In the Twelfth Night or, What You Will by William Shakespeare, the main theme throughout the story is about identity. More specifically it discusses how the main characters are trying to find their true self and they do this by portraying someone or something else. The Duke and Olivia both seem to be displaying string emotions. Viola goes so far into actually changing her physical appearance in order to find herself. Also while volunteering at Tunbridge these past few weeks, I have also seen the kids trying to find their identity and even my supervisor since this is his first year teaching at Tunbridge.
The Duke and Olivia could be seen as having the same identity crisis in that they both display over dramatic and exaggerated feelings. The Duke claims that he is in love with Olivia and is constantly sending over messengers to Olivia’s house, but is constantly being rejected. He also appears to be very indecisive in his feelings as shown in the very first stanza in the poem. At first he tells the musician to play a love song, “If music be the food of love, play on” then he says to play the song again, “That strain again!” and finally he tells them to stop because he doesn’t like the song anymore, “Enough; no more: ’T is not so sweet now as it was before.” Olivia is also very dramatic when she responds to the Duke’s constant confessions saying that she will not leave her house for seven years to grieve the death of her brother. This statement is sort of exaggerating the situation since a person should be able to grieve a loved one, but not for that long because then you wouldn’t be living a full life. The clown even points out her foolishness by stating that there is no point in grieving for brother since his soul is in heaven. At Tunbridge I have also seen and heard kids dealing with their identity and even exaggerating themselves. One of the other teachers was talking about how when they were discussing the Jim Crow laws, one the students asked if the laws would apply to her since she was born white and just became more and more black, the opposite of what Michael Jackson had. The teachers were having a laugh about it and reading the story reminded me about that little situation. The student was talking about her identity even though she was most likely she was just joking.
The main protagonist in the play is Viola and she has the biggest issue with her identity. She is saved from a shipwreck and in this new land she decides to change her appearance and even her gender in order to work under the Duke and eventually discover her true feelings. She disguises herself as a man named Cesario and becomes the love messenger between the Duke and Olivia. She ends up falling in love with the Duke and continues to try to make Olivia love the Duke even though Viola truly loves him. My supervisor, Mr. Graeff, is teaching at Tunbridge for the first time and I feel that he is also trying to find himself and his place in the school. He tries to meet everyone needs and I saw this when him and another teacher were having a discussion about the mobile computer lab. Mr. Graeff had requested the laptops but the last teacher who used them still needed a couple to use so he let her and then the other teacher tells him how that is against policy and that he had an argument about that with the same teacher early in the year. Mr. Graeff also tells me how they are implementing a new style of teaching from Asia, where they concentrate a lot more on the process and working backwards from the answer. This is very difficult for the kids, but he is trying to find the best ways to teach the kids.The most surprising thing I learned this semester from this class is how much volunteering connects with the readings and just how good it feels to give back to the community. In almost every single reading from the class, I could relate back to my time while volunteering at Tunbridge. The books talk about universal themes such as family and heritage, identity, people you see as heroes and kids are in the beginning stage of their lives and you are able to see them experience these things. Giving up your time and helping those who could benefit from your help is a superb feeling because you know that assisted them in what would have been a harder task for them