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Disguise in Twelfth Night

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Yeliz Emrem

on 21 March 2015

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Transcript of Disguise in Twelfth Night

For Feste, the disguise completes his assumption of a new identity in order to be Sir Topas, he must look like Sir Topas. Viola puts on new clothes and changes her gender, while Feste puts on new clothes to personalize a nobleman.Also, as Sir Topas, Feste attepts to help Malvolio realize that there was ‘’no darkness but ignorance.’’
Disguise can be defined as a costume that hides your identity and changes physical appearance but not the being inner. Many characters in Twelfth Night assume disguises. Shakespeare uses these disguises is to add a twist to the play and make it a little more interesting. He uses disguises to cause confusion and internal conflict between the characters, especially with Olivia and Cesario. Disguise is also used to bring humour to the plot of play.
Beginning with Viola, who is miserable and alone, she takes an unusual step to protect herself: she puts on her lost brother’s clothes and sets off into Illyria disguised as a boy. She does this for various reasons such as being unrecognizable and obtaining a job.Her aim is to search the country of Illyria for her brother, Sebastian, who was lost at sea during a storm. In order to fulfill the goal of finding her brother and to get power as men. She must disguise herself as a man, later known as Cesario.
The another character in the play Feste, the clown disguises himself as a religious figure and pretends he is a clergyman named Sir Topas, who has come to visit Malvolio(who is now locked up like a prisoner in a dark room in Olivia’s house). Feste uses his ‘’Sir Topas’’ voice and advises Malvolio to get some sleep, then he pretends to have a conversation with Sir Topas about Malvolio’s condition. Feste seems to do disguise for a number of reasons. One of them is that because his function as a fool, he delights in twisting meanings and words. He does this throughout the play with everybody he meets. Secondly, Feste insists that Malvolio is mad and confuses him further deliberately to punish him more and to get his own personal revenge.
Dressing as a man would ensure her safety, especially against sexual dangers, and, the disguise would preserve her virtue. She is new in Illyria, and being new and female at the same time would pose a problem for a female. A man, however, would be safer because of his gender, and Viola needs this safety as well as sexual acceptance so that her goal can be properly fulfilled. Of course, it is notable that Viola's decision to dress as a male adds to the comedy of the play.

Viola in man’s attire as Cesario, so she can become a page and later a close confidant of Orsino, Duke of IIIyria. This situation creates a sexual mess ( confusion) Viola finds herself falling in love with Orsino but cannot tell him which is a diffucult love to pursue because Orsino believes her to be a man. The majority of Viola’s duties for Orsino involve attempting to woo Olivia for him, but Olivia wants nothing to do with Orsino and she falls in love with Cesario. At the mid-point of the play , Sebastian arrives in Illyria and there is much confusion between him and the other characters because they mistake him for Cesario/Viola. At the end of the play, both Sebastian and Viola appear together and Viola reveals her true, female identity. After Viola’ revelation Orsino pledges his love for Viola and Olivia is the same to Sebastian.
Disguise in Twelfth Night

Critics have argued that the identity and gender trouble produced by Viola's disguise is largely undermined by her ultimately heterosexual aim; after all, the object of her desire is Orsino. Butler herself warns that heterosexuality can increase its hegemony through the denaturalization of cross-dressing. On the other hand, according to Jean Howard not only Viola does not use her disguise to gain power, but only to secure her position as a dutiful wife. She never actually challenges patriarchy.Even if Viola does not actively challenge patriarchy in her erotic aim, she nevertheless questions its validity in her disguised wooing of her master in act 2, scene 4. in discussing earlier scenes
Viola/Cesario is not only a female successfully playing a male, but her success is confirmed with her twin brother. The twins represent the concept of androgyny in between themselves, as soon as Sebastian isback and will balance her femininity with his masculinity, Viola can become fully feminine again. Because her masculine attire throughout the play confirms rather than undermines her femininity, she can stay in it at the end of the play.
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