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Twelfth Night Essay | Critical Essay #7

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Critical Essay #7

Although Viola and Olivia are closely linked as characters in Twelfth Night, critics often view Viola as the central character of the play. While critics H. N. Hudson and William H. Fleming identify Viola as a character who unifies the action, Lydia Forbes points out that Olivia serves the purpose of linking the plot elements as the woman who Orsino loves, Viola woos, and the head of the household that Malvolio, Feste, Sir Toby, and Mana all call home. Forbes also discusses the depth of Viola's self-knowledge, which allows her to adopt a disguise and to see with clarity beyond the self-deception of others in the play.

Critics have also focused on Viola as embodying Shakespeare's ideal of love in her patience and in her attitude of self-sacnfice. Critic Barbara Lewalski notes that Viola's behavior sets her apart from her fellow characters and represents "the Word made flesh...

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This section contains 2,355 words
(approx. 8 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Twelfth Night Study Guide
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Twelfth Night from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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