Essay, Research PaperShakespeare & # 8217 ; s Twelfth Night examines forms of love and wooing through a distortion of gender functions.
In Act 3, scene 1, Olivia displays the confusion created for both characters and audience as she takes on the traditionally male function of suitor in an effort to win the cloaked Viola, or Cesario. Olivia praises Cesario & # 8217 ; s beauty and so addresses him with the belief that his & # 8220 ; scorn & # 8221 ; ( 3.1.134 ) merely reveals his concealed love. However, Olivia & # 8217 ; s misguided reading of Cesario & # 8217 ; s mode is merely the surface job presented by her address.
The world of Cesario & # 8217 ; s gender, the active function Olivia takes in prosecuting him/her, and the dichotomy of word significances in this transition endanger to turn the traditional patriarchal construct of wooing upside down, or as Olivia says turn & # 8220 ; dark to noon & # 8221 ; ( 139 ) .Possibly the biggest disturbance to the traditional construction is the possibility that Olivia may be in love with a adult female. Shakespeare allows his audience to pardon this by holding Olivia be incognizant that Cesario is really female. Yet, Olivia & # 8217 ; s attractive force seems to stem precisely from the more feminine features like Cesario & # 8217 ; s & # 8220 ; beautiful scorn & # 8221 ; and & # 8220 ; angry lip & # 8221 ; ( 136-137 ) . Olivia & # 8217 ; s words allow an audience, peculiarly a modern one, to possibly read her as suspecting or even cognizing that Cesario is female, yet taking to love him/her anyway.
Olivia & # 8217 ; s description of Cesario & # 8217 ; s beauty, both here and upon their first brush, praises typically feminine qualities, but oddly doesn & # 8217 ; t inquiry Cesario & # 8217 ; s gender. The comparing of love to guilt tempts the readers mind to inquire if Olivia is guilty about her love for such female properties. Olivia & # 8217 ; s oath on girlhood besides tempts the reader toward a sapphic reading by suggesting that Cesario would besides understand girlhood ( 141 ) .
When Olivia declares that non even & # 8220 ; wit nor ground & # 8221 ; ( 143 ) can conceal her passion, she suggests that she would love Cesario even if it were against logic, as a same sex twosome would be. Despite the unacceptableness of a same sex love affair in Shakespeare & # 8217 ; s clip, the intimations toward this reading seem seeable plenty to hold been thought of so every bit good as today. Although likely non intended to the extent of a sapphic wooing, the state of affairs of a adult female courting another adult female presents a amusing image for the audience, possibly even more so in the Elizabethan epoch with two male histrions courting each other as adult females. Shakespeare is able to present the inquiry of homosexual love by utilizing & # 8220 ; Cesario & # 8221 ; as a shield to protect both the characters within the drama and the audience from holding to cover with the inquiry straight.
Although he avoids denying the Elizabethan romantic conventions with an openly homosexual secret plan, Shakespeare does upset the norm by holding Olivia act as suer and holding the & # 8220 ; adult male & # 8221 ; act as the object of desire. This function reversal is non hidden since Olivia obviously says & # 8220 ; I woo & # 8221 ; ( 145 ) as she addresses Cesario. The manner in which she speaks to Cesario mimics the modern-day traditions absolutely. Cesario & # 8217 ; s refusal sets up the authoritative state of affairs of the beloved as an object of unachievable flawlessness for the lover to praise. Olivia & # 8217 ; s address is in rhyming pairs dividing it, along with Viola & # 8217 ; s response, from the typical clean poetry of the remainder of the drama as if they were intended to be poems standing on their ain. Olivia swears by & # 8220 ; everything & # 8221 ; ( 141 ) that her passion can non be restrained even by ground while at the same time look up toing Cesario & # 8217 ; s opposition ( 143 ) . She follows the patriarchal expression absolutely, the lone exclusion being her gender.
Olivia & # 8217 ; s absurd state of affairs of courting a cloaked adult female makes her doomed to neglect despite her ability to retroflex the right discourse.On the contrary, possibly Shakespeare & # 8217 ; s purpose is to demo that it is the really discourse which causes the failure. The folly of the scene ; a male histrion playing a adult female, courting another adult male playing a adult female, who is playing a adult male, appears to jab merriment at the full convention. By cursing on & # 8220 ; everything & # 8221 ; Olivia devalues the things that she swore upon before and all of a sudden seems instead disdainful.
The perennial usage of the word & # 8220 ; ground & # 8221 ; and the equivocal construction of the last line muddle Olivia & # 8217 ; s intending to the point where it would be hard for Cesario to take whether or to non to follow anvitamin D to what he would be following to. Read in this mode, the transition becomes a satirical passage of a traditional wooing. The gender switch serves to stress the impossibleness of love within a construction which demands that the object of desire must decline in order to stay desirable.To buffer the jeer of the traditional discourse, an extra message can be extracted from Olivia & # 8217 ; s address. The sadness of Olivia & # 8217 ; s impossible state of affairs could be seen as a lesson for taking on the incorrect function.
By go forthing her topographic point as object and going the histrion Olivia is unwittingly trailing after person she can ne’er hold. When Sebastian appears, a male reproduction of Viola, so all the jobs seem to vaporize because the proper gender functions have been restored. Yet without Sebastian, without the true male, pandemonium reigns and ground interruptions down.As if following the loss of order in the state of affairs, the word & # 8220 ; ground & # 8221 ; seems to lose power within Olivia & # 8217 ; s address. First & # 8220 ; ground & # 8221 ; ( 143 ) is non strong plenty to incorporate her passion.
Then she urges Cesario non to take his & # 8220 ; grounds from this clause & # 8221 ; ( 144 ) , presumptively bespeaking he should non establish his determinations on her revealed passion, but should alternatively & # 8220 ; ground therefore with ground hobble & # 8221 ; ( 146 ) . Cesario should & # 8220 ; hobble & # 8221 ; the logic of non returning her love with the & # 8220 ; ground & # 8221 ; , the account, she offers. By holding & # 8220 ; ground & # 8221 ; fetter itself, it becomes incapacitated. The & # 8220 ; shackling & # 8221 ; of the word & # 8220 ; ground & # 8221 ; parallels the loss of ground, of logic, within the action of the drama. It is Olivia & # 8217 ; s address, her effort to take the active & # 8220 ; male & # 8221 ; function which & # 8220 ; hobbles & # 8221 ; ground. When she upsets the convention of female passiveness, pandemonium is the consequence until Sebastian comes and saves the twenty-four hours. It is ill-defined whether Shakespeare is mocking the construction of the traditional wooing, reaffirming it with the message that when adult females step out of their proper functions that chaos consequences, or rather perchance suggesting both.Rather than deciding anything, the last line of the transition continues the ambiguity found throughout.
& # 8220 ; Love sought is good, but given undesired, is better & # 8221 ; ( 147 ) . Olivia could be stating that it is good for her to give love, but even better that she is giving it without reciprocation. This significance would co-occur with her fatigue of suers and with the criterion of unrealized worship of the dear. However, she may be inquiring the antonym, stating that she is happy to seek love, but would be even happier if it were given to her without her holding to travel after it. This would back up the reading that she is non in her proper function, and will be happier if she returns to the traditional province of passiveness.The last line besides returns to the job of Cesario/Viola as both adult male and adult female.
One could read that it is better to love a member of the same sex and non hold the love returned than to be hounded by suers. The line might be read as the reasoning lesson to a sarcastic representation of wooing ; to follow the conventions is good, but to hold love returned is much better. The opposite lesson, to follow the tradition of unreturned love, is every bit plausible. Possibly the line sends and follows both messages.
Love is sought from Viola and ne’er received, but & # 8220 ; given undesired & # 8221 ; by Sebastian who is genuinely undesired because he doesn & # 8217 ; t even exist for Olivia until the terminal of the drama. By holding Viola and Sebastian be virtually interchangeable, both fluctuations can be enacted. Interestingly, neither option is faithful to the lover/beloved philosophy. Giving love without reciprocation would follow the philosophy, but in this instance it is between two adult females. When Sebastian arrives the norm seems to be restored, but love is fulfilled when Sebastian consents to be ruled by Olivia.
Even with all the jobs purportedly solved, the gender function inquiry is still present for Olivia seems ne’er to hold wholly relinquished her active & # 8220 ; male & # 8221 ; function. Twelfth Night tackles many uncomfortable issues sing love and gender which Shakespeare ne’er genuinely resolves for his audience. Alternatively he leaves the inquiries open, but contains the uncomfortableness with wit, camouflage, pandemonium and a happy stoping.Work CitedShakespeare, William. The Norton Shakespeare. Edited Stephen Greenblatt et Al. New York: W. W.
Norton & A ; Company, 1997