Type: Literary Analysis
Pages: 4 | Words: 1093
Reading Time: 5 Minutes

The use of masks was one of the Shakespeare’s fundamental skills and prowess in literature work. The major characters in the play have hidden their identity behind the mask. In the Twelfth Night play, one prominent character uses a literal masquerade to achieve a goal, whilst others use figurative disguises. In this play, Viola who is the major female character, dresses as a gentleman in order to search the state of Illyria for her close kin, Sebastian. Viola disguises herself as a gentleman in order to achieve the goal of finding her brother. As a result, she causes a lot of confusion among the upper classes of the Illyria. William Shakespeare has used the masking as a tool of disclosing the real characters in the play, and in expression of the power of raw beauty in literature work. The imagery of mask has been used throughout the Twelfth Night play in different instances, and the true identity of the characters is only revealed at the end of the play.

In the Twelfth Night, a good example of masking is revealed through Festes’ actions. He acts like a Wiseman instead of a fool. The development of mask is revealed when Festes strives to protect his identity as a Wiseman. This is because if people were to realize that he is was not a Wiseman, he would not be invited to work. In addition, people would fail to seek the advice he usually delivers through the speeches and songs “Every wise man’s son doth know”. This is a strong illustration of masking imagery in the play because it shows the real character of an actor without the mask. In the play, Feste’s disguise has been revealed in different occasions, hence making him to be well developed throughout the play.

In the Twelfth Night play, Viola has been depicted as using a mask that she dares not to disclose. Viola creates a new self when she embraces a male identity. She can now wear either of the two identities, while swinging between the two personalities in character and emotion. Viola reveals her true affectionate feelings for Cesario, “yet a barful conflict! Whoe’er I court myself would be his spouse”. This speech becomes real when her true identity is no longer a mystery .Viola takes the new personality because she enjoys more societal autonomy while in her Cessario mask. Her new personality makes her to get favors from the duke. This is apparent when she states “If Duke continue these favors toward you, you are likely to be much advanced”. Furthermore, it also becomes open when the duke states that “My life upon”˜t, young though thou art, thine eye” while referring to the beauty in Viola’s eyes. Viola mask plays a significant in enabling her to secure a job after a near drowning. Viola mask has been developed extensively throughout the play.

Viola’s mask is also significant to the play because if she was to disclose her real identity before the completion of the play, the whole plot of the play would become wrecked. Through masking, Viola assist Orinso to fall in love; she also enables facilitates his understanding of the true meaning of love. Viola mask in the play has been developed in a mode William Shakespeare wanted the reader to view it. Her mask is very crucial to the play because it adds dilemma to the plot. It also enables the reader to understand her in diverse levels of knowledge. It also portrays her as being capable of being a man and a maid. Therefore, she performs roles of both genders throughout the Twelfth Night play.

It is through the theme of masking that Olivia manages to conceal her true identity to Sebastian. Confusion arises because Olivia addresses Sebastian in familiar way that makes him think that she is Cesario. This happens because Olivia had initially expressed her love for him. Sebastian confusion is revealed in his words “What relish is in this? How runs the stream”. Thus, instead of falling in love with Olivia, he gets puzzled and confused over her familiarity. The whole circumstance appears so unreal to Sebastian that he even thinks that he have lost his sanities “Or I am mad, or else this is a dream”. Olivia is deceived by the outer masculinity of Cessario. This makes him to realize that a mask can lead someone to love. This is revealed when he states that “Disguise, I see thou art wickedness”. She also states that “How easy is it for the proper false”. These lines reveals her worries on how the outer appearance is capable of being deceiving. She also makes her close kin believe that he cannot recognize her by voice or any other feature. Masking makes her capable of misleading even close relatives. It also reveals her capability of conforming with the masking in order to please the reader and the audience. When the drama ends, all masks are lifted and all deceitfulness and tricks are disclosed. Viola falls in love with the Orsino. The imagery of mask in the Twelfth Night play has made the whole play to be comprehensible to the reader and the audience.

The masking connotations in the Twelfth Night play has been strengthened and made more powerful by both Viola and Feste. The mask developed by these two characters has revealed a confident meaning to the audience and reader of the play. In the play, the mask have been used to make the play conforms to the need and interest of the reader and audience. This is what both Feste and viola strives to achieve throughout the play. The same thing normally happens to our ordinary life, and we are usually made to conform to the needs and interest of our friends and people around us. Through this, we normally mask our real identity from the general public, friends or even our social groups. Even though, masks are usually intended to protect our real self from the being revealed, in the Twelfth Night play, the true identity of all characters wearing mask is soon revealed at the end of the play. When the identity of the character behind the mask is revealed in the play, there is delightful peace as the characters get to understand the reality in self. Masking has been used widely in the Twelfth Night play, and has added a lot to the play. However, Shakespeare’s intentions in the play were to make the reader understand the importance of taking off the masks that have shadowed our real identity for decades in our life.

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