Twelfth Night & She's the Man

Two Similar Switch Ups; One Similar Plot by Abbie Harris

"Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em." (2.5.149-50)

This is a famous Shakespeare quote the Malvolio says in "Twelfth Night". The quote came out of the letter Malvolio though to be from Olivia, but, it was actually from Maria. Maria intended on this happening. She wanted Malvolio to think it was from Olivia because she knows he thinks about what it would be like to be Olivia's husband, he fantasizes about it. So, she does this as a practical joke by dropping it on the ground where she knows he will see it.


In "She's the Man" this quote is thrown into the mix. Duke says it talking to Viola when he finds out she is actually Sebastian's sister, pretending to be him. He tells her, "It's just like coach says before every game "Be not afraid of greatness, some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. I think our best chance to be great today, is to have you play."

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"Twelfth Night"

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"She's the Man"

In these two pictures you see that in both Viola is in her disguise as a boy in both. Also, you see Olivia starting to show interest in Viola, who she thinks to be Cesario/Sebastian. This is very humorous to us watching because we know that Viola is a girl when Olivia believes she is a boy.
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Semi-hidden Details

In this picture you see Viola in her Sebastian disguise proving to all her soccer buddies the she is in fact a "ladies man". Notice the name of the restaurant is "Cesario's" which is the name Viola chooses to go by when she is in he male disguise in the twelfth night.
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"Twelfth Night" in Art

In this oil painting, by Johann Heinrich Ramburg, you see Olivia, Maria, and Malvolio. This painting comes from Act III, scene IV.

Olivia's Attraction For Viola: Sebastian vs. Cesario

In "She's the Man" it's obvious Olivia is attracted to Viola (Sebastian). Duke sees it during a class period they all have together one day. Duke asks Sebastian to talk to Olivia for him because he likes her. He wants Sebastian to set them up. Sebastian does his (or her) best but Olivia can't help but hanging on to every word he says. When Viola is dressed up as herself, her and Olivia run into each other in the restroom at a party and Olivia tells her she really likes Sebastian. Viola thinks it's funny, and thinks to herself she must be doing a good job acting like her brother, but then she realizes how wrong all of it is.


"Twelfth Night", on the other hand is a very different story. Olivia thinks "Cesario" gave her a ring, but that was not the case. When Viola finds this out she thinks Olivia must fancy her. She says "She made good view of me; indeed, so much that, as methought, her eyes had lost her tongue, for she did speak in starts distractedly." (II. ii. 14-16)

Viola's Disguises: Sebastian vs. Cesario

Sebastian, Viola's brother, is who she disguises herself as in "She's the Man." She does this to play soccer on the boys team at his high school while he is in London playing for his band. This is very big deal to her because the girls team was cut at her high school. Viola's ex boyfriend told her she was good enough to play on the boys team at her old high school, but, denied it in front of the boys coach. So, Viola seeks revenge this way. Acts as Sebastian will he is away, plays her ex boyfriends team, and beats them.


In "Twelfth Night" Viola believes Sebastian is dead because of an accident that happened during a sea storm. Instead of acting as her brother, she creates a whole different character, Cesario. She does this to take a job at Duke Orsino's court. Personally, I think she does this because she does want to face the world without her brother, so this is a way of holding on to a man in her life. I think she is just a little shaken over all.

The Comedy Ladder in She's the Man

1. Comedy of ideas: An idea that is shown in "She's the Man" is that everyone has a secret. Viola's is only disguised as a boy, the real Sebastian is in London, Duke is in love with Olivia, and Viola is in love with Duke, while Olivia is in love with Viola who she thinks to be Sebastian. There are little secrets everywhere.

2. Comedy of manners: There are a lot of moments where Viola forgets that she's acting as a boy. She'll say something that completely comes from a girls mind, not a boys. It's funny because the guys she has to be around will give her a look when she does something like that, and she'll say something that she thinks a guy would say, and it saves her.

3. Farce: Sebastian's true identity as Viola is unknown until the Cornwall match.

4. Low Comedy: The things Viola says trying to be manly exemplifies this.