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Rather than getting angry with Viola for deceiving him, Orsino seems delighted, saying “I shall have share in this most happy wreck.” (V.i.) Yet he continues to address Viola as “Boy” or “Cesario” even after he knows Cesario is really Viola.Perhaps the most overt references to homoeroticism in Twelfth Night come from the relationship between Sebastian and Antonio.
Shakespeare, having also lived in this time of change, could be trying to satisfy the people who are trying to find things out for themselves.
He could be trying to display to the people, and let the people question themselves, and wonder, whether females are who they were said to be, and men, likewise.
Regardless, Twelfth Night presents us with many versions of love, and suggests love, in all its forms, is an overwhelmingly powerful force that characters are helpless to resist.
William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night as a Feminist Play The play Twelfth Night was written in the Elizabethan days, near the end of the ruling of Queen Elizabeth I.
My desire, / More sharp than filed steel, did spur me forth.” ().
However, audiences in Shakespeare’s day might have read Antonio’s declaration differently, as close male friendships were not unusual in Elizabethan England.
In fact, in Shakespeare’s day women were thought to be intellectually and emotionally inferior to men, so a bond between two men would have been a bond between equals.
Just as we can’t know how Shakespeare intended audiences to interpret Olivia and Orsino’s love for Cesario, we can’t know if he wants us to understand Antonio’s feelings as sexual desire, or passionate friendship.
In the play Twelfth Night, there are many different characters, both male and female, and even a female in the disguise of male.
Indeed, the play in itself is complex, and has many different hidden themes and meanings within.