‘Twelfth Night is a story of impossible love’-Discuss
Play is love but some people left loveless Malvolio, Antonio, Olivia
We instantly recognise the shallowness of the love in the following characters; all of them are easily tricked. Therefore, the idea of self-love is seen as absurd. Duke Orsino is clearly only in love with the idea of love itself and views Olivia as merely the object of his foolish love. Sir Andrew is so full of self-pity that it is almost impossible for him to love Olivia. Because Malvolio is blinded by his own self love, his apparent “love” for Olivia is presented as utter idiocy. Olivia is sparked by pride while searching for love. Even the love between Sir Toby and Maria is self-seeking Shakespeare contrasts this with the idea of true love.
Love is generally represented as something that is irresistible, spontaneous and overpowering. It is portrayed as being dangerous and something that can destroy a person, and is very difficult to get rid of. Shakespeare compares it to disease and suffering, and shows that it can cause pain. Orsino describes love dolefully as an ‘appetite’ that he needs to satisfy, but is unable to and Olivia more bluntly describes it as a ‘plague’. Even Viola who is less melodramatic sighs that ‘My state is desperate for my master’s love’. Because those who suffer from it are consumed by it and become desperate, they resort to violence to secure the love of another. For example, Sir Andrew
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, (1.4.89) Marcellus so wisely stated not knowing the precision behind his words. Various dialogue exchanged throughout the play discretely summarized events that took place. Horatio proved this point when he stated Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts, of accidental judgments, casual slaughters, of deaths put on by cunning and [forcd] cause, and in this ...
In this production, Malvolio is a woman. She is a woman who has felt secret desires that could not be revealed for fear of being outcast and ostracized. The importance of Malvolio’s role in the play cannot be over-looked. Malvolio exposes frailty and weakness. She exposes her real desires and is made to appear very foolish; even insane for doing so. Her mask of officialdom and officiousness in nature is come undone and even draws on the secret fears of the multitudes. What makes Olivia believe the lie of Malvolio’s fault is the hysteria generated by the whispering half truths and exaggerations caused by the deceptive machinations of Belch and Maria.
All this is not standard fare. The character of Malvolio is problematic in any viewing. It should be enough to provoke re-examination of the work in creating a production. What if Malvolio was a male approaching sixty years of age? What would that say of his desire for Olivia whom he knew since she was a child?
However you play it, Malvolio provokes discussion as to what the production is really about.
In the Daramalan Theatre Company production, our concern has primarily been with the notion of identity and illusion. This led to the masquerade motiff. Having seen woeful productions that offerend no explanation for the confusion of Sebastian with Viola, we had to find a reason why confusion existed. Do directors who haven’t tried to grapple with this point imagine that Shakespeare had no explanation or reason other than the twins looking similar?
Surely at a deeper level there is something to do with what makes genders express in the ways they do. What makes male and female attractive to each other! Where are the demarcations ambiguous? And what sparks fear of same sex attraction? Fear that finds expression in cultural codes of behaviour and laws? Fear that finds its way in the human creation and expression of god’s will? Do we imagine Shakespeare wasn’t concerned with issues of this nature?
And isn’t there something in the narcissus myth of males and females seeking their own reflections in the image of the other? These questions rose up when we approached Twelfth Night for a primarily young audience in 2008. Nothing is definitive. Yet all is part of a continuum. Shakespeare didn’t write science text books. We as a theatre company are not scientists. Yet we deal with a human laboritory of what makes us tick and how we relate to the universe. We try to draw on what we observe. We conceptualize. We explore through a form. We express. Nothing is taken for granted. Nothing is sacred. Everything is open for examination.
Fear has brought its way into a little town called Aqua traverse, motivating them into cold blooded kidnappers. The role of fear appears in many of the villagers in particular Michele, Felice and Pino as they show numerous areas of fear throughout the novel I’m not scared. An innocent young boy Michele takes his fears on head first and motivates himself on with his comic book character Tiger ...
The following text from a play by Giordano Bruno is instructive for our work:
“Behold in the candle borne by this Chandler, to whom I give birth, that which shall clarify certain shadows of ideas … I need not instruct you of my belief. Time gives all and takes all away; everything changes but nothing perishes. One only is immutable, eternal and ever endures, one and the same with itself. With this philosophy my spirit grows, my mind expands. Whereof, however obscure the night may be, I await the daybreak, and they who dwell in day look for night … Rejoice therefore, and keep whole, if you can, and return love for love.”
Love as a Cause of Suffering
Twelfth Night is a romantic comedy, and romantic love is the play’s main focus. Despite the fact that the play offers a happy ending, in which the various lovers find one another and achieve wedded bliss, Shakespeare shows that love can cause pain. Many of the characters seem to view love as a kind of curse, a feeling that attacks its victims suddenly and disruptively. Various characters claim to suffer painfully from being in love, or, rather, from the pangs of unrequited love. At one point, Orsino depicts love dolefully as an “appetite” that he wants to satisfy and cannot (I.i.1–3); at another point, he calls his desires “fell and cruel hounds” (I.i.21).
Olivia more bluntly describes love as a “plague” from which she suffers terribly (I.v.265).
These metaphors contain an element of violence, further painting the love-struck as victims of some random force in the universe. Even the less melodramatic Viola sighs unhappily that “My state is desperate for my master’s love” (II.ii.35).
This desperation has the potential to result in violence—as in Act V, scene i, when Orsino threatens to kill Cesario because he thinks that -Cesario has forsaken him to become Olivia’s lover.
12 th Night Explication I left no ring with her. What means this lady? Fortune forbid my outside have not charmed her! She made good view of me, indeed so much That sure methought her eyes had lost her tongue, For she did speak in starts distractedly. She loves me, sure! The cunning Twelfth Night Explication of her passion Invites me in this churlish messenger. None of my lord's ring? Why, he sent ...
Love is also exclusionary: some people achieve romantic happiness, while others do not. At the end of the play, as the happy lovers rejoice, both Malvolio and Antonio are prevented from having the objects of their desire. Malvolio, who has pursued Olivia, must ultimately face the realization that he is a fool, socially unworthy of his noble mistress. Antonio is in a more difficult situation, as social norms do not allow for the gratification of his apparently sexual attraction to Sebastian. Love, thus, cannot conquer all obstacles, and those whose desires go unfulfilled remain no less in love but feel the sting of its absence all the more severely.
We have to bear in mind that on stage, and taking into account that in Elizabethan theatre there were not women actresses, we only find boys on stage. So, although the audience (or the reader) changes the couples all the way round, there are always homosexual relationships both physical (between actors) or during the performance (in the text).
In my opinion, that was done by Shakespeare to introduce homosexual relationships on stage avoiding censorship through a very intelligent way.
The BBC Twelfth Night: Relationships Revealed
A play read and a play performed are two very different experiences: the main difference between the two is the interpretation needed for human beings to relate to each other using written lines. The natures of characters and relationships become paramount, to determine how reactions and undertones should be played. Reading the script allows comtemplating the possibilities: playing it requires making choices. The BBC production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night makes several interesting choices in how the characters behave and relate.
Sebastian and Viola, the twins around whom the comedy revolves, are the most interesting in terms of character and relationships. Whether as cause or result of the sexual confusion that forges the plot, each twin is an interesting mix of the traditionally masculine and feminine. Viola appears first, a remarkably unbedraggled shipwreck survivor, in a shapeless, sexless cloak and hood. But to enter Orsino’s court she soon dons masculine clothes, as well as the saucy behavior of the typical Shakespearean youth. Felicity Kendal’s Viola seems genuinely, even masculinely, impressed as Olivia lifts her veil, with her exclamation of “excellently done” (I.v.236), and perhaps it is partly this appreciation that spurs on Sinead Cusack’s Olivia to head-over-heels infatuation. Viola continues her saucy, unconcerned behavior even through the confusion of the ring Olivia sends after her — “Disguise, I see thou art a wickedness” (II.ii.27) and “How will this fadge?” (II.ii.33) or “What will become of this?” (II.ii.36) are said not with the pitying tone that would have been all to easy for the actress to fall into, but with a more amused, detached demeanor, a more cavalier, blustering, male attitude.
There are definitely class boundaries broken in the Twelfth Night as well. The person who most often brings out the crossing of the class boundaries is Viola (or Cesario as the case may be). Both Olivia and Orsino fall for this bright and beautiful young woman (or man). Both of these people are part of the of the upper class, while Viola a member of the lower class who has been shipwrecked in a ...
Admittedly, Viola’s feminine nature peers through her disguise as Cesario once in a while — she looks rather moonishly at Orsino during Feste’s rendition of “Come away, come away, death” (II.iv.51-66), and a bit pinched as Orsino demeans the power of “woman’s heart” (II.iv.95).
To craft for Orsino the story of “my father had a daughter lov’d a man” (II.iv.107) requires real effort on Viola’s part — we can see her struggle to reach a decision, and then to lunge back into her boyish enthusiasm with “Sir, shall I to this lady?” (II.iv.122).
And the foolery surrounding the duel with Sir Andrew Aguecheek pains her as much as is traditional: she says “I am no fighter” (III.iv.242) and speaks of the “little thing [that] would make me tell them how much I lack of a man” with the expected consternation. She reveals yet more tension in the yelp she gives when Fabian takes her shoulder on “Give ground if you see him furious” (III.iv.304) Yet Kendal’s Viola shows a tinge of boyish ire earlier, as she tears off her cap on “now I am your fool!” Is she trying to reveal herself as a woman to Olivia, only to be frustrated by Olivia’s breathless, fantasy-wrapped “I love thee so” (III.i.151) that shows the woman is still strapped into romantic blinders, unable to see her lover’s true sex? Though bold, the unsuccessful revelation seems intentional: another example of Viola’s “male” bravado.
The theme of deception runs very strong in Act One. Almost all the characters seem to either be deceiving someone, or being deceived themselves. Orsino is the first deceiver we meet. He is also being deceived, by himself. He is fooling himself by believing that he only has to tell a woman he loves her, and she will fall in love with him. He is in love with the idea of love itself. He is so ...
Sebastian, too, is a mix of traditional gender behaviors. The BBC production moves his first appearance, II.i, to after II.ii, the Malvolio-Viola ring exchange. This script change has the effect of tightening up the business with the ring by putting the two scenes which mention it back to back, but also brings into greater contrast Viola’s cavalier bluster at the end of II.ii and Sebastian’s weeping grief at the start of II.i. Long-haired, emotional, grieving Sebastian is easily viewed as somewhat feminine, particularly when paired with the devoted and apparently homosexual Antonio. Yet he shows himself a fine swordsman in his battle with Toby, and a strong one (the apparent intent of “you are well flesh’d” (IV.i.39) in this production), and falls for Olivia as soon as he sees her. Sebastian’s sweet voice and carriage continue to imply a feminine component to his nature during the puzzled gushing of IV.iii, but his happy acquiescence to Olivia’s proposal fixes him firmly within the heterosexual male world.
Orsino and Olivia prove no less intriguing in their BBC incarnations. Clive Arrindell’s Orsino is young and dashing, in clothes and behavior — is it any wonder Viola is attracted to him? Orsino diligently plays the part of the conventional Petrarchan lover, his loose open-necked shirt pulled askew and his melancholy body draped across the couches in his home. The BBC production seems to imply some homosexual overtones in Orsino’s character as well, directed at Cesario. The tenderness in “Diana’s lip / is not more smooth and rubious….” (I.iv.31-2), or “Come hither, boy. If ever thou shalt love….” (II.iv.15) betoken some sort of extraordinary regard on Orsino’s part — perhaps only “these favors” that Valentine speaks of (I.iv.1), or perhaps some more romantic attraction. But the BBC chooses to close Part I of their production with Orsino’s long and tender gaze after the departing Cesario, at the end of II.iv. Interestingly, Orsino is the only character to physically express affection to Viola after she has revealed her true sex. Viola will not embrace Sebastian until she has changed clothes, and Viola looks somewhat uncomfortable at Olivia’s exclamation of “A sister! you are she” (V.i.327), as though an embrace might be called for but still inappropriate. Yet Orsino, despite vowing to call her Cesario until she is properly clothed, tenderly kisses Viola in her masculine clothes, claiming her as “Orsino’s mistress” (V.i.388).
Love is when you can't stop thinking about her. Love is when you find yourselves holding hands and neither remembers initiating the contact. Love is when she comes over to your place and remembers a carton of milk for breakfast cereal. Love is when you find yourself having a great time clothes shopping, just because you're together. Love is when you get some great news or some sad news and the ...
Sinead Cusack’s Olivia displays some interesting interpretations as well. Her mourning for her brother seems real, but exaggerated to repel Orsino — though she seems sad on her first entrance in I.iv, and indeed wears black clothes and a veil for Cesario’s audience, she wears a dark blue gown to meet Cesario in III.i., and even lighter garments when she meets, and marries, Sebastian. Olivia obviously enjoys her repartee with Cesario in their first encounter (I.v.) — indeed, she delivers her “Yet, I suppose him [Orsino] virtuous…” (I.v.258-63) speech to keep Cesario from leaving after the harsher “I cannot love him” (I.v.257).
The close-in camera angle for Viola’s delivery of the “willow cabin” speech (I.v.268-76) increases its importance for the audience, and shows us what no doubt happens to Olivia’s attention as well, to prompt her love-struck “you might do much” (I.v.277).
Her former flirtation and wavering (despite her mourning?) have turned to full-scale infatuation. Perhaps she falls for this new assailant because Cesario is so pert and lively, not the weary, conventional Petrarchan that Orsino plays and that she has already rejected — “the old tune… is as fat and fulsome to my ear as howling after music.” (V.i.108-10).
But fall she does — she is as blinded in love as Orsino, as Viola’s attempted revelation, discussed above, and Olivia’s subsequent renewed attack and longing gaze out her window at the departing Cesario (III.i) all too clearly show.
Even the more minor characters of the BBC production have their innovative moments. Antonio the sea captain seems captured by a homosexual interest in Sebastian: his soliloquy that “I do adore thee so / That danger will seem sport, and I will go.” (II.i.47-8), the way he watches Sebastian washing himself in the fountain and the awkwardness of his offer of his purse in III.i, Antonio’s claim that Sebastian’s “image… did promise / Most venerable worth” (III.iv.362-3), his claim that “both day and night did we keep company” (V.i.96), and the way he tenderly touches Sebastian’s hair as the two are reunited, all are performed in a way to imply a romantic, even sexual relationship between the two. But Sebastian marries Olivia, and Antonio leaves dejectedly, to the sound of Feste singing how “to knaves and thieves men shut their gate” (V.i.395).
Feste himself has his character enlivened and changed by interpretation and judicious script cuts. In his first scene, I.v., the way Feste works to make Olivia smile (and succeeds), his somersaulting to her feet and laying his head in her lap so she may stroke his hair, the way he looks after her until dismissed to take care of Toby, all convey a great affection for Olivia, albeit probably not a romantic one. Yet he moves easily to the revelry of Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and Maria in II.iii, though leavening it somewhat with his melancholy, romantic tunes. Feste is welcome in Orsino’s court as well, where he sings a song of overly melancholy love to the Duke, sitting in the throne for the last verse — has the Duke become a Fool, or the Fool a Duke? — and provoking strained and self-conscious laughter from Valentine, Curio, and the other courtiers with his “melancholy god” barb (II.iv).
Feste is, indeed, so at home in every place and with all company that it does not seem unusual for him to waltz through the prison where Malvolio is chained!
Much of Feste’s banter with Cesario in III.i is cut (8-30), including his statement “I do not care for you,” and in V.i, his playful extortion of money from Orsino (counterpart to his behavior with Viola in III.i) also disappears. Feste seems to be the victim of an editorial decision to improve his character by removing greed and unpleasantness, to make him a figure of general sympathy. The BBC Feste does play along with Toby and the rest in their prank on Malvolio, even to the outrageous Czech accent for Sir Topas, but he also acts genuinely sympathetic to the imprisoned and belabored Malvolio. And after Sir Toby’s explosion of “an ass-head and a coxcomb and a knave!” (V.i.206-7), Feste takes the confused Sir Andrew’s arm to comfort him as they all exit together.
Interestingly, the canny Feste seems to have guessed, perhaps, the nature of Viola’s disguise. His delivery of “Now Jove, in his next commodity of hair, send thee a beard!” (III.i.44-5) and the way in which he takes hold of Sebastian’s figure (“Let me be clear of thee,” IV.i.15) all imply the possibility that Feste suspects her real sex. These hints may all be only results of Feste’s common familiarity, but the canny Fool Trevor Peacock plays might easily penetrate the disguise, only to find it amusing enough to keep secret.
Sir Toby and his friends receive interesting treatment too, in the hands of the BBC and its actors. Sir Toby and Maria obviously have a prior romantic relationship, making their marriage at the end of the play all the more plausible. With Toby’s first appearance in the play, he kisses Maria and she helps him take his boots off (I.iii).
Maria is not the pretty young maid of some productions, but a mature, middle-aged woman, though still well-equipped with wit — she and Feste both know the punchline to “I am resolv’d on two points” (I.iv.22-3), and repeat it together. Maria willingly joins in Toby and Andrew’s revels, dancing across the room with Toby as he kisses her on “Tilly-vally! Lady!” (II.iii.78).
She holds hands with Toby as she plans their prank on Malvolio, and sits in his lap during the discussion with Sir Andrew of Malvolio as a “puritan” (II.iii.140-153).
And Sir Toby’s leer on “Come by and by to my chamber” (IV.ii.71) implies either a marriage already (in reward for the prank, as Fabian says?) or some romantic adventures without benefit of clergy. Yet Maria is unable to reform her husband’s drunkenness, for the couple troops across the stage at the finale just in time for Feste to look at them and sing “but when I came unto my beds… with toss-pots still had drunken heads, for the rain it raineth every day” (V.i.401-4) — Toby will, apparently, always be a drunkard.
Sir Toby Belch himself is a figure of fun, an arrogant, disreputable and scheming drunkard, though likeable even in his churlishness. The number of undone buttons on his belly-strained jerkin seems an index to his drunkenness: more and more of his swollen gut protrudes as the play progresses. The financial component of Toby’s interest in Sir Andrew is obvious: as the two pay Feste for a song, Toby palms the “testril” Andrew offers (II.iii.33), making the poor knight believe he has dropped the coin. Yet Toby is moved to tears by Feste’s romantic song as much as Andrew, and his “But shall we make the welkin dance indeed?” seems a valiant attempt to raise his comrade’s spirits. He succeeds in drawing Andrew, Maria, and Feste into a riotous dance for “O’ the twelf day of December” (II.iii.84), and leads the sad, once-adored Sir Andrew gently away to further revelry.
Yet Sir Toby’s arrogance shows through as well: with even more buttons undone, Toby staggers up to Malvolio, breathing liquor fumes in his face, and huffs “Art any more than a steward?” (III.ii.114) with all the haughtiness his inebriation can muster. We forgive him only because of the comic effect on the ascetic Malvolio. The sword-fight he arranges between Andrew and Cesario is cruel, but obviously harmless — Toby himself has to pull the two together just to make them cross swords! The childish exuberance Toby and Fabian show as they get stuck in the garden door, rushing off to watch the rest of their scheme (III.iv.396) makes the old sot even more likeable. The synchronized double-take Toby, Fabian, and Feste all perform as they catch sight of Viola after leaving the fierce Sebastian is priceless, and Toby’s “I hate a drunken rogue” (V.i.201) becomes more comical than damningly self-incriminating when said to the rugged old priest as straight-man. Even Toby’s problematic abuse of Sir Andrew (V.i.206-7) is weakened — he applies the abusive terms to Fabian (“ass-head”), Feste (“coxcomb” — a Fool), and Andrew (“knave”), rather than piling all three on the latter, who, while still confused and hurt, has not been reviled as thoroughly as some productions have it.
Sir Toby’s friend Sir Andrew Aguecheek, as played by Ronnie Stevens, is a perpetually confused, if lovable, long- haired fop. His clothing, from the ruffles in his bootcuffs (I.iii) to the long feather in his red cap (III.ii), show his affectation. He tries to pass himself off as a cultivated nobleman with his French greeting (“Dieu vous garde, monsieur” III.i.71) of Cesario, only to be rebuffed by his even more learned reply (“Et vous aussi; votre serviteur” III.i.72) and reduced to a disgruntled English “I hope, sir, you are, and I am yours” (III.i.73).
Poor Sir Andrew seems perpetually confused by the verbal wordplay of those around him: he misses “to go to bed after midnight is to go to bed betimes” (II.iii.8-9), “let there be gall enough in thy ink, though thou write with a goose-pen” (III.ii.48-50), not to mention more obvious gaffes like his confused wooing of Maria as “Mistress Accost” (I.iii.52).
He is a lovable gadabout, a babe in the woods, so innocent that to justify his boast of “let me alone for swearing” (III.iv.183) he can do nothing but rumble unintelligibly — and ridiculously. He looks suitably shocked when Fabian explains the “her c’s, her u’s, and her t’s” joke (II.v.89).
Perhaps it is this sense of innocence about the drunken Toby, foolish Andrew, rustic Fabian, and pert Maria that makes them likeable, despite their scandalous actions.
Alec McCowen’s Malvolio, too, has a kind of innocence about him. He is obviously devoted to the affairs of Olivia’s household — on his first appearance, in I.v, we see him with a pen and book, presumably containing the household accounts. The BBC Malvolio looks and acts very much like Sir Andrew: both have long, pale hair, tend to mince when walking, and speak with a piping, affected accent. And both are made fools by the machinations of Sir Toby and his company. Yet Malvolio is a Sir Andrew stripped of ease and steeped in bitterness. He yearns for power and position — he dreams of marrying Olivia before he even finds the letter Maria has left for him. The overjoyed giggles he lets forth on reading the supposed love-letter, the kisses he throws and lines he recites at the puzzled Olivia, the innocent, albeit enjoyed arrogance (according to his orders, after all) he displays to Toby and the others as they plumb his “madness”, all show the same zeal Sir Andrew is all too easily fooled into displaying. Malvolio is a paragon of foolishness and haughtiness, yet we are made to feel sad for him in the end: the camera close-up on his face as his dream is crushed (“Alas, poor fool, how have they baffled thee!” V.i.370), the painful pause before his “revenge” retort, all make him a pitiable figure, though one brought down through his own faults.
The BBC production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night enlivens the already energetic script with countless other ornamentations to the characters and their relationships. Whether softening the unpleasant aspects of some characters, revealing hidden or inobvious relationships, or heightening characteristics through stage business, the production shows the richness an innovative and thorough reading can produce. The effort involved in such a reading, and the results, certainly make possible Feste’s hope that “we’ll strive to please you every day” (V.i.408).
Because the plot of Twelfth Night centers on the theme of love, so does much of its imagery. But, of course, as Shakespeare has demonstrated in other plays–tragedies and histories as well as comedies–it is not always easy to discover whom one truly loves, let alone woo him or her successfully. Moreover, although love is pleasurable, it is often painfully pleasurable. In addition, although the object of one’s affection may be within earshot, he or she may be a world away emotionally. In Twelfth Night, Shakespeare’s imagery chronicles the blissful anguish of love, the ways which love conceals or reveals itself, and the giddy joy of capturing it heart and soul. Following are examples of imagery on the theme of love:
The Painful Pleasure of Love
If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die. (1. 1. 3-5)
Duke Orsino speaks a paradox in saying that the sustainer of love, music, may become the destroyer of love.
Come away, come away, death,
And in sad cypress let me be laid;
Fly away, fly away breath;
I am slain by a fair cruel maid. (2. 4. 55)
Feste speaks a personification and an apostrophe when he addresses death, an alliteration with sad cypress, and an oxymoron with fair cruel maid.
If ever thou shalt love,
In the sweet pangs of it remember me;
For such as I am all true lovers are,
Unstaid and skittish in all motions else,
Save in the constant image of the creature
That is beloved. (2. 4. 14-19)
Duke Orsino uses an oxymoron (sweet pangs) when speaking of love.
The Transparency of the Emotions
A murderous guilt shows not itself more soon
Than love that would seem hid: love’s night is noon. (3. 1. 114-115)
Olivia speaks a paradox, saying that trying to hide feelings of love succeeds only in revealing them.
She never told her love,
But let concealment, like a worm i’ the bud,
Feed on her damask cheek: she pined in thought,
And with a green and yellow melancholy
She sat like patience on a monument,
Smiling at grief. Was not this love indeed? (2. 4. 96-101)
In a paradox, Viola says concealment of love reveals it. In similes, she compares concealment to a worm and patience to a monument. In a metaphor, she compares melancholy to an object that is green and yellow.
Love Poem Foreshadowing a Happy Ending
O mistress mine! where are you roaming?
O! stay and hear; your true love’s coming,
That can sing both high and low:
Trip no further, pretty sweeting;
Journeys end in lovers meeting,
Every wise man’s son doth know. (2. 3. 20)
In William Shakespeare’s play of Twelfth Night love is one of the main themes and therefore imagery of love, gender and sexuality accompanies it. As the characters fall in and out of love it is comical, but also with the language Shakespeare uses we are forced to examine different kinds of love and compare them to others. With the idea of love, in our society, comes the question of gender and sexuality. The play revolves around what would be a typical love triangle were it not for a little Shakespearean gender-bending. Viola, a young survivor of a shipwreck, washes up near the city of Illyria. With the help of a considerate sea captain, she disguises herself as Cesario, a manservant, in order to be admitted to the court of the duke Orsino, with whom she falls in love. However, Orsino merely uses Cesario to convey his feelings of love to Olivia, a local countess. Olivia inadvertently falls in love with Cesario and if that wasn’t complicated enough, Sebastian, Viola’s twin brother, turns up in Illyria and starts turning everything upside down. Gender is one of the most obvious and much discussed topics in the play.
Discuss the different types of love presented in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. In this essay intend to examine the theme of love in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. The theme of love is the main part o the play and is portrayed in many varying forms. For example, unrequited love, excessive love, true love, physical love, which fall under the category of romantic love. The other types of love, for example, friendship love, filial love (love for family), avarice (love for money), self – love (and also true love) fall under the category of Platonic love. I will also intend to explore the influences of time on the play and analyze Shakespeare’s language in the play. First of all I will start off by examining the different types of romantic love in the play. In Act 1,scene 1 the opening lines of Twelfth Night suggest that the play will be much about love