The role and character of Viola in the play, "Twelfth Night" by William Shakespeare

Essay by Tanya101High School, 10th gradeA+, April 2004

download word file, 2 pages 5.0

Every film, concert and play needs characters to act out the themes and ideas of the scriptwriter, such as in the play "Twelfth Night", written by William Shakespeare. There are many characters in the play "Twelfth Night" including Olivia, the Duke, Sebastian and Viola. Each character has his or her own personality traits, distinguishing qualities and purpose in the play. Viola, who is the main character, represents the two themes of love and disguise or mistaken identity in "Twelfth Night".

Viola is a princess, who is shipwrecked on the island of Illyria and fears that she has lost her brother to the sea. Viola has many qualities, her brother, Sebastian, describes her as clever and talented, when he says, "She bore a mind that envy could not but call fair" Line twenty-one Scene One Act two. One will also notice that Viola is resourceful and courageous in Line fifty-four Scene two Act one, when she says "for such disguise as haply shall become", this is the point in the play when Viola decides to disguise herself as a young man.

Viola introduces the theme of disguise and mistaken identity by disguising herself as a young man, named Cesario.

Viola, as Cesario, plays the role of a servant, messenger and friend to the Duke of Illyria. The Duke says to Viola, "I have unclasped to thee/my secret soul" Line eleven to twelve Scene four Act one, expressing that he already trusts her and considers her a friend. Viola's pretence is the source of much dramatic irony, which, in turn, creates much humour in the play.

Viola, disguised as Cesario, is assigned to the task of courting Olivia on behalf of the Duke, as one notices when Viola says, "I'll do my...