Use of Disguise in Twelfth Night Essays
Women's parts were played by boy actors in Shakespeare's day, so the audience would have found special sophistication in Viola's part: a boy dressing up as a woman who, in the play disguises herself as a man.
The first example of disguise in the Twelve Night is viola's disguise as Cesario. It is in fact central to the plot. I …show more content…
Also, perhaps Viola is in disguise herself. She can see through other people's disguises or flaws, that not even they are able to spot. Some characters are deceived about their true nature. An example of this is that Orsino sees himself becoming "one self same king" of Olivia's "sweet perfections", fulfilling her sexual desire, thought and feeling ("liver, brain and heart"). He naively believes that he is in love with Olivia when he has never really spoken with her!
Another example is Olivia adopting the pretence of mourning and the puritanical Malvolio is tricked into the role of Olivia's suitor and becomes a smiling courtier.
There are many examples of disguise and Viola / Cesarios disguise alone enables her to work for Orsino as a messenger, it causes Olivia to fall in love with her and it causes both of them to disguise their feelings from each other. From "I prithee tell me what thou think'st of me" to "Would it be better, madam, than I am?" Viola and Olivia spin in a web of doubt about disguised identity and emotions.
The disguise also prevents Viola from expressing her love for Orsino, it contributes to the dramatic ironies and it causes complications of mistaken identity. As Viola cannot show her