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Deception in Twelfth Night

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Sara Straube

on 6 January 2015

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Transcript of Deception in Twelfth Night

Deception in Twelfth Night
Self-deception (continued)
another example is Olivia
in the beginning of the play when she is grieving she insists that she will never marry again
only to fall in love with Cesario immediately and marry him (actually Sebastian) not long after initially meeting him
Clear-sighted Deception
Characters who deceive through appearance
Feste is another example of deception through appearance to manipulate others
He's the clown, the "fool," when he's really the wisest character of the play
he picks up on emotions, small details, etc., that other characters do not
he was the only one who suspected that Viola wasn't telling the whole truth about herself
Her Motivation
Examples of Deception
Self-deception in Twelfth Night
seen in Malvolio
he falls in love with Olivia so quickly because in the letter, Maria appealed to his desire of moving up in society - he knew that marrying upper class Olivia would make this dream come true
he had possibly already imagined himself getting married to Olivia and moving up in society before, which is why he so readily accepts Olivia's "love" when he receives the letter
deceiving himself, he loves Olivia's social status
this is why he was so willing to cross-garter and wear yellow stockings, never stop smiling, etc.
His Motivation
"Better a witty fool than a foolish wit." -Feste
better to be funny and dumb rather than smart and boring
perhaps Feste believed in this and even though he was smart, preferred to cover it up and act foolish instead, deceiving everyone
Viola dresses as a boy (Cesario) for most of the play; deceives everyone, particularly Olivia and Orsino
Olivia falls in love with Viola's disguise and Viola hides her love for Orsino
Sir Toby makes Sir Andrew believe that he has a chance with Olivia
Maria's letter to Malvolio that he thought was from Olivia
Feste pretends to be a priest when talking to Malvolio
purposely dresses as a boy to help Orsino and protect herself
she knows that as a woman, she knows what a woman wants and can help Orsino win over Olivia
even though Viola is in love with Orsino, she cares about him so much that she wants him to be happy and is deceiving him, ultimately, for his own happiness
Sir Toby is also clear-sighted about his motives/deception
deceives others just for the purpose of deceiving them and playing with their emotions
he makes Sir Andrew believe that he has a chance with Olivia when he knows that he doesn't
he also sent the letter to Malvolio just to get revenge because Malvolio told him to be quiet
Sir Toby
most obvious example: Viola
she disguises herself as a eunuch to conceal her true identity
being a girl and knowing what girls want to hear, she tries to get Olivia to fall in love with Orsino
to protect herself after the shipwreck, knowing she could not prove she was who she said she was
thus she knew it was safer to be a boy than a girl
also to help Duke Orsino; even though she loves him she cares about his happiness and wants to help him marry his love
Deception is a very important theme in William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night." Every single character is affected by deception in some way or another, whether they are deceiving or being deceived.
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