Twelfth night, or what you will is a comedy by william shakespeare, believed to have been written around 1601-1602 as a twelfth night's entertainment for the close of the christmas season the play centres on the twins viola and sebastian , who are separated in a shipwreck. In twelfth night, writes dr will tosh, gender is what you make of it if william shakespeare ever browsed the textbooks in a medical library, he would have been confronted with a variety of opinions about the apparent differences between the sexes. The themes of gender roles and relations between the genders have been popular topics throughout history william shakespeare explored these themes in many of his plays, including twelfth night, and these themes are still very much part of today's culture. Transcript of gender identity in twelfth night in her soliloquy, viola addresses the disadvantages of her disguise as cesario she acknowledges that olivia loves her, though she might as well love something that does not exist in reality since viola is not who she says she is.
Twelfth night is a gender-swapping, madman-creating romp through the land of illyria shipwrecked viola lands at the shores of this strange land thinking the wreck had killed her identical twin brother. The sexual relationships and gender roles in twelfth night are multi-layered for example, viola, a female character, who was played by a male, is dressed as the male character, cesario, throughout most of the play. Twelfth night and gender roles essayssociety habitually deals with that which makes it feel uncomfortable by pushing it away from provocative images in art to questionable ideas in everyday discourse, social trends often tend towards discouraging intellectual discourse because of the perceived prom.
Cross-dressing in twelfth night what strikes most modern audiences as unusual about twelfth night is the fact that its chief female character is dressed like a boy for most of the play. Twelfth night is an excellent play in which to explore issues such as transvestism, gender and the importance of clothing the female protagonist of this comedy, viola - who can sing both high and low (ii, iii, 35) -, is one of the most fascinating shakespearean characters. Twelfth night is an ambiguous and fragile affirmation of the values that the different characters endorse raising ironic questions about difficulties of how some issues are resolved the main aim of this paper is to outline how fate plays out in twelfth night and its role in the play.
One level of identity confusion in twelfth night is gender identity viola embodies this confusion when she assumes the identity of a boy, cesario viola embodies this confusion when she assumes the identity of a boy, cesario. Love plays a major role in twelfth night, and shakespeare addresses true love, self-love and friendship in a very compelling and interesting way twelfth night is the true definition of love, and i feel that shakespeare does a great job of explaining a somewhat difficult topic. Twelfth night lauded by critics and audiences alike as shakespeare's highest achievement in the comic genre, twelfth night (c 1600-01) is an intricate inquiry into the nature of love, gender. One very interesting aspect of twelfth night is the fact that it has a character that bends traditional gender roles in today's world, the roles of the sexes are constantly being questioned while it may still be taboo, it is not uncommon for people to closely examine the line dividing male and female in order to better understand where they. Viola in the twelfth night, however, is exempt from any of the things that both the duke she serves and the lady that loves her as cesario would do, because she has accepted the station of a page (dorwick 78) this allows her to return to her womanly station when she is alone, and therefore be true to her sex, as would have been the expected.
Viola in twelfth night, like julia in the earlier two gentlemen of verona, never reappears in her women's weeds, remaining in a state of gender ambiguity through the end of the play allison glenzer as olivia and jessika williams as viola in twelfth night. In a chapter in his book impersonations: the performance of gender in shakespeare's england (1996), stephen orgel stresses the complications of the fact that viola's part would have originally been played by a male actor he also examines why viola opts to disguise herself as a 'eunuch', or castrated male, rather than as a young or immature man. the fluidity and ambiguity with which viola presents gender is central to the drama of twelfth night but to what extent are viola's gender roles essential to the comedy of the play the arrivals of viola and sebastian in illyria serve as the catalysts for drama in twelfth night. Regarding viola, new critic lg salingar, in, the design of twelfth night, agrees that disguise helps create a barrier from dangers, especially the sexual advances of men (16.
In 'twelfth night' olivia is first called uncivil ('twelfth night' 51110) by orsino and then mocked for her mistake in falling in love with viola viola on the other hand appears to be gaining her hearts desires, yet orsino's referral to himself as her master ( 'twelfth night' 51323) in marriage seems ominous. Twelfth night is a romantic comedy, and romantic love is the play's main focus despite the fact that the play offers a happy ending, in which the various lovers find one another and achieve wedded bliss, shakespeare shows that love can cause pain. Directors' note in william shakespeare's twelfth night, much of the humor and drama springs from the inversion of gender roles and the greater disruption of the social order. Hunt applies this to the main characters of twelfth night and examines the true nature of orsino, viola, olivia, and malvolio viola's gender role reversal and the effect of such a disguise on the romantic relationship between her and orsino is a key discussion.
Twelfth night thus far is such a great play and i am very excited to see how the lie about cesario, the love triangle with olivia, viola/cesario, and orsino falls into place, and to see if there is more instances of woman's role reversal. As in most comedies, william shakespeare's twelfth night extensively uses disguises, masks and mistaken identities to add to the comical nature of the play viola's disguise as orsino's page, cesario, becomes crucial to the action in the play. Role in the play viola's actions produce all of the play's momentum she is a young woman of messaline in the beginning viola is found shipwrecked on the shores of illyria and separated from her twin brother, not knowing whether he is alive or dead, the sea captain that tells her that this place is ruled by the duke orsino, who is in love with the countess olivia. As rw maslen says in his essay, twelfth night, gender, and comedy (which can be read on page 203 of bloom's shakespeare through the ages: twelfth night): shakespeare's twelfth night dedicates itself to discovering the sheer strangeness of attitudes to gender and sexuality in the early modern period.
Gender is a biggie in twelfth night, and the play brilliantly demonstrates how gender, a socially constructed identity, can be performed and impersonated with the use of voice, costume, and mannerisms the theme is largely explored in relation to shakespeare's profession as an actor and writer for. But that is not to say that imogen stubbs' viola from twelfth night is totally irrelevant - gender roles are one of the main themes of the film both stubbs and bynes brilliantly demonstrate how gender is not just about physical differences, but it can be 'performed' and impersonated with the use of voice, costume, and a change in mannerisms. To conclude, the inversion of her gender roles is radiant of the 'carnival spirit' so prevalent in twelfth night we see that the play's comedy is very much enhanced by viola's cross-dressing, in as much the gender conventions her masquerade breaks as the inevitable misunderstandings.