April 18, 2013
In the short novel Twelfth Night by Shakespeare, Acts I-V demonstrate gender reversal. This theme is present throughout the entire book, but more prominently in the first couple acts. Viola, a shipwreck rescue, Viola washes up on the shore of Illyria. With little to do, she devises a plan to disguise herself as a man and begins to work for the Duke. Not understanding the consequences of her actions, Viola starts to fall in love with the Duke, while the Duke is madly in love with Olivia. This terrible love triangle continues to get more and more complicated as we processed into the novel. Viola has to make a decision, is she going to tell the Duke her true feelings or risk him and Olivia falling in love? "All's fair in love and war" … or is it?
As seen in Act 2, Viola is now transformed into Cesario. While serving the Duke, Cesario is given the task to go to Olivia's house and deliver a message of love. Being faithful to the Duke, Cesario goes the lady Olivia's house. While Cesario is delivering the message, Olivia is falling in love with Cesario. Unaware of the situation, Olivia is completely fooled by Cesario's disguise and further pursues him. Meanwhile, the Duke and Cesario are becoming very close and with every passing day Cesario's love grows founder for Duke. Despite all the trouble this love triangle has caused, at the end of the novel in act V everything comes together. Cesario "introduces" Olivia to her brother Sebastian, whom later fall in love and get married. While Olivia is distracted by Sebastian, Cesario has her chance to tell the Duke how she really feels but she doesn't. Not until the Duke was preparing to kill Cesario did she tell him her true feelings. At this point in the novel the Duke is angry and confused. Between Olivia marrying Sebastian, Cesario confessing her love for the Duke, and Viola revealing herself, the Duke is extremely overwhelmed and orders them all to leave his sight.
The novel ends happily, with the Duke and Viola together. Duke Orsino comes to the conclusion that losing Olivia doesn't make him unhappy and with this being the case, he wants Viola. Duke Orsino realizes that through "Cesario's" commitment, Viola loves is strong. Orsino goes to Viola and asks her to reveal herself, Viola takes off the disguise and they embrace for the first time as their true selves.
The novel Twelfth Night reveals the true meanings of love and what is really means to be in love. During my analysis I felt that this novel can be compared to my meditation classes. When I go to meditation I always feel like I change on the inside, compared to Viola who changes on the outside. For me I become more peaceful and focus only on myself. Contrastingly, Viola changes on the outside, but also allows herself to remain honest to her feelings about Duke. Despite my "changes", I always feel that my true feelings remain the same. Viola and I always remains faithful to our internal desires but allow some change so we can adapt to different situations. Going to meditation clears my head and makes me feel relaxed. Viola and I both change but remain the same, we stay in-tunned with our emotions but channel our energy differently.