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Appearance Versus Reality Throughout Acts I and II

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In Shakespeare's Twelfth Night there are many events where readers see the motif of appearance versus reality being used, especially throughout Acts I and II. The contrast between what the characters see versus what is actually going on helps draw readers in and give the play an interesting twist. Throughout Act I and II Shakespeare uses this motif to reveal the true personalities of the characters and to build relationships between them.

Early on in Act I the audience is introduced to The Duke Orsino who appears to be madly in love with Olivia. When talking to Valentine he goes on about how much he loves her and compliments her saying things like how she “purifies the air” with her beauty. As readers continue on, they notice how his “love” for Olivia is really based on lust. He mentions things such as her “fine frame” and talks about her liver, brain and heart, which shows his sexual desires toward Olivia. He is more in love with her body than her as a person. In the beginning of Act I viewers find out that Olivia’s brother has passed away and she is currently grieving his death. When this news is brought to the Duke’s attention by Valentine he pays it no attention. He does not take Olivia’s feelings into consideration. The shows how Orsino does not truly care for Olivia and her feelings. All he cares about is her body and his sexual desires. He is more in love with the idea of Olivia loving him than actually being in a healthy relationship with her. Once again showing how things can appear one way but are completely different when facing it.

All throughout Acts I and II readers see how people are different from what they appear to be. A great example of this is Sir Andrew. In the play they describe him as a very handsome man who is great at sports such as fencing, which makes readers imagine this model of a man; but once again they are reminded that looks can be deceiving. In reality Sir Andrew is a drunk and wasteful man, who likes to start fights and lives way beyond his means. Though he likes to start fights he is a coward, which causes many people to dislike him. The way Sir Andrew acts is entirely different from what the audience would initially expect.. Readers see on multiple occasions truly how unintelligent Sir Andrew is. For example when talking to Sir Toby and Maria, Sir Toby mentions the word ‘accost’ - he did not understand what the word meant and used it as a word to describe Maria in an attempt to insult her. Also within the same discussion, Sir Toby says “Pourquoi?” he did not comprehend what Sir Toby was trying

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