Mistaken Identity Essay

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TWELFTH NIGHT THEMES AND IMAGERY APPEARANCE AND REALITY This theme encompasses the idea of the discrepancy between appearance and reality, and mistaken identity. Disguise plays a major role in this. The disguise which leads to the most confusion is, of course, that of Viola, when she disguises herself as a man in order to work for Duke Orsino, under the name of Cesario. Her disguise is central of the plot. It enables the audience to know more of the true situation when Olivia and Orsino are on stage (dramatic irony). It is the cause of many of the dramatic complications and confusions which make up the story. The disguise fools everyone. Orsino is taken in, although he makes reference to Cesario’s feminine features, his pleasing looks and youth. Even Olivia takes in Viola’s disguise and quickly falls in love with Cesario and wants to marry ‘him. Viola’s twin brother makes it even more complicated. Many forms of disguises feature in the play : * Emotions and intentions are disguised behind an outer appearance, a pretence or and attitude. Olivia’s vow to mourn her brother for 7 years for example is quickly broken by the sight of Cesario. * Orsino’s love for Olivia can be seen as an elaborate pretence when it gives way to murderous anger in Act V, before he rapidly transfers his affection to Viola * Feste adopts a disguise as Sir Topas to torment Malvolio in Act IV * Sir Toby disguises his real motives behind his show of friendship for Sir Andrew The dramatic conventionof disguise produces uncertainties of meaning and emotion throughout the play. In the play’s moral scheme disguise or self-deception create frustration and confusion.The actions of the play brings the true nature of Olivia, Orsino and Malvolio to the

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