What are some of the special interests, hobbies, and activities of Viola in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night?

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sensei918 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When we first meet Viola in Act I, Scene ii of Twelfth Night she is aksing her companions, survivors of a shipwreck washed up on the shore of Illyria, how she will survive now that her brother has drowned and she is a woman on her own. One can make the assumption that she came from a family of means. In fact, she even says so to Olivia later in the play when Olivia asks her what her social status is. However, Shakespeare does not ever explicitly mention anything about Viola's hobbies or activities. She is clearly close to her missing brother, and she may have shared some of his interests, but we do not know. Her interest now is surviving, so she goes to work for the Count Orsino. He then becomes her main interest, as she falls in love with him. As his page, she is busy with activities that interest her master. It is unlikely that she has previously engaged in any manly pursuits, but she fnds herself sword fighting, acting the part of a wooer for her master's flame, and learning how to be "the man." It appears she doesn't have time for many hobbies. Her schedule is full with doing Orisino's wil.