Have you ever worn a mask before? Maybe the mask wasn't a costume mask, but it was a mask to make you seem happy, or seem cool, or anything that made you feel like something than you are not normally. Chances are you have. Trying to fit in with the crowd, a mask is used to obtain the things we cannot reach on our own. Masks are especially common today because of the pressures to belong to the "in" group, or the pressures to succeed. Books, using masks, commonly show the many connotations of masks. They are used to find out what people are for real, on the inside of the mask. The imagery of masks is used throughout the book of Twelfth Night. Shakespeare uses the imagery of masks to reveal characters true emotions and to express the power of raw beauty. Shakespeare uses this imagery through all of his characters in the play, but especially the two characters of Viola and Feste.
The perfect example of the use of the masking imagery can be seen through Feste. Acting as a wiseman and not the fool, Feste shows the development of masks. Feste tries to "conceal [him] for what [he] is"(1.2) because he knows that if the people knew that he was a wiseman, than he would not be called upon to sing his songs, symbols of what is right. Also, the people would not come to him for the advice he gives them in his songs and speeches. This is a strong example of masking imagery because it shows of what the character might be like without his mask, and what he might be treated as if he wasn't the fool. In the play, full of masking imagery, Feste shows his many personalities. He shows the "devil man"(4.2) in himself when talking to Malvolio. This is shown as a mask to the audience because it shows that not only is Feste a wiseman and a fool, but he is also a mean and tricky person. This shows that the masks of Feste are shown in many different cases, causing them to be very well developed. Feste's masks tend to show what everyone wants at that time. Feste acts as "an ass"(5.1) for his friends. Pleasing the people, the masks show that Feste can be more liked and more used for all purposes. But the identity of Feste can always be revealed through eyes. "Eyes show [the] days"(2.3) is what Feste says. This shows the imagery of masks very well because it shows that masks can always be taken off, as easily as they are put on. By showing this, Shakespeare is allowing us to see how well developed his imagery of masking really is. Using Viola, Shakespeare shows us the development of the masking imagery.
Viola also has a mask that she dares not to reveal to anyone else, that is very well developed throughout the entire play. This helps the imagery of masks because if she were to reveal herself at any time before the end of the book, than the whole play would have been destroyed. Pulling the book together, the imagery of masks has to be very well developed in Viola. "Conceal me for what I am"(1.2) tends to be the development of imagery in Viola's case. The mask turns from a use of getting a job, to helping Orinso fall in love, to helping Orsino realize what love is. She uses "a division of [herself]"(5.1) to help this imagery develop the masks. The mask, growing on Viola, continues to show its importance. Viola shows good use of this mask because she develops it in a way that Shakespeare would have wanted a reader to see it developed. A reader would have wanted a good development of this mask because it helps to add dilemma in the plot. Viola "conformsÃ¢ÂÂ¦ to which"(5.1) you want her, which also shows a good development of the masking because the reader is able to understand her on many different views and levels of knowledge. The masking is also shown to be very good in development because of how she is able to be "both maid...and man."(5.1). This shows that she is able to carry on both functions of a person of both genders, and be equally judged form both. The masks are used for trickery, and that was how she was able to develop the mask into a use for trickery. Thinking that Viola is a man, the masks are so strong and well developed, that even Seabastion was confused on Olivia's true identity. She makes the brother think he doesn't "know you by voice or any other feature."(3.4) This shows that she is able to fool even the closest of kin thorough the mask, and shows how well she was able to develop and conform the mask to the pleasing of the crowd.
The imagery of masks has been proven to be very well developed. Feste and Viola, developing the imagery, help to make the masking connotations more powerful. The masks are shown to be well developed and have definite meaning to the reader. The people use the masks to conform to the needs of the crowd, and that is what Feste and Viola do in the book. In life, it is the same way. We have to conform ourselves to the wants of our peers and everyone else alike. By doing this, we are masking our true selves and our identities from the public. Although masks are created to prevent the real you from coming out, in the book, everyone eventually came out. And look what happened, a wonderful peace was found and everyone realized what had been the problem the whole time. We must take our masks off, and maybe the people will like you and me better, for who we truly are. You never know, someone might just see you and think, hey, I really like that guy.