Gender in "Twelfth Night" Term Paper by Quality Writers

Gender in "Twelfth Night"
This paper explores the issue of gender from the perspective of the character of Viola in Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night".
# 100168 | 1,657 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2007 | US

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The paper discusses Viola's presentation of gender in "Twelfth Night", which implicitly challenges the strict binary gender system that prescribes different and opposite behaviors for the two genders. The paper shows how the character of Viola stands in stark contradiction to long-standing prejudices about the weaknesses and frailty of women. The paper also points out, however, Viola remains a victim of the prejudices of her society, in that from her own perspective, she continues to see women as frail.

From the Paper:

"In Twelfth Night, Viola and Sebastian are twins, but they are separated in a storm at sea. Viola adopts male garb, and the name Cesario, as a survival strategy - to enable herself to get a job working for the Duke Orsino. Thus, Violet is not explicitly making a statement about gender when she begins passing as a male - rather, she is simply making a statement about wanting to survive. However, the necessity for her to adopt this strategy does of course arise from the strict sex-based segregation of the times. Despite the fact that Viola does not intend to buck the binary-gender system in any way, she certainly seems to enjoy "being a man," and moreover, the fact that she adopts a male persona inevitably leads to gender-based complications. For example, the Countess Olivia falls in love with her, while "Cesario" falls in love with Duke Orsino, and "Cesario" is challenged to a duel by the jealous Sir Andrew. Viola's gender switch thus lays the foundation for much of the plot. However, despite being a plot device, it also makes it possible for Viola to present an alternative representation of gender."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Bamber, Linda. A Study of Gender and Genre in Shakespeare. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1982.
  • Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night. New Revised Edition. New York: Signet Classic Books, 1987.

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

Gender in "Twelfth Night" (2007, December 17) Retrieved June 02, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Gender in "Twelfth Night"" 17 December 2007. Web. 02 June. 2020. <>