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The Use Of Deception In Twelfth Night

697 words - 3 pages

Noelia Brea Santos

The Use of Deception in Twelfth Night

Deception is a key theme William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. The characters must use deception to obtain good things, escape bad situations, or play cruel hilarious ticks on other people. One example of deception is when Viola clothes herself in men's clothing in order to obtain a job under the Duke of Illyria, Orsino. During another scene Sir Andrew, Fabian, Maria, and Sir Toby Belch trick Malvolio into making a fool of him. A third example of deception is when Feste the jester disguises himself as Sir Topas and taunts Malvolio. Each of these scenes and characters helps depict the different uses of deception.
The first example of deception is Viola's decision to dress as a man. She must do this in order to survive. Viola is a young woman who escaped a shipwreck along with her twin brother, Sebastian. Unfortunately, the twins where separated during the shipwreck and they believe ...view middle of the document...

Despite the fact that Sebastian has never met Olivia before, he accepts. After the Duke discovers Viola's gender, he falls in love with her and they wed.
A second example of deception is the cruel trick that Sir Andrew, Fabian, Maria, and Sir Toby Belch play on Malvolio. Maria, Olivia's "lady-in-waiting", writes a note in her mistress's handwriting saying that Olivia falls for men who wear high yellow stockings and smile all the time. Sir Toby says: "He shall think by the letters that thou wilt drop that they come from my niece, and that she's in love with him." (Act 2, Scene 3).
The conspirators then place the note in Maria's garden, a place where Malvolio surely will find it. They do this to Malvolio because he had ruined their fun the night before. Malvolio finds the letter and reads it, thinking that it is addressed to him: Jove, I thank thee! I will smile. I will do everything that / thou wilt have me" (Act 2, Scene 5). Later, Malvolio confronts Olivia and she thinks he is insane. Malvolio gets put in a cage and becomes isolated for his behaviour.
Far a third and final example of deception, Feste disguises himself as Sir Topas to annoy Malvolio. Maria asks Feste to dress up in a gown and hat and put on a long beard, to disguise himself as Sir Topas. She asks him to do this because she wants to see Malvolio further tormented. Feste, while disguised, asks Malvolio what he thinks of Pythagoras. When Malvolio responds, from his prison, that he disagrees with the beliefs of Pythagoras, Feste says that he will remain caged forever. Malvolio then desperately begs Feste to free him and tries to convince him that he is sane. Malvolio says: "I say there was never man thus abus’d, I am no more mad than you are." (Act 4, Scene 2). Feste has pity for the mistreated servant and sets him free.
Deception pervades William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. One example involves Viola dressing up as a man. A second example involves the conspiracy of Maria, Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and Fabian to make a fool of Olivia's servant Malvolio. The third example involves tormenting Malvolio purely for enjoyment. Deception is used in the play to work into good situations, avoid difficult situations, and to play abusive yet humorous jokes on other characters in the play.

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