Disguises in Twelfth Night

Source 1: Hunt, Maurice. “Love, Disguise, and Knowledge in Twelfth Night.” CLA Journal 32.4 (June 1989): 484-493. Rpt. in Shakespearean Criticism. Ed. Michelle Lee. Vol. 92. Detroit: Gale, 2005. Literature Resource Center. Web. 4 Nov. 2013.
1 (1) “Orsino states his belief that a boy with womanly features will appeal to the female Olivia better than a rougher messenger would. He thus indirectly reveals his opinion that Olivia suffers from self-love: in his view, the image of Olivia’s beauty in “boyish” Viola will vainly attract Olivia, moving her perhaps to grant Orsino’s suit.” (Hunt)
1 (2) “Orsino would love a woman who he knows loves herself. But whereas he shrewdly guesses the true condition of his lady’s affection, he is blind to the similar makeup of his own passion. He does not consciously apprehend the strange mixture of male-female qualities in Viola-Cesario that tantalize him.” (Hunt)
1 (3) “Like Orsino, Olivia regards Viola-Cesario as a hybrid creature. Aptly, Malvolio provides her with a perspective for understanding the nature of the Duke’s messenger.” (Hunt)
1 (4) “Orsino, for instance, accepts Cesario’s belief that, in love, women “are as true of heart” as men because a “young man” presents it–apparently in an open-minded way (II.iv.87-121). In this respect, Viola’s disguise allows her frankly to educate her beloved without threatening him. Yet the unhealthy aspects of Viola’s masking counterbalance the benefits of her disguise. Her mask may kindle an outgoing love within Olivia and Orsino, yet the self-love also evoked almost smothers that affection. Only Sebastian can unlock the Illyrians’ oppressed feelings.” (Hunt)
1 (5) “The destructive guilt of which Olivia speaks is unconsciously her own, generated by her fruitless feelings of loving the woman whom she recognizes in Viola-Cesario. Sebastian, by contrast, provides the spectator with the redemptive standard in his liking for Antonio; Viola’s brother is, after all, the epiphanic character suggested by the play’s title.” (Hunt)
1 (6) “Sebastian’s presence should also nullify Orsino’s idea of Viola-Cesario. In Sebastian, the Duke can easily see abstracted the manliness that has troubled his view of disguised Viola. Consequently, he is finally able to grasp the wonderful qualify of Viola’s love for him.” (Hunt)
1 (7) “Concerning Viola’s masking, an initial distinction must be made. A viewer familiar with Ovid’s Metamorphosis would not fully accept the notion that Viola’s costume simply “conceals” her, or that Cesario’s garb “covers” her. M. C. Bradbrook believes that Renaissance disguise was often “the substitution, overlapping or metamorphosis of dramatic identity, whereby one character sustains two roles. … [I]t may be better translated for the modern age by such terms as ‘alternating personality.'”5 Viola becomes “Viola-Cesario” rather than “Cesario.”6 Once the viewer thinks of the fluid Viola-Cesario as a whole character, the various images of boy, woman, man, and girl appear in multiple combinations.” (Hunt)
1 (8) “Because that costume taints his purer idea, he will honor Viola by not crediting any features of her associated with her mask. So she remains Cesario until he can see the feminine Viola.” (Hunt)
1 (9) “Moreover, by calling Viola “his fancy’s queen,” Orsino implies that his disordered love will henceforth be regulated. Viola will royally govern his formerly inner-directed thoughts. If any element of projection remains in Orsino’s affection, it involves his thinking the best of others.” (Hunt)
1 (10) “At one point in the play, Sebastian says that Viola bears a mind that envy could not help but call fair. Possessed of a “fair” mind, Viola judges that fair exteriors proclaim inner virtues.” (Hunt)
1 (11) “Her intellectual act reflects the philosophy that Nature, including human beings, on occasion may be disguised but that one must, for his or her spiritual health, assume that disguises are not worn. Only by faithfully assuming so can one keep one’s understanding untainted, avoiding self-destructive cynicism.” (Hunt)
1 (12) “‘For so you shall be while you are a man;But when in other habits you are seen,Orsino’s mistress, and his fancy’s queen’–(V.i.385-88)–can be heard as his pledge that nothing can cause him to violate his idea of Viola, not even her continuing to stand before him disguised as a male. Because that costume taints his purer idea, he will honor Viola by not crediting any features of her associated with her mask. So she remains Cesario until he can see the feminine Viola.” (Hunt)
1 (13) “Nonetheless, because Nature, including mankind, often disguises ill will (or remains neutral concerning virtue), the imagination is inclined to acts of regenerative willing. Such imagination causes the desired virtue to crystallize where it perhaps did not exist.” (Hunt)
1 (14) “If the Captain were not a kind man, he becomes one in light of Viola’s generous projection of his character. Viola understands that she has within herself the power to marry Beauty and Truth.” (Hunt)
1 (15) “In a court of shifting masks, such knowledge constitutes the liberating wisdom that helps Viola eventually win Orsino. Such wisdom gives greatest meaning to Shakespeare’s complex exploration in Twelfth Night of the psychological dimension of Renaissance stage conventions of disguise.” (Hunt)
Source 2 Summers, Joseph H. “1. The masks of Twelfth Night.” George Herbert Journal 16.1-2 (1992): 1+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 6 Nov. 2013.
2 (1) “In the first act we are rapidly introduced into a world in which the ruler is a love-sick Duke–in which young ladies, fatherless and motherless, embark on disguised actions, or rule, after a fashion, their own households, and in which the only individuals possibly over thirty are drunkards, jokesters, and gulls, totally without authority.” (Summers)
2 (2) “For his festival entertainment, Shakespeare freshly organized all the usual material of the romances–the twins, the exile, the impersonations–to provide significant movement for a dance of maskers. Every character has his mask, for the assumption of the play is that no one is without a mask in the serio-comic business of the pursuit of happiness.” (Summers)
2 (3) “The character without disguises who is not ridiculous is outside the realm of comedy. Within comedy, the character who thinks it is possible to live without assuming a mask is merely too naive to recognize the mask he has already assumed.” (Summers)
2 (4) “Most significantly, the title may hint that what “we” collectively “will” creates all the comic masks–that society determines the forms of comedy more directly than it determines those of any other literary genre.” (Summers)
2 (5) “Outraged nature has its full and comic revenge when Olivia falls passionately in love with a male exterior and acts with an aggressiveness which makes Orsino seem almost feminine. Still properly an actor in comedy, Olivia quickly changes from the character who has confused herself with a socially attractive mask to one who fails to perceive the mask which society has imposed on another.” (Summers)
Source 3 Chye Tan, Marcus Cheng. “‘Here I Am … Yet Cannot Hold This Visible Shape’: The Music of Gender in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.” Comitatus 32 (2001): 99-125. Rpt. in Shakespearean Criticism. Ed. Michelle Lee. Vol. 85. Detroit: Gale, 2005. Literature Resource Center. Web. 6 Nov. 2013.
3 (1) “Elements of ‘dark tragedy’ constantly complicate the ‘sunny identity of spirit.’4 The gulling of Malvolio is often seen by modern sensibilities as an excessively cruel prank passing into the domain of sadism.” (Chye Tan)
3 “Furthermore, the manifold possibilities of staging the ‘darker’ and complex elements, such as those mentioned, can disclose directorial bias and effect particularised impressions of character. Malvolio can become the Puritan Shylock or an oppressed victim. The trickery of physical allure between the infatuated lovers can metamorphose into a homoerotic attraction just as the homosocial bond between Antonio and Sebastian proves susceptible to varying interpretations.” (Chye Tan)
3 “There is critical consensus in scholarship on Twelfth Night that issues of gender contribute to Twelfth Night’s darker tonality. In the play, disguise causes gender confusion that further leads to suggestions of homoerotic love. As Casey Charles observes, “Twelfth Night is centrally concerned with demonstrating the uncategorical temper of sexual attraction.”28 These ever-present “dark” suggestions of homoeroticism and “ambi-sexuality” not only subvert the harmonious order in Illyria but produce the elusive nature of the play.” (Chye Tan)
3 “Shakespearean comedy constantly appeals to the body and in particular to sexuality as the heart of its theatrical magic.29 Cross-dressing, as a central leitmotif in issues of gender, is employed in several comedies and best exemplified in Twelfth Night. Twelfth Night is arguably about bisexuality and the fashioning of gender.” (Chye Tan)
3 “Illusionism that leads to ambiguity is the very substance of the theatrical experience in Twelfth Night, where Viola embodies this ambiguity effected through the illusion of disguise.” (Chye Tan)
3 “On stage, the three contingent dimensions of Viola/Cesario’s corporeality, her physiological sex as a boy actor, her gender identity in the drama as a woman, and her gender performance as Cesario, encourage the audience to view him/her as a sexually enticing qua transvestized boy.” (Chye Tan)
3 “Viola’s articulation of anxiety has implicitly served as a summation of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century attitudes toward transvestism and homoeroticism.” (Chye Tan)
3 “Cross-dressing is presented as wicked while homoerotic desire is implicitly monstrous. The pregnancy of disguise threatens to deliver an apocalyptic disruption of a normative social order based upon strict principles of hierarchy and subordination, not only in Illyria but in a conservative English society.” (Chye Tan)
3 “Homoeroticism has, in scholarship on Twelfth Night, been the central focus of gender issues in the play.” (Chye Tan)
3 “Such codes of gender differences are informed by prevalent attitudes of the time, for instance in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, music was regarded as a predominantly male occupation.” (Chye Tan)
Source 4 Field, B. S. “Fate, Fortune, and Twelfth Night.” Michigan Academician 6.2 (Fall 1973): 193-199. Rpt. in Shakespearean Criticism. Ed. Michelle Lee. Vol. 81. Detroit: Gale, 2004. Literature Resource Center. Web. 7 Nov. 2013.
4 “Surprised and confused as he is, he accepts it, even if it is only a dream. When Sebastian enters again after the interval of a scene, he is still amazed, still asking if he is mad, or in a dream, or if everyone else is mad.” (Field)
4 “Sebastian, however, shows an attitude toward Fate a little more like Viola’s. When we first see him in II, i, he is speaking of his fate as malignant, and warning Antonio to stay clear of him on account of that malignancy. That is, he accepts what seems to him to be the inevitable fact that he is not lucky.” (Field)
Source 5 angelfire.com/blog/twelfthnight/deception.html. Web. 7 Nov. 2013.
5 “The first variation of deception found in the play is that of the character of Viola. She has just been shipwrecked and believes her brother Sebastian to be dead. She hears from the captain about Lady Olivia’s mourning for her dead brother and decides that she too would like to distance herself from the world.” (AngelFire)
5 “She gulls Duke Orsino into believing that she is a young man so that she may work for him. As she quickly becomes a favorite of the duke, he sends her to Lady Olivia to beg her to return his love.” (Angelfire)
5 “This uncertainty of gender generates the central love-triangle in the play. Although the other characters are misled by Viola’s false front, her deceptiveness is not fully intentional. Her decision to falsify her identity was not an agency to manipulate others, but rather a means of survival.”(AngelFire)
5 “Sir Toby Belch’s trickery upon Sir Andrew Aguecheek is indeed a malicious form of deception. Sir Toby gulls Sir Andrew into believing that he still has a chance at courting Lady Olivia when, in actual fact, he does not.” (AngelFire)
5 “The use of a letter in Twelfth Night creates additional deception. Solely for the purpose of their own entertainment, Maria, Sir Toby, and Sir Andrew design a ruse to have the straight-laced Malvolio appear to have gone mad.” (AngelFire)
5 “Through this device, they dupe Malvolio into believing that Olivia is in love with him and that he must behave strangely, as per the commands in the letter, to show that he returns her love.” AngelFire)
5 “To further trick the already bewildered Malvolio, Feste veils himself as a priest, Sir Topaz, and speaks to Malvolio.”(AngelFire)
5 “He is asked by Maria to take on this disguise, once again merely for the value of their own entertainment of seeing Malvolio tormented. Feste, disguised as Sir Topaz, asks Malvolio for his thoughts on the beliefs of Pythagoras.”(AngelFire)
5 “Malvolio begins to dress cross-gartered and in high yellow stockings. He quotes passages from the letter to Olivia and acts in such a bizarre fashion that she believes him to be going insane.”(AngelFire)
5 “When he responds that he disagrees with his beliefs, Feste says that he will remain locked in the dark room, leaving Malvolio to beg Sir Topaz to accept that he is genuinely not insane and let him write a letter to Olivia.”(AngelFire)
5 “Through the mistaken identity of Viola as Cesario, Sir Toby conning Sir Andrew to gain personal privileges, and the conspiracy to fool Malvolio, it is evident that deception is a key theme in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.”(AngelFire)
5 “It is used as a means of survival, acquiring material substances, and a means of personal satisfaction in playing abusive yet somewhat comical tricks on other characters in the play.” (AngelFire)
5 “Viola then assumes the attire of a man and identifies herself as Cesario.” (AngelFire)