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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.In Twelfth Night, Viola dresses as the male Cesario in order to gain entry into Orsino’s court.
More than in any other Shakespearean play, the characters in Twelfth Night display a remarkable degree of gender and sexual ambiguity.
Antonio’s passionate devotion to Sebastian can be read as homoerotic, or at least romantic.
This quote suggests Olivia may prefer young, feminine-looking boys to grown men like Orsino.
Just as Viola’s male disguise enables her to get close to Lady Olivia, dressing as a man allows Viola to experience a great degree of intimacy with Duke Orsino.
As it was the ‘period of change’, this play could have been written to change people’s ideas of females and males in general.
Since the olden days, women have always been viewed as emotional, irrational, petty people, and when compared to the men, not as able and capable.As to whether Twelfth Night is a feminist play, there are arguments both ways.Evidently, in the play, there are many different inferences we can draw, to survey deeper into the play, and determine whether Twelfth Night, is or is not a feminist play. ...period of change, Shakespeare may indeed be subverting the traditional ideas of gender, and questioning the reality of the difference between the males and females, and posing this feminist question to all, and causing all who read or watch this play to think about this controversial issue.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.While Sebastian doesn’t indicate that he has romantic feelings for Antonio, Antonio often expresses his adoration and love for Sebastian.The intensity of his feelings seems to imply erotic interest, as when he tells Sebastian “I could not stay behind you.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.