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Viola character traits

April 29, 2012

In Twelfth Night, we can see that Viola is resourceful/strong/independent/able to adapt to varying circumstances.

When she was shipwrecked and was left all alone in a foreign land, Viola remains strong and immediately plan for her future, “to serve that lady”. This shows that she is independent and is able to think rationally and protect herself in the new circumstances she faced. But when she realised that Olivia would not meet anyone, Viola did not panic and suggested another plan, “conceal what she is” for  “such disguise as haply shall become the form of her intent”. She is able to adapt to varying circumstances. Instead of moping over her brother’s death like Olivia, or even panic when she realised that it is impossible to work for Olivia, she solves the problems as it comes immediately and seeks alternative solutions when she is unable to get what she wants.

Hence, I think Viola is  resourceful/strong/independent/able to adapt to varying circumstances. She was still able to plan rationally when she was in a foreign land when she thought that “her brother is in Elysium”. Instead of moping over the death of her brother, she was adapting to the foreign land by finding a job to survive. Thus, this shows how strong Viola can be in times like this.


In Twelfth Night, we can see that Viola is dutiful/responsible/selfless.

Viola promised Orsino, his master that she would do her best to “woo his lady” who is Olivia. But she wants to be in Olivia’s place instead as she had fallen in love with Orsino.Viola is experiencing an emotional internal self-conflict within herself as she wishes to be Orsino’s wife. Despite her deep love for Orsino, she still remain responsible and is dutiful to the extent of persuading Olivia to love Orsino.  This is not a one time session where Viola goes to Olivia to express Orsino’s love and she still do her best despite being in love with Orsino. Her dutifulness and selflessness is evident when Olivia repeatedly reveals her love for Cesario. Instead of using this golden opportunity to dissuade Olivia to not love Orsino, Viola remains responsible and fulfils her obligations towards Orsino by persuading Olivia of Orsino’s deep love and his pain in loving Olivia. She even compared herself to that of  “worms” as worms are associated with death, Viola is trying to say that because she hides her love, the secret is eating her from within. The imagery of a worm eating a flower conveys the idea of unrequited love which Viola is facing right now.

Hence, this shows that Viola is dutiful/responsible/selfless as she is willing to sacrifice herself, her love for Orsino and woo Olivia for Orsino as it was a responsibility given to her. Even though she felt pain, she still continue to woo Olivia for Orsino. Thus, this shows that Viola is selfless/responsible/dutiful can be in work. She draws a clear line between love and work and does not cross over the boundaries.




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