Deception in "Twelfth Night"
Deception was one of the major themes in "Twelfth Night". Shakespeare wove deceit into the life of the main character, Viola. Her deceiving appearance and her motives were what caused a lot of the confusion, mistaken emotions, and intricate relationships throughout the plot of the play.
The most deceitful character in the play was Viola. After being brought to Illyria after a shipwreck, she disguises herself as a man named Cesario (and bears a striking resemblance to her brother) to keep herself safe, and decides to work for Duke Orsino.
One of the most important relationships in the play is the love triangle between Viola, Orsino, and Olivia. Viola/Cesario is in love with Orsino, but has to try and help him because he's in love with Olivia.
Cesario is chosen to help Orsino because she is better with words than him. Because Cesario is actually a woman, she knows what to say to Olivia in order to make her fall in love with Orsino. Orsino isn't the best with words and isn't always the smoothest, so he sends Viola to Olivia with his messages.
As Viola continues to help Orsino, Olivia begins to fall in love with Cesario because she doesn't know that he isn't really a man. Olivia doesn't love Orsino, despite his best efforts to make her love him back, and uses him as an excuse to keep Viola coming back to deliver messages from Orsino. Olivia deceives Viola through her actions and words because she uses Orsino as an excuse to keep Viola around.
Viola's deception leads to even more confusion when her brother Sebastian shows up. Sebastian agrees to marry Olivia, but Olivia thinks that he is Cesario.
All the deceiving comes to an end when Viola, Orsino, and Olivia meet together. Olivia believes that Viola/Cesario agreed to marry her, not Sebastian. Sebastian also shows up, and Viola reveals that she is a woman.
Eventually, the complicated web between the four characters is sorted out. Olivia and Sebastian are married, and Viola finally gets to be with Orsino after all the time she's waited for him.
Viola's deception caused confusing relationships and mistaken feelings between all the characters because everyone thought she was someone different and either loved her for it (Olivia), or did not love her for it (Orsino). She also caused confusion between herself, Sebastian and Olivia because Olivia mistook Sebastian mistaken for Cesario.