Gender and Identity

By Kyler O'Connell


I believe that I am a hard working teenager that strives to be the best at everything I try. I am also an honors student who has worked every day to learn more and more about the world around me. At home I am sort of lazy because this is the only time of the day I get to slow down for a little it. In sports I have always had my disadvantages in height but make up for it in dedication and hard work. This is a major reason why I work 2 times harder than everyone else and always keep myself on the right track in my school work, my life, and in my sports.

In Twelfth Night, Sebastian is the brother of Viola. He sees himself as a man who has nothing to his name when he enters this story. The reason he thinks this of himself is because he lost all of his possessions in a shipwreck in the beginning of the story. “Honestly, I can’t. I’m just wandering, with no particular destination. But I know you’d never force me to tell you things I don’t want to, so I should be polite and tell you what I can. My name’s Sebastian, though I’ve been calling myself Roderigo. My father was Sebastian of Messaline. I know you’ve heard of him. He’s dead now. He left behind myself and my twin sister, who was born in the same hour as me. If God had been willing, I wish we had died in the same hour too! But you kept that from happening. An hour before you pulled me out of the breaking waves, my sister drowned.” (II, i, 9-21). pg 1. What this quote explains is basically just Sebastian’s backstory and how he got to where he is now. As the story progresses we find out that Olivia falls in love with Cesario who is identical to Sebastian. When Olivia see’s Sebastian, she asks him to marry her and in Sebastian’s case he is a man who has nothing to his name who just got asked to marry a girl who is rich, has a title, and has servants. So without any second guessing he accepts even though he has only known this girl for a few days.


Being an Indonesian boy I have my advantages and disadvantages. Some advantages are that I’m very unique being that Indonesia is a very small country. Also I get very dark in the summer and a lot of my friends get jealous because of this. On the other hand thou being a boy the perception on us is that we are going to be these huge weight lifters that are all American athletes. Also I’m expected as an athletic boy to keep my grades at an A through B grade level or I will not be allowed to play until those grades are up and that just puts a lot of pressure on me because I’m never done to finish any of this work.

Since the play Twelfth Night was set in the old days where men were superior to woman. Sebastian’s gender couldn’t have done anything but help him. Since he is a man he is expected to act like a gentleman who takes charge when it is needed. Being a man there really aren’t any limitations. They could do anything they wanted because they were the ones bringing home most of the money in the family and they were the ones who were just generally in charge of every job in the town.


I am viewed differently by every group that I am around. My peers view me as an athletic kid who is a try hard in mess around games. My teachers view me as a kid who is passionate about learning and will always be trying his hardest. In the end being like this around teachers will only help me in the end. My family sees me as a good kid who doesn’t make stupid choices around his friends. This view changes though when they come how and I’m just sitting on the couch and there is still a mess in the house when they asked me to pick it up five times now.

I believe that other characters in Twelfth Night see Sebastian as one of Orsino's workers. They see him as this because Viola has dressed up as a man to work for Orsino because she couldn’t find work as a woman. Even though Sebastian doesn’t know any of these people who are coming up and talking to him they think that they are really talking to Cesario. “Put up your sword. If this young gentleman have done offence, I take the fault on me. If you offend him, I for him defy you.” (III, iv, 281-283). Pg. 14. What this quote shows is that one of the only people who knew Sebastian mis-took Cesario for Sebastian and went to jail for it. This just really shows how similar these two are to each other and how easily they can be mistaken.