In the first half of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night there is a lot of love and deception. The love triangle, or whatever shape it turns out to be, involves a massive amount of deception. The deception leads to some very awkward romances.
The biggest deception of all is, of course, Viola pretending to be Cesario. Viola plan to dress like a young man leads to several interesting romances. First Orsino, who is in love with Olivia, asks Cesario to talk to Olivia for him. After talking to Cesario Olivia falls for him, actually a her. Olivia turns down Orsino and tries to seduce Cesario. This leads to further problems with Malvolio. Malvolio is in a relationship with Olivia but learns, or is tricked into thinking that Olivia is in love with Cesario. Malvolio is again deceived but this time by Maria. Maria tricks Malvolio into believing that Olivia still loves him; she writes him fake love letters from Olivia. Things get even more complicated when Viola, still acting as Cesario develops feelings for Orsino. Since she does not want to blow her identity she has trouble expressing her feelings for Orsino. Viola tries to drop hints to Orsino but, since she is still Cesario, Orsino does not pick up on any of the subtleties. What makes the play even more comedic is that all the female parts during Shakespeare’s time would be played by young boys.
Since the audience was used to seeing boys playing the roles of women the play gained an extra sense of humor and realism. The fact that a young boy is playing a role of a woman who is disguised as a man is hilarious. It is funny enough in the play that Viola is pretending to be a man named Cesario but it becomes even funnier that a boy is playing the role of Viola. There is also extra realism added to the play due to the fact that the audience is used to seeing boys play women roles. The audience can understand and relate to the characters in the play. They understand how a boy could be mistaken for s woman and vice versa. They see it when they go to any play.
Twelfth Night is one of Shakespeare’s funniest plays. The story itself could be done in a serious way. It could be made into a semi-dramatic work but Shakespeare chooses to make it into a very funny comedic work. He uses love and deception in such a way that everything comes together to form a hilarious and semi controversial story.