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 THE CHANGING ROLE IN VIOLA/CESARIO INThe Twelfth Night
    In Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night", it is clearly evident 
that the fluctuation in attitude to the dual role and 
situation and tribulations imposed upon the character of 
Viola/Cesario ends up in a better understanding of both 
sexes, and thus, allows Viola to have a better understanding 
for Orsino.  Near the opening of the play, when Viola is 
adopting her male identity, she creates another self, like 
two masks and may decide to wear one or the other while 
swinging between the two identities in emotion and in 
character.  She decides to take on this identity because she 
has more freedom in society in her Cesario mask, which is 
evident when  she is readily accepted by Orsino, whereas, in 
her female identity she would not be.  Thus, a customary 
role in society and to the outlooks of others is portrayed.

    Orsino sees Cesario, as a young squire just starting out 
in the world, much like himself as a young, spry lad, so he 
has a tendency to be more willing to unload onto her with 
his troubles and sorrows, seeking a companion with which to 
share and to teach.  Thus, Viola grows in her male disguise 
to get a better feeling for his inner self, not the self 
that he shows to the public, or would reveal and share with 
Viola in her true female self, but rather his secret self, 
as he believes he shares with a peer.  So, she grows to love 
him.  But, Orsino's motivation is actually not love for 
Viola, but rather he seems to be in love with love itself.  
His entire world is filled with love but he knows that there 
might be a turning point for him, like when he says:
    

    If music be the food of love, play on; give me
    excess of it, that, surfeiting, the appetite may
    sicken, and so die.  1.  (I,I,I-III)
    

This quote shows that he knows that he is so caught up in 
"love", that he hopes his appetite for love may simmer when 
he takes more than he can handle.  






1.  Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night. Longman's Canada 
Limited, Don Mills, Ontario, 1961.  All subsequent quotes 
are from this edition. 





    Near the end of the play, when all tricks and 
treacheries are revealed and all masks are lifted, Orsino 
"falls" in love with Viola.  He first forgives her/him of 
her/his duty to him, the master; then says that she shall 
now be her master's mistress: 
   

    Your master quits you; and for your service
    done him, so much against the mettle of your
    sex, so far beneath your soft and tender
    breeding, and since you call'd me master for
    so long, here is my hand.  You shall from
    this time be your master's mistress.  (V,I,322-327)


  This is sort of a switching love as he thought he was in 
love with Olivia in the beginning, but, he readily switches 
his love to Viola, as he feels he knows her personality 
well.


    As for Viola, she declares her love for Orsino many 
times, as if by saying that she would love him if she were a 
lady.  When Orsino first sends Cesario to act as a messenger 
and send Orsino's love to Olivia, Cesario proclaims:


    I'll do my best to woo your lady; [aside] 
    yet, a barful strife!  Whoe'er I woo,
    myself would be his wife.  (I,IV, 40-42)


This shows that Viola knows what a difficult situation that 
she is in, and that she might try to woo her out of loving 
Orsino, so that she might have him for herself; except there 
is a slight, unexpected twist of fate...  
 
    After Cesario leaves from Olivia's, she declares:


    "What is your parentage?"  "Above my fortunes,   
    yet my state is well; I am a gentleman."  I'll
    be sworn thou art.  Thy tongue, thy face, thy 
    limbs, and spirit, do give thee five-fold blazon.
    Not too fast: soft, soft!  Unless the master were
    the man.  How now!  Even so quickly may one catch
    the plague?  Methinks I feel this youth's per-
    fections with an invisible and subtle stealth to
    creep in at mine eyes.  Well, let it be.  What 
    ho, Malvolio!  (I,V, 289-298)





Olivia, is thinking back to her question to Cesario, and his 
response to it.  Then she replies to Cesario's response, to 
herself, thinking about him.  She agrees with his response, 
then goes over his many delightful features, and wonders how 
she so quickly has caught the plague of love for young 
Cesario.  She decides that it is her feeling towards his 
youthful perfections that creep into her heart and to her 
eyes.  Then she agrees with her decision, and sends for 
Malvolio, in hope that he may recall Cesario, so that she 
may talk with him again.  Olivia feels a strong passionate 
love for Cesario, even though it was love at first sight for 
her.  Cesario presented (himself) very magnificently and 
left a lasting impression in Olivia's mind.  

    The next time that Cesario came by, Olivia declared:


    Cesario, by the roses of the spring, by maid-
    hood, honour, truth and everything, I love 
    thee so, that, maugre all thy pride, nor wit
    nor reason can my passion hide.  (III,I,145-148)


This verifies that Olivia is profoundly in love with 
Cesario, despite all his pride.  But, Cesario does not 
possess the same sentiments for Olivia as he says:

    By innocence I swear, and by my youth, I have 
    one heart, one bosom and one truth, And that
    no woman has; nor never none shall mistress 
    be of it, save I alone.  And so adieu, good 
    madam.  (III,I,153-157)


Here, Viola tells Olivia that she could never love her, nor 
any other woman because she only has one love (to Orsino) 
and is loyal.  But, Olivia is still in love, and requests 
that Cesario return.

    Overall, Viola learns that in the role of Cesario she 
had to be quick on her feet, and defend the probing 
questions and statements as to her love and others love for 
her.  As well she acquired the skill to bide her time, until 
the time was right, lest she reveal her true self or 
intentions.

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