Have you ever worn a mask before? Maybe the mask wasn’t a costume mask, but it was a mask to make you seem happy, or seem cool, or anything that made you feel like something than you are not normally. Chances are you have. Trying to fit in with the crowd, a mask is used to obtain the things we cannot reach on our own. Masks are especially common today because of the pressures to belong to the ‘in’; group, or the pressures to succeed. Books, using masks, commonly show the many connotations of masks. They are used to find out what people are for real, on the inside of the mask. The imagery of masks is used throughout the book of Twelfth Night. Shakespeare uses the imagery of masks to reveal characters true emotions and to express the power of raw beauty. Shakespeare uses this imagery through all of his characters in the play, but especially the two characters of Viola and Feste.
The perfect example of the use of the masking imagery can be seen through Feste. Acting as a wiseman and not the fool, Feste shows the development of masks. Feste tries to ‘conceal him for what he is’;(1.2) because he knows that if the people knew that he was a wiseman, than he would not be called upon to sing his songs, symbols of what is right. Also, the people would not come to him for the advice he gives them in his songs and speeches. This is a strong example of masking imagery because it shows of what the character might be like without his mask, and what he might be treated as if he wasn’t the fool. In the play, full of masking imagery, Feste shows his many personalities. He shows the ‘devil man’;(4.2) in himself when talking to Malvolio. This is shown as a mask to the audience because it shows that not only is Feste a wiseman and a fool, but he is also a mean and tricky person. This shows that the masks of Feste are shown in many different cases, causing them to be very well developed. Feste’s masks tend to show what everyone wants at that time. Feste acts as ‘an ass’;(5.1) for his friends. Pleasing the people, the masks show that Feste can be more liked and more used for all purposes. But the identity of Feste can always be revealed through eyes. ‘Eyes show the days’;(2.3) is what Feste says. This shows the imagery of masks very well because it shows that masks can always be taken off, as easily as they are put on. By showing this, Shakespeare is allowing us to see how well developed his imagery of masking really is. Using Viola, Shakespeare shows us the development of the masking imagery.
Viola also has a mask that she dares not to reveal to anyone else, that is very well developed throughout the entire play. This helps the imagery of masks because if she were to reveal herself at any time before the end of the book, than the whole play would have been destroyed. Pulling the book together, the imagery of masks has to be very well developed in Viola. ‘Conceal me for what I am’;(1.2) tends to be the development of imagery in Viola’s case. The mask turns from a use of getting a job, to helping Orinso fall in love, to helping Orsino realize what love is. She uses ‘a division of herself’;(5.1) to help this imagery develop the masks. The mask, growing on Viola, continues to show its importance. Viola shows good use of this mask because she develops it in a way that Shakespeare would have wanted a reader to see it developed. A reader would have wanted a good development of this mask because it helps to add dilemma in the plot. Viola ‘conforms;#8230; to which’;(5.1) you want her, which also shows a good development of the masking because the reader is able to understand her on many different views and levels of knowledge. The masking is also shown to be very good in development because of how she is able to be ‘both maid…and man.’;(5.1). This