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Viola Viola is one of Shakespeares most charming and admirable heroines and certainly the most sympathetic of the major serious characters Orsino Olivia and herself in Twelfth Night Though shes forced to disguise herself as a page for safetys sake shes apparently as well-born as Olivia is - the daughter of Sebastian of Messaline a highly-placed nobleman in his own land Shes also very attractive physically - which can be inferred from the fact that even in male attire shes graceful enough for Orsino to comment on her good looks But perhaps the most attractive aspect of Viola - to a modern audience at least - is her vigorous good-humored unpretentious personality Unlike Olivia whose counterpart and opposite she is she makes no melodramatic plans to mourn her brothers apparent death with extravagant gestures Instead her grief is quiet deep sincere - and tinged with hope that Sebastian may still be alive Furthermore finding herself in a difficult perhaps compromising position in a strange country she spends little time bemoaning the harshness of her fate but immediately sets to work with characteristic practical energy to figure out a way to improve her situation When she enters Orsinos service her talent wit and good looks quickly captivate him just as soon after when shes sent to woo Olivia these qualities also entrance the Countess Indeed in almost every scene in which she appears - whether shes jesting with Feste quietly philosophizing with Orsino or gracefully flattering Olivia-Violas courtly skill and down-to-earth charm are clearly evident Most of all when she herself falls deeply and apparently hopelessly in love with Orsino though she feels very strongly the frustration and pain of her position disguised as a boy but perfectly able to love like a woman her justifiable melancholy is neither extravagant like Olivias nor egotistical like Orsinos She does her best at all times to conceal it and we cant help respecting her for her
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