The main source of the problem in "Twelfth Night" is mistaken identity. How has this led to great confusion in the play?

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gbeatty eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Confusion due to mistaken identity runs throughout the play. It starts with, and often returns to, confusion over Viola. To protect herself, she disguises herself as a man ( Cesario). The result is that she is now given the Duke's confidences about love. She gets to hear the male perspective on love, something a woman in the period might not. When Viola is set to Olivia's with a message, Olivia falls in love with her, precisely because she (Olivia) thinks she (Viola) is a man. Whew! Even that first go round is confusing just to say, and that's just the start. In general, the confusion revolves around love (and money, to a lesser degree).

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