The play Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare presents the theme of identity confusion in many different ways. We see that When Viola washes ashore in Illyria; she pays the captain to disguise her as a male. When he does this, after a good pay, she takes on the name Cesario and enters the house of Duke Orsino as a servant. Things get interesting in the house because we can tell that Duke becomes attracted to Cesario, saying that he is comparable to Olivia, whom he claims he loves, with his womanly features. Similarly, when Duke sends Cesario over to Olivia’s house to read off another one of his ill-fated love letters proclaiming his passion for Olivia, she begins to fall in love with Cesario, and not Duke like what was intended to happen. This creates a very interesting love triangle, not only because everybody likes somebody different, but also because Cesario is actually Viola, a girl. This causes great problems because Olivia, thinking that she loves Cesario, is actually in love with another girl, Viola. More problems arise because of Viola’s striking resemblance to her thought to be dead brother, Sebastian. Antonio, a man who took in Sebstian after he washed up, and has seemingly fallen in love with him, enters Olivia’s house to find Cesario, along with Olivia, Andrew, Toby, Maria, among others. Because officers in Illyria do not like Antonio, because of his naval feud against Illyria, he is arrested. Thinking that Cesario is actually Sebastian, he calls on Cesario to give his purse back, which was given to Sebastian earlier in the play. And because Cesario obviously does not know what is happening, Antonio is heartbroken at Cesario rejecting him. Even more instances of identity confusion and deception occur when Sir Andrew and Sir Toby find Sebastian outside of Olivia’s house. Thinking that Sebastian is actually Cesario, who was about to duel Sir Andrew, they go after him. However, Olivia finds Sir Toby and Sebastian with swords drawn, and implores them to stop, mistaking Sebastian for the Cesario that she loves. Sebastian is greatly confused by this seemingly beautiful girl asking him to marry her, but he agrees. Identity confusion is also rampant throughout the final scene.
Identity is something that many people have a hard time figuring out. Adolescents and college students many times are still searching themselves to find their identity, and in the process, go through many instances where they are confused at their identity. Zen meditation, for the past weeks that I have been there, has helped me to realize my identity not only for college, but also for what I want to do beyond. It has helped me to reflect on options for the future, internships, jobs, and even classes. Just this past week, Zen meditation has helped me to think about my identity in the sense of where I want to be next year, in terms of study abroad. It has helped me to decide what would be best for me; what program will bets fit the identity that I want to develop. I have always had some issues, and reflection has always helped me with those.
The most significant thing that I have learned this semester in this class is to appreciate all forms of writing. We have seen many different kinds of techniques and writing styles throughout the semester, and some of them at the face didn’t seem to be appealing. But going more in depth with the readings can show that there are much more than just the words that are being conveyed on the page. I have learned to have a deeper appreciation for all forms of writing that I may come across.