Last Monday, I had the privilege to continue my service learning at Northeast Middle with such enthusiastic, joyful children. I was able to assist the young girls and boys do some arts and crafts that taught them the valuable lessons of dealing with conflicts by trying to find good resolutions to solve them. After arts and crafts, it was time for the students to start their homework, and I thoroughly enjoyed helping them with their history homework because that is my intended major for college. I appreciate how cooperative and kind these children are, and I always make it my priority to treat them with respect and kindness, so that they know that they can ask me for assistance in anything with which they have difficulty. This whole experience has been completely rewarding for me, and it further exemplifies how I strongly desire to become a teacher and make an impact on so many people.
The play Twelfth Night by Shakespeare coincides with my service learning with respect to the fact that I should never pretend to be someone or something else that I am not. For me honesty must always be the best policy because I should always be truthful towards the students with whom I interact. In contrast, two characters in this Shakespearean play chose to live their lives with constant lying and deceit. Viola and Malvolio chose to go down precarious paths that caused complete chaos and confusion when they disguised themselves from their true, distinct identities. Viola had just survived a shipwreck when she finally arrived at Illyria. She doesn’t know what to do with her life, so she finally decides to disguise herself and her social status in order to serve the noblewoman Olivia, but after learning that Olivia isn’t seeing any visitors, she decides to work for Duke Orsino as his servant by disguising herself as a male. Immediately, Viola who now is referred to as Cesario, her male counterpart, earns a trusted position in the Duke’s heart, and has to try to persuade Olivia to finally accept the Duke’s endless pursuits. She proves her loyalty and genuine love because Viola is actually in love with the Duke herself, yet she is still willing to do this favor for him. After meeting with Olivia, Viola recognizes that Olivia is in love with her much to her chagrin.
To contribute to the chaos, Viola’s twin brother Sebastian, who was also shipwrecked on the same ship as Viola, arrives at Illyria and finds himself at Olivia’s house where he is mistaken for Cesario. Olivia proposes to him, and Sebastian obliges because her beauty enraptures him. When Viola comes to Olivia’s with the Duke, Sebastian shows up and every character is astonished by their similarities. Viola confesses her identity, and the Duke proposes to her. Even though Viola ended up fine from her lies and deceit, the trouble she caused was unfair for the other characters in the play. Malvolio also used a disguise, but with a cruel, unkind agenda. He is an uptight steward from Olivia’s house, and through scolding Maria, Olivia’s maid, about not keeping Olivia’s drunk uncle in check, he is deceived with a letter forged by Maria that he thinks is written by Olivia. This letter tells him that he must wear a crazy outfit, be rude to everyone, and smile constantly, which are all things that Olivia detests, all this in order to gain her adoration. The motivation for Malvolio is completely for greed and the power attained by marrying Olivia. He is willing to distort himself to pursue his own desires, while not caring about how he presents himself to others.
After reading Twelfth Night, I have seen how putting on a disguise and straying away from your own identity can cause conflicts to arise. It is imperative that I stay true to myself regardless of any circumstances or opinions from others. By becoming a teacher, I will have to show that I consistently maintain my identity despite influences in today’s society. My students must learn to be honest with themselves and those they interact with because deceiving others for personal gains can lead to negative outcomes and issues in the future. The most surprising and interesting thing I learned in connection with this class was how the movie She’s the Man was loosely based on this play. I was enabled to make the characters come to life from watching the movie.