Is Twelfth Night as a comedy Of Mistaken identities?

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amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yes!  This is a typical element in comedies during Shakespeare's time since the audience is always in on the joke.  They know more than the characters on stage (dramatic irony) which makes the mistaken identity so darned funny...not to mention that you've got great disguises going on and women are falling in love with men who are really other women in men's clothing, etc.  It makes for great fun.  Check out all the links below since this question has been asked in several formats over the last few months.  Good Luck!!

kc4u | Student

Modelled on Plautus, Twelfth Night, may be called a comedy of mistaken identities. Consider the following leads to develop your answer:

a) Viola & Sebastian are twin brother & sister. Since Viola assumes male attire, they become perfect look-alikes.

b) Viola, disguised as Cesario, takes employment in Duke Orsino's court. She loves & wants to marry Orsino while Orsino sends her to Lady Olivia to make her accept Orsino's courtship.

c) Countess Olivia mistakes Cesario for a handsome youngman and immediately falls in love with Viola.

d) When Sebastian comes to Illyria, Olivia mistakes him for Cesario & brings in a priest to get their engagement solemnised.

e) Olivia's steward, Malvolio, mistakes the letter written by Maria for a real love-letter and thus gets duped.

f) Malvolio, confined in a dark chamber, mistakes the clown for the curate, Sir Topas.

g) Antonio mistakes Cesario(Viola) for Sebastian and accuses him of not recognising his friend.

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Twelfth Night

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