Analyzing Viola

By Olivia Apostolovski

Viola's Identity

Viola is bold and isn't afraid to speak her thoughts as soon as they emerge. She is confident and intelligent, enough to surpass her peers with her words and her mind. Viola has strength and is able to portray herself as something that she isn't. She is someone who is set on what she wants and will not stop to get it. She will do whatever is necessary to get what she desires and is not afraid of hurting others feelings,

"I am no fee'd post, lady. Keep your purse.

My master, not myself, lacks recompense.

Love makes his heart of flint that you shall love,

And let your fervor, like my master's, be

Placed in contempt. Farewell, fair cruelty." (I.v.259-263)

Viola will speak what is on her mind and in this case, Olivia is the receiver of the harsh truth.

Viola's Gender

Since Viola is a woman, she is limited in what she can do in her daily life. As a woman, she is taken care of by her maids and must stay within her household, not being able to venture outside unless she has someone with her. She cannot speak down to men and she is supposed to remain a feminine figure. Viola cannot get a job because the men are the only ones allowed to do all of the harsh labor. She is forced to be timid and act upon what others say to her.

"I prithee-and I'll pay thee bounteously-

Conceal me what I am, and be my aid

For such disguise as haply shall become

The form of my intent. I'll serve this duke" (I.ii.48-51)

In order for Viola to work, she must assume the opposite gender and would not be allowed this opportunity if she was female.

Viola's Perception

Orsino sees Viola as someone to confide in, someone to get his work down whenever he can't make himself talk to Olivia. Sir Andrew sees Viola as competition for Olivia's heart, although he will hardly admit it, only admitting it when Sir Toby brought the subject up. Olivia sees Viola as someone that will love her, someone that will give her the attention that she wants. She'll waste her words on Viola, even if she isn't listening or if her heart has turned cold. None of them see Viola as a bad person, even after she has mislead them.

"I have said too much unto a heart of stone

And laid mine honor too unchary on 't

There's something in me that reproves my fault,

But such a headstrong potent fault it is

That it but mocks reproof." (III.iv.178-182)

Olivia tries to make Viola see through her stubbornness that Olivia really loves her.

Similarities and Differences


I pride myself on being honest with my friends, whether or not it means hurting their feelings because the truth is always better than a lie. She is clever with her words and is able to outsmart her enemies rather than fight them, wordplay is her weapon. I would like to say that I am intelligent and able to figure most things out quickly.


Viola and I don't have the same levels of confidence that she has. Viola is shielded by a lot of things in her life and I feel like I am able to see everything for what it really is, there is never any sugarcoating. I am not discriminated against for wanting to work a certain place, I cannot walk around pretending to be someone I know I'm not.

Viola's Identity - She's the Man

Viola is a high school student, devoting herself to play soccer and constantly bettering herself. She is dating a boy named Justin, who put soccer before her and due to that, they broke up. She is creative and quite intelligent, but doesn't hide her female personality that way as she takes Sebastian's place. She struggles with several decisions that she must resolve before they lead to bigger issues in order to make her disguise more convincing, she knows how to get what she wants. In She's the Man, Viola became someone else in order to prove that gender does not matter and she could win regardless if her teammates knew the real Viola or not. (She's the Man)

Viola's Gender - She's the Man

Viola is supposed to act feminine but instead she dresses like a typical tomboy. Sweatshirt, jeans, sneaker and a baseball cap are what her wardrobe consists of. Her mother wants her to wear dresses, be the perfect daughter that she imagines she would be. Viola cannot play soccer on the boy's team at her school like she wants to be, due to the fact of her gender, not her abilities. She is then forced to act like a guy, which is the only way she can prove to her school she is a worthy opponent and team member.

Viola's Perception - She's the Man

Duke sees Viola as another player who has a lot of potential for the soccer team as well as someone he can confide in regarding his emotions. In She's the Man, Olivia talks about how Viola is different from the other guys and how she doesn't act like other guys, but understands Olivia more (She's the Man). Viola's mother sees her daughter as someone with a habit that needs to be kicked and that she could be the "perfect" daughter if she applied herself in the right areas, like the debutante ball. Justin, Viola's ex-boyfriend, saw her purely for her looks rather than her talent, which he didn't see as worthy enough for the male team. Sebastian sees his sister an intelligent and capable of pulling off a plan to fool the high school.

Similarities and Differences - She's the Man


Viola has a passion to prove her point that I would match, even if pretending to be your brother is a little toward the extreme. She is not very convincing that she can pull off this role, but was not caught in her lie, which is something I could most likely pull off.


Viola and I don't have the same passion for sports but I do have a passion for many other things. I would not go to the lengths to dress up as sibling and then continue to keep that disguise for days and I would most likely blow my cover.