The renowed Shakespearean critic Harold Bloom describes Orsino as touching "the sublime of male fatuity." Certainly, his penchant for hyperbole adds greatly to the hilarity of scenes in Twelfth Night. On the other hand, Orsino's attraction to women is somewhat complicated by his attention to Viola as Cesario before her identity is revealed. Even after he learns that Viola is a woman, Orsino enjoys his disguise:
For so you shall be, while you are a man;
But when in other habits you are seen,
Orsino's mistress, and his fancy's queen. (5.1.398-401)
While this confusion of sexual attraction has been interpreted as quixotic High Romanticism, for modern readers it may be complicated by the shifting in sexual roles in this age in which Shakespeare's play is considered by some as a transvestite play.
However, since there are other Shakespearean comedies that have the motif of mistaken identities, and since readers should avoid criticisms of works that judge them by standards outside of...
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