However temporary such cross-dressing may be, it serves to remind audiences that masculinity is a matter of appearances.
When Viola dresses as Cesario, one of their most poignant lines is, ‘I am all the daughters of my father’s house, / And all the brothers too’ (2.4.120–21).
The Italian play Questions of sexuality in Shakespeare, and indeed questions about Shakespeare’s own sexuality, began scarcely before the ink was dry.
While married to Anne Hathaway, who remained in Stratford-upon-Avon throughout Shakespeare’s career in London, he addressed 126 of his sonnets to a young man.
He asks Cesario to do him a very special, very personal favor.
Dramatic Irony In Twelfth Night Essay
Cesario is to be the duke's messenger, his proxy, and carry notes of love from Orsino to Olivia.While the audience would certainly suspend their disbelief over the actual gender identity of the actors, the effects of this casting should not be underestimated.First of all, it would have inevitably lent an extra frisson to the heterosexual relationships portrayed onstage, which would only be further enhanced by a play like is more like a suit of clothes that can be put on and taken off at will than a matter of biological destiny …The gulf of social status between the two could be one reason for the language of servile devotion, which also occurs in the exchanges between Olivia and Cesario, and Cesario and Orsino; but if the latter two relationships are noted for their erotic charge, we must also consider the possibility of a romance between Sebastian and Antonio.  Philip Stubbes, The Anatomy of Abuses (London: 1584), p.Productions such as Lyndsey Posner’s for the , a phrase which nods to a freedom of agency in terms of both sexual orientation and gender identity, while also recalling the name of the playwright himself. We may never know Shakespeare’s own sexual identity, but it doesn’t matter. Summary In Duke Orsino's palace, one of his pages, Valentine, enters, accompanied by Viola, disguised as a young eunuch, Cesario.And yet as early as 1640, editors were keen to expunge any whiff of homosexuality from the sonnets, with John Benson publishing an edition of the poems with many of the pronouns ‘he’ and ‘his’ revised to ‘she’ and ‘her’.This dismissal of queerness in canonical works of literature, particularly from this period, is not only disappointing and intellectually dishonest; it is also simply inaccurate: labels such as homosexual or heterosexual ‘did not exist as conceptual categories’ at the time Shakespeare was writing.Believing her brother to be dead, Viola keeps him alive by dressing in drag and assuming his identity.It is a beautifully genderqueer moment, and different productions of the play may interpret Viola’s gender presentation in a number of different ways.