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Sexuality in Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare Essay

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In Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, the young Viola, having once lost her brother in a shipwreck, realizes that dressing up as a boy herself is the best way to continue living and thriving and looking for him. This play shows how much respect Shakespeare had for women more than ever, as Viola can do anything that a man can do. In addition to that, the serving-woman Maria proves herself perfectly capable of tricking Malvolio, enough so to make everyone in town to think he has gone completely mad. Both of these women are headstrong and sure of themselves and just itching to prove to the men in the play that none of them can think of themselves as better than the women.
Equality of religion isn’t much talked about in this play, but equality of class is definitely a running theme. Admittedly, the majority of the cast are nobles or at least wealthily born, but Maria and the fool provide an interesting look at the lower class of Shakespeare’s time. Everyone treats Maria as an equal, and Sir Toby even finds her desirable despite her low ranking. She manages to trick someone of the higher class, proving to everyone that though she may be a serving woman, she’s cunning enough to run circles around the rest of them. The fool, Feste, is also an interesting case. In act three, scene one, he talks briefly with Viola about the importance of the fool. “Foolery, sir, does walk about the orb like the sun; it shines everywhere,” he tells her. He discusses how much more important the fool is than they realize. He’s responsible for bringing the town laughter and cheer, yet when the time comes for them to thank him he can hardly scrape up enough money to feed his family for a day. Just like Shylock in Merchant, Feste only wishes to be treated the same a...


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...t reached total equality, but we’re not quite there yet. We’re closer every day, though, and we’re much closer now than we used to be. In developed countries such as our own especially we may even be able to live in a world total equality in just a few generations. That’s the future that Shakespeare fought for, and one that everyone today will fight for as well.


Works Cited

Crary, David. “Russian Anti-Gay Law Protests Focus on Sochi Olympics.” Huffington Post 31 Jan. 2014: n. pag. Print.
“Eurovision Song Contest: It Wasn’t to Be for British Entry as Drought Continues.” The Gaurdian 10 May 2014: n. pag. Print.
Shakespeare, William. Merchant of Venice. 1600. Washington: Folger Shakespear Library, 1993. Print.
- - -. Twelfth Night. 1623. Washington: Folger Shakespeare Library, 1993. Print.
“Women at Sochi.” The Gaurdian. The Gaurdian, 24 Feb. 2014. Web. 13 May 2014.



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