Twelfth Night: Character Text To Text Comparison

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Two characters that I find have similar traits are Viola, a.k.a. Cesario, from Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” and Deryn Sharp, a.k.a. Dylan, from the book “Leviathan”. They both got into similar challenges at the start of the book, with both of them getting into an accident and having someone else have to rescue them as they drifted at sea. But they are also alike in the ways that they are both intelligent and quick-witted. In Viola’s case, she discovered that Olivia liked her immediately after Malvolio “returned” her ring. She recognized all the signs of Olivia staring at her and came to that conclusion very fast as well as impressively. In Deryn’s case, it is when she crashed at the beginning of the story. When an unexpected storm crossed her path as she was in the air, she had to cut her air balloon off to avoid hitting a building. But of course, the most obvious similarity is that they both cross-dress as males to get a job or do what they enjoy. Their main goal is that they have to be sneaky to not reveal their identity, but both their personalities correspond with being witty and passionate for things they love.

Their Complicated Love Story

In Twelfth Night, as Viola began to go undercover as a man, she and Duke Orsino become very close in a matter of days. Valentine describes to Viola that “ He hath known you but three days, and already you are no stranger” (Shakespeare 1.4. 2-4), implying that they are already best friends and trust each other very much. But soon after, Viola starts to feel a romantic attraction towards him and looks at him as more than a friend. However, since she is portraying a male servant, she can not confess these feelings to him. Instead, she has to conceal her jealousy when the Duke sends her to woo Olivia on his behalf and occasionally tries to convince the duke that he deserves better when she gets the chance. She also hinted that she loved someone resembling him, but that was of little to no avail.

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Similarly, Deryn and Prince Aleksander of Hohenberg, the son of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in the book, become friends and she discovers that she harbours some feelings for him as well. At the first encounter, they were not instantly friendly and nice towards each other. Aleksander was acting as a villager when he saved Deryn from a crash, but she initially thought that he was an intruder and captures him. Once she realizes that he does not pose as a threat, they were ordered to watch over some possessions and they start to share their experiences with each other. Deryn soon uncovers the prince’s true identity but promises to keep it a secret. This results in a hug from the prince, which gave her a “tingling sensation”, realizing she might be starting to develop feelings for him. But just like in Twelfth Night, she has no choice but to act civil as revealing her true gender might put her in danger.

Standing Their Ground

Since Viola realized that she liked Duke Orsino romantically, it would be understandable if she was protective or would stand up for him. This is displayed when Olivia rejects her master, telling her that she can not love him and that he should not send any more messengers to declare his love for her. Viola, not wanting to see the Duke heartbroken, expresses her feelings when Olivia offers her some money that “My master, not myself, lacks recompense” (Shakespeare 1.5 290), meaning that the Duke is not getting the reward or love he deserved, and Viola does not need anything. Since she possesses such strong feelings for him, she stood up to his lover rejecting him because all that she wants is his happiness, even if she does not get to be the one by his side. But her speech did not get Olivia to fall in love with the Duke, but instead to fall in love with Viola, which only made this an interesting but complicated love triangle.

Deryn has shown her stubbornness from a young age when her mother and aunts disapproved of her tomboy appearance. She disregarded their opinions, however, and continued on with her aspiration of being in the British Air Service. Her persistence and determination stayed with her as she reached her teen years, proving to be of good use as she negotiates and fights with enemies during battle. As she is sailing on the Leviathan, they encounter many attacks from enemies, in which she has to assist with, and can not be a coward as she would be letting the team down. Other times when she had to be persistent was when she stood up for Aleksander. Following when Deryn made that promise with the prince, the Captain called her to report any new information she had learned about him. She lied, exclaiming that she knew nothing and she will report to him if she does find out something. If the truth was ever discovered that she had lied, Deryn could have been hanged, and Aleksander insisted on telling them his true identity. But her loyalty to her friend and stubbornness made it impossible for her to confess. She values other people first and would sacrifice her life for everyone else’s life any day.


Overall, Viola and Deryn resemble each other pretty similarly, in both their circumstances and their personalities. They are very compassionate, and not afraid to speak what is on their mind if it bothers them. But they are also loyal and intelligent, which makes them strong figures that are able to find a solution to all the conflicts that they encounter. 


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