Appearance vs Reality

Twelfth Night

Theme Statement

What Shakespeare might be trying to say is that appearance isn't always what is going to be the truth (reality).

First quotation

“whoe’er I woo, myself would be his wife.” (1-4 l.45) - Olivia


  • This quote explains that when Olivia said that she wanted Cesario, she was not truly falling for Cesario, instead it was Viola. It was all an act, that Olivia was to eventually find out towards the end of the play when she sees the real Cesario. This shows appearance versus reality but what Olivia saw was not the truth.

Second Quotation

"There is a fair behavior in thee, captain,
And though that nature with a beauteous wall
Doth oft close in pollution, yet of thee
I will believe thou hast a mind that suits
With this thy fair and outward character." (1.2.50-54) - Viola

  • This quote is from when Viola first starts talking about changing her identity to the captain. This shows that everyone is not always what they appear to be, especially when trying to get or achieve something or a certain goal.

Third Quotation

"I am not what I am." (3.1.148) - Viola


  • This is an example of how Viola (Cesario in the moment) was trying to hint that she/he is not what she says to be and says that she/he is nor a boy or something thats right for Olivia to love. Later on in the play, Viola ends up showing who she was.

Text to world

"When I was 16 I moved to a pretty small town. I became close friends with M, a girl at school. After a while, she began mentioning her best guy friend, Blake. She showed me pictures and told me I should hang out with him. It was like she was trying to set us up. He was really cute, so I was excited. Blake and I started chatting on Facebook and AIM. We chatted for a month or so and he kept trying to meet up. He attended a private school less than ten miles away from my school but every time we planned something, a very detailed excuse came up -" -Buzzfeed

https://www.buzzfeed.com/laraparker/insane-catfish-stories-that-will-make-you-want-to-delete?utm_term=.wqmov8kwP#.jhYKoeOA7



  • How this text from the world relates to the poem is because people are pretending to be what they're not, because they're being catfish which is "someone who pretends to be someone they're not" as that is what Viola did just like in the story above.

Text to Text

  • Something that happens to have the same theme as twelfth night is the movie "She's the man", which shows the main character Viola acting as her brother in order to go to a soccer school while he was away. This easily has the same theme as the play, which is "Appearance vs. Reality".

Text to Self

  • How this theme can connect to myself or other people is that everyone one day pretends to be someone they're not in order to get something they need or want. For example, a personal story could be when someone wanted a career in acting and they needed to be 18 at the time, instead they were 16 and told the directors that they were 18 and ended up getting the part they had auditioned and put up a fake appearance for.