Acting in Plays or Real Life
In Shakespeare’s tragedy, Twelfth Night or, What You Will, all characters encounter challenges with identity. The play contains many characters that all have trouble finding themselves and seem to be indecisive about many of their actions. This lack of being able to find oneself is what I find myself thinking about when I attend Loyola’s Zen meditation on campus. Whether its Viola crossdressing in order to serve the Duke, Malovio putting on stockings because his love asks him too, or the Duke not sure how he feels about love, all seem to have difficulty with mistaking identities.
Most of the characters within Shakespeare’s play all struggle with the difficulty of discovering who they really are. Viola, who finds herself in Illyria after a dreadful boat crash, knows that she must find work in order to survive. As a result she finds herself crossing dressing in order to work for the Duke. During this time it was illegal for a women who were not married to work for or be in the Duke’s presence. Viola calls herself Cesario, and forces herself to dress as a man and become the Dukes most Loyola servant. Little does she know that she would fall in love with the man she worked for, while trying to get the women he loves to love him back. Disguising herself as a man only hurt her in the long run, instead of choosing to show whom she really was.
Malovio in the Shakespeare play has trouble lightening up for the women he loves, Olivia. When he reads a letter he believes is written from her, he decides that he must no longer disguise himself. In hopes that this would help his love realize that he is the man for her, he goes with the letter and puts on ridiculous clothing. He decides that he should hide his feelings for her no longer and must stop disguising himself and let it all out.
Later on in the play we see the Duke having trouble deciding his feelings towards love. At one moment he is in love with the music and nature around him, then the next moment, he is saying he has had enough it. It is very dramatic and shows how indecisive he can be. Because he cannot make up his mind it confuses the people around him, many think that he doesn’t know what he really wants, disguising himself.
In Zen Meditation at Loyola, I found myself in a similar state, wondering whether or not others think that I disguise myself. I wondered if other’s thought that I am disguising myself in order for them to like me. Disguising myself for others is not what I plan on doing when I meet them but sometimes I feel that maybe the way I act is overly kind.
Shakespeare’s poem, Twelfth Night or, What You Will, and Zen meditation on Loyola’s campus, both encompass the similar theme of others believing they are someone else. Whether it’s the Duke, Viola/Cesario, Malovio or myself, each have found themselves in situation where they can be seen as fake or hiding something to those around them.