception of himself is lost and so he is self-deceiving and likewise this highlights his egotistical nature.

Shakespeare likewise utilizes iambic pentameter here and this specifies Orsino’s character to a particular degree. Iambic pentameter shows control and yet the focus here is on the instability and the intensity of his love for Olivia. This leads us to believe he is ‘in love with the idea of being in love’.

This oration by Orsino likewise informs us something about his character and mood: he remains in love, but this does not bring him joy, rather an extensive melancholy.

His speech then turns to images of illness and death and it is exceedingly apparent here that Orsino is misleading himself.

‘Excess … surfeiting … sicken … die … dying’

Orsino, here, has actually dramatised his enthusiasm and love for Olivia a lot that he believes he will pass away if she does not enjoy him. It is clear he is deceiving himself and his situation can be interpreted as him being preoccupied with the feeling of love itself, feeding his feelings with music and elaborate poetic images. Shakespeare conveys Orsino’s ‘love-thoughts’ feelings for Olivia as passive, self-regarding and melancholic and Orsino as unrepresentative of his genuine sensations.

Shakespeare welcomes the audience to translate Orsino’s ‘love-thoughts’, which ‘pursue’ him as artificial ones since of the method Orsino is portrayed.

“Be not amaz ‘d; ideal noble is his blood.

If this be so, as yet the glass appears real,

I shall have share in this most happy wreck.”

Orsino here demonstrates a fast detachment from Olivia and rather switches his attentions to Viola. This extremely quick change of ‘love’ from Olivia to Viola verifies his superficiality and self-deceit.

The theme of disguise and deception is once again present in the next scene where Olivia remains in passionate grieving for her bro who ‘quickly died’. However, it is also clear that Olivia herself remains in self-deceit. Her way of grieving includes her hiding behind a veil or disguising herself from the truth and refusing male business which is highlighted when she says like a ‘cloistress’ she will ‘veiled walk’ around with ‘eye-offending salt water’. The grieving over her brother’s death is very dramatic, however she simply lives the concept of mourning as she feels that this would do the death of her bro justice. She tries to camouflage all this under a veil, but to no accomplishment as her real character shone through.

Olivia as part of her grieving pledged that no male would see her face “till seven years’ heat”. However despite this, falls in love with Cesario which reveals that her resolution is brief and the audience is left to question her genuineness.

“Unless, perchance, you pertain to me again

To tell me how he takes it”.

Olivia is camouflaging her flirtatiousness towards Cesario by pretending that she just wants him to come back to bear news of Orsino’s reaction to her rejection. To further disguise her sensations, and deceive Malvolio, she tells an outright lie to him, pretending Cesario left a ‘ring behind him’.

“She returns this ring to you, sir; you may have conserved

Me my pains, to have taken it away yourself.”

Olivia uses deceptiveness to further her cause with Cesario and it is made intrinsic to him that she has fallen for his external, disguised look. Also deceptiveness features here as, ironically, Olivia’s advance is just as deceitful as Viola’s simple presence.

It is clear to the audience that Olivia is misguiding herself that she will be in deep grieving for her bro for ‘seven years’. Her first look, which ends with her succumbing to the disguised Viola, reveals the shallowness of her real feelings of distress. When Olivia, who is taken in by Cesario’s ‘youth’s perfections’, falls for Cesario she instantly forgets mourning.

Olivia’s elaborate, grief-stricken gestures towards her dead sibling are examples of dramatised and excessively exaggerated screens of emotion. Her grief might well be authentic however her elegant vow to grieve him for ‘seven years’, spraying her chamber with tears and using a veil are rather merely empty gestures.

On closer examination one can likewise presume that Olivia is perhaps using her bros death to hide her aspirations for Cesario to remain near to her.

“I bade you never ever speak once again of him;

But, would you undertake another suit,

I had rather hear you than solicit that

Than music from the spheres.”

It is made specific to Cesario that she wishes to be courted by him, which is funny to the audience as they learn about Cesario’s masquerade, and this is another example of the way Cesario tricks through camouflage.

Olivia has simply lost her household, however her screen of sadness is very theatrical and self-deluding and appears to be full of barren gestures which say nothing about her real grief however merely camouflage her real feelings and serve to self-deceive.

Another character that is guilty of self-deception is Olivia’s servant Malvolio. A scene, which prepares us for significant paradox, is when Maria composes the letter to Malvolio, under the pretence that it is from Olivia. As the audience is aware of this deception it establishes the remarkable irony, because Malvolio himself is not aware of it when he discovers and checks out the letter.

Malvolio in his arrogant function presents the possibilities of a very dull and crucial existence, however when drugged with the mere possibilities of conceit, thinking himself exceptional to others, he ends up being the most ridiculous of all the characters and he exposes to us his camouflaged feelings.

“Go, hang yourselves all! You are idle shallow things;

I am not of your element; you shall understand more hereafter.”

Malvolio has severe ambitions and aspirations to advance in social class by marrying Olivia which the audience can clearly interpret as self-delusional.

Maria’s letter is only able to convince him that Olivia likes him because that is what he wishes to think. When the letter informs him to act proud and haughty, it only offers him approval to show how he currently feels, as it interest his vanity.

This technique would not have worked if the letter had actually not been camouflaged as Olivia’s, nevertheless, it is also essential to consist of that Malvolio’s camouflaged feelings and self-deception persuade him of its credibility. It is his capacity for self-deception and it is really Malvolio’s ‘self-love’ that makes him simple to trick.

Malvolio is likewise in camouflage in the class system. He gowns in black and never ever laughs.

“My masters, are you mad? Or what are you? Have

you no wit, good manners or sincerity,”

This however, is simply a disguise that he presumes, that permits him to criticize others. Under this camouflage Malvolio has plenty of self-importance he is likewise narcissistic and exceptionally vain. He conceals his ‘puritan’ character throughout this ‘gulling’ episode and places on ‘yellow stockings’ and behaves uncharacteristically boldly. When he is on his own he reveals he often musings of ruling a thrifty and solemn household while he plays with ‘some rich jewel’, and that Olivia will marry him and as a result he will become ‘Count Malvolio’ her equivalent. This reveals his embedded self-deception. It is also paradoxical that Malvolio is more successful at deceiving himself than he is at deceiving others.

Malvolio makes sure that some accident of luck has actually caused a guy as fine as him to be born a servant rather than a master and that fortune will eventually fix that error.

“all that look on him love him.”

This reveals his big-headed nature and the truth that he is self-deceiving. Self-love appears in lots of characters of the play, however, Malvolio’s self-love combined with his instinct for social climbing up makes it more meddlesome. To conclude, Malvolio is self-deceived before he is tricked. Shakespeare makes this clear by displaying Malvolio’s vain magnificence prior to he finds the created letter: ‘To be Count Malvolio!’.

The physical disguise in ‘Twelfth Night’ brings to light those who have mental illusions as to who they are. Malvolio for instance considers himself to be respected and is the very first person to call other characters a ‘fool’ when in fact the audience think about him as a fool.

Deceptiveness and disguise also play a significant function in the characters of Maria, Sir Toby and Sir Andrew. Sir Toby often encourages Andrew to give him money or buy him beverages in return for permitting him access to Olivia, in order to court/woo her.

“Send for money, knight; if thou hast her not i’ th’ end, call me Cut.”

Andrew does not realise that Sir Toby is fooling him and using him to spend for his entertainment therefore deception plays a part here since Sir Toby is intentionally tricking and deluding Sir Andrew to exploit him.

It can likewise be argued that Sir Andrew is self-deceiving since he actually thinks that the rouge Sir Toby is his authentic good friend, nevertheless, it is clear to the audience that his friendship with Sir Toby is feigned.

Nevertheless, it is likewise clear that if Sir Toby did not motivate and trigger him, he would never have actually striven.

‘No faith, I’ll not remain a jot longer.’

This is important since it reveals that although Sir Andrew is tricked, and absurd, he is not self-deceived. This likewise proves that although he is foolish enough to imagine Olivia’s hand, he is rarely enthusiastic which reveals that, unlike Malvolio, he has a greater sense of truth and does not misguide himself or camouflage that he knows Olivia does not enjoy him.

Another type of camouflage, Shakespeare’s usage of masks in the play, likewise contributes much to the disguise and deception in the play. These masks put characters in a form of ‘darkness of night,’ enabling them to become someone else.

Shakespeare utilizes masking imagery throughout the play. The ideal example of this can be seen in Feste the jester. Feste shows masking imagery when he disguises himself as ‘Sir Topas’ and is sent to judge Malvolio’s frame of mind.

“Sir Topas, never was man therefore wronged. Excellent Sir

Topas, do not think I am mad: they have laid me

Here in ugly darkness.”

By adopting this camouflage, Feste has the ability to expose Malvolio’s self-conceit and other faults and for that reason he effectively reveals Malvolio’s concealed sensations by camouflaging himself. Likewise Feste, in the guise of the Fool, comes out with wise and intellectual comments contrary to his function.

Although characters wear masks, their true identities are always revealed. I translate this as Shakespeare alluding to the reality that all disguises can be exposed. This statement is strengthened when Feste says:

‘Eyes show the days’.

Feste has the ability to penetrate all the masks of the others, and he is successful in hiding his own that makes him a master and expert of disguise. Feste is an ‘permitted fool’ an expert jester who needs to be quick witted and creative to make jokes and puns. He is not anticipated to be idiotic or arrested.

Viola, in her camouflage as Cesario, is able to speak to her enthusiast in a manner that she could not do as a female; she benefits from this scenario and schools Orsino on the truths of love.

“She never informed her love, … Eaten her damask cheek.”

Here Viola counters Orsino’s narcissism with her own sad story of hidden love. Shakespeare emphasizes Orsino’s overstated, extreme concept of love, by revealing together with it the real love felt by Viola and for that reason Orsino’s speech is undermined, as what he said is ironic. So, although Viola is disguising her feelings for Orsino, she does not deceive him and unreservedly hints that she has suppressed feelings for him.

Sebastian’s relationship with Antonio is among disguise due to the fact that Antonio implicitly reveals his ‘love’ for Sebastian however tricks him and possibly self-deceives as being just friendship, as one can conjecture that he is gay.

“If you will not murder me for your love, let me be your servant”.

This suggests that Antonio has repressed homosexual sensations for Sebastian that he disguises by pretending to only be his friend.

The play abounds in references to these various types of camouflage, to the space between what appears to be true and what actually is. Viola calls disguise a ‘wickedness/Wherein the pregnant enemy does much’ when she realises that Olivia has actually fallen for her persona as Cesario.

In the play’s moral scheme disguise or self-deception develops disappointment and confusion. Antonio, for instance, regrets the ‘commitment’, which Sebastian’s handsome features had inspired in him.

Word- play is also a kind of camouflage and the numerous puns in the play show this theme on a linguistic level.

The remarkable convention of disguise produces ambiguities of significance and emotion throughout the play. So, to conclude, I would argue that in ‘Twelfth Night’ every character conceals and tricks, nevertheless, without doubt Viola’s concealment of her physical shape as a female, and emotions for Orsino is vital to the plot and produces the funny and confusion.

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