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Viola is a great character in Twelfth Night. Beyond the fact that she is the main character, she sets the entire play in motion by her decision to disguise herself as Sebastian. Her identity becomes a major conflict throughout Twelfth Night, and hilarity ensues as her new role causes mischief—she must be Sebastian, but also must be herself to Orsino.
Viola is also essential to the play because she becomes the role-model of what true love should look like, the epitomy of Shakespeare's ideal for romantic love; her love proves to be most true of all the characters. She remains steadfastly loyal to Orsino and goes through great lengths (and cross-dressing) to win his favor. Whereas the other characters such as Olivia, Orsino, Sir Toby, or Maria, seem fickle or less than devoted at times, Viola goes above and beyond to secure Orsino’s affection.
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