Masculinity and Femininity in "Twelfth Night" Analytical Essay by Xanthe

Masculinity and Femininity in "Twelfth Night"
An analysis of how sexuality and gender differences are presented by Shakespeare in "Twelfth Night".
# 58528 | 2,179 words | 1 source | MLA | 2004 | GB

$19.95 Buy and instantly download this paper now


This paper examines how the play "Twelfth Night" by William Shakespeare, is concerned essentially with deception on various levels. It looks at how although deception is often a comic device, in this play it is often a means of deepening the ideas, allowing the audience to explore gender and sexuality, mainly through Orsino and the Viola/Cesario plot.

From the Paper:

"With the part of Viola, Shakespeare immediately presents the idea of gender confusion and interchangeability between the sexes. When the play was first performed, the cast would have been entirely male, so by the end of the first scene, the audience is aware that we have a boy playing a girl who is playing a boy on the stage. These levels of ambiguity suggest that gender roles will be important. Shakespeare then continues to explore this throughout the play, through the character of Cesario (Viola in disguise) and his relationships with other major characters such as Orsino and Olivia. Orsino sends Cesario to seduce Olivia on his behalf, and, unfortunately for the duke, Olivia falls in love with Cesario. The reasons for this are dramatised at the end of act one, scene five. Olivia asks Cesario to explain what he himself would do if in Orsino's position of lust towards her, so effectively asking his opinion of Orsino's technique and encouraging him to imagine that he loved her himself."

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Masculinity and Femininity in "Twelfth Night" (2005, May 16) Retrieved March 05, 2024, from

MLA Format

"Masculinity and Femininity in "Twelfth Night"" 16 May 2005. Web. 05 March. 2024. <>