Love and Relationships in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night
William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night Among the first lines in the play Twelfth Night reveals the main theme of the play. Curio asks, “Will you go hunt, my lord?” And Duke Orsino replies, “Why, so I do, the noblest that I have. O, when mine eyes did see Olivia initially, methought she purged the air of plague; that immediate was I became a hart, and my desires, like fell and terrible hounds, e’er given that pursue me.” The Twelfth Night is all about searching the “heart,” and seeking love. Love and relationships guideline in Illyria, and are the focus of each of the characters in Twelfth Night.
There are 4 types of love in Twelfth Night: Romantic love, friendly love, brotherly love, and self love. Shakespeare also depicts all of the aspects of love: Love hurts, love is mad, love is silly, and love is sincere. The first character in the play is Duke Orsino. He appears to be incredibly, passionately in love with Olivia, who does not return his love. He claims to be terribly heart-sick and wrought with grief over Olivia. He mopes around his house, wallowing in sadness. He does this till completion of the play, where he rapidly shifts love when he learns that Cesario is truly a woman.
Orsino is not genuinely in love, however rather he loves the idea of being in love. He takes pleasure in enjoying his misery, and complaining of his aching heart. He likes that melancholy sensation that originates from unrequited love. His love for Olivia is only superficial, and he comes across as being really mentally shallow. Orsino is only a likeable character because he relates in a much different method to Viola. She brings out his genuine character, revealing that possibly he is not quite as self-indulgent as he appears. He just talks to Olivia through a messenger, and he hesitates to truly get close to a female.
It is just through Viola’s disguise that he learns more about her, which would not have actually been possible if he thought she was a female. Olivia’s character is really similar to Orsino’s. In the start, she loves grief, locking herself away from the world to struggle with expected sorrow. Olivia is as fickle as Orsino, and she quickly sets aside her dreadful sorrow when she fulfills Cesario. She falls quickly in love with Viola as Cesario, and starts pining away for him, much like Orsino pines away for her. She compares love to a plague, which is an exceptional description of the love in Twelfth Night.
It strikes without warning, and contaminates everyone, leaving pain and insanity in its wake. Olivia also quickly shifts allegiance in the end from Viola to Sebastian. She doesn’t even see that her a lot cherished spouse is a various guy than the one she fell in love with. Throughout the play, Olivia enjoys indulging her grief, first over her bro and then over Cesario. She likes feeling sorry for herself. Like Orsino, it is clear that Olivia’s romantic emotions do not run deep. Viola, disguised as Cesario, falls for Orsino.
This presents a conflict, since she is impersonated a guy, and Orsino is uninformed that she is a female. Olivia is likewise in love with Viola as Cesario, which deepens her conflict. She can’t inform Orsino how she feels about him, and she can’t give Olivia a reason that she can’t enjoy her. Viola’s love is the purest in the story. She sincerely enjoys Orsino, and does so throughout the play. Where the rest of the characters like is unpredictable, hers is unfaltering. She is the only one who appears to be genuinely in love. She also likes her sibling deeply, and he reciprocates the same love.
Her bro’s character, Sebastian, does not have much advancement, and appears to only take on the qualities that she casts off when she is all set to eliminate her camouflage. Sebastian seems just to be the male aspect of Viola’s personality. Orsino and Olivia essentially wind up weding male and female versions of the very same individual. Malvolio, Olivia’s steward, daydreams about weding her. He does not like her though; he enjoys her position of power. He has a strong desire to rise above his social status, and sees Olivia as the method to do it.
Malvolio is stuffy, severe, and clearly in love with himself. He is really proud, and though he is just a steward, sets himself high above the remainder of the people in the household. He daydreams about running your house, and buying everybody else around. His dour, prideful mindset earns him the refuse of the rest of Olivia’s household. His pride triggers him to be very gullible, due to the fact that he never ever questions for a second that Olivia loves him. Malvolio is trying to rise above his place in society, which was nearly unacceptable in Shakespeare’s time, and he is thoroughly penalized for it.
Malvolio is worthy of the humiliation that he gets, but his penalty is excessive and does not fit with the crime. He is locked in a dark room and everyone tries to persuade him that he seethes. The audience feels sorry for him, because he is completely maltreated. Even when he is launched, no one asks forgiveness to him for what they did, and he exits declaring, “I’ll be revenged on the entire pack of you.” This is extremely unsettling compared to the happy ending of the remainder of the play, because there is no closure for Malvolio.
Malvolio seems to be the character in the play that needs to suffer so that everyone else can be jubilant; informing us that even dream worlds like Illyria are not best since there is still somebody suffering. The comedians in the play, Maria and Sir Toby strike up a relationship built upon friendly love. Throughout the play, Sir Toby often admires Maria, who is his partner in criminal activity. They are both very clever, so they make an ideal match. Maria’s fast thinking and sharp wit enable her to prosper at rising above her social class while Malvolio stopped working.
Her good friend, Sir Toby, was continuously impressed with her mastery of mischief. They are close mates throughout the play, so it is no surprise when they elope at the end. Sir Toby and Maria do reveal a little regret about their joke on Malvolio going too far, so they are forgiven and enabled to share in the pleased ending. There is also a really close friendship between Sebastian, and his rescuer, Antonio. Antonio professes his love for Sebastian, and mistakenly gives away all of his cash. He follows Sebastian into a town where he will surely deal with threat, since he can not stand to be far from Sebastian.
Sadly, it is explained that this type of homosexual love is not invite worldwide of Illyria, where everybody pairs off in traditional marital relationships. Antonio is deserted by Sebastian at the end of the play, and like Malvolio, there is no delighted ending or resolution for him. Shakespeare makes it clear that this sort of love, like self-love, does not have a location in Illyria. William Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night has a timeless quality, which is why it continues to be one of his most popular funnies even today.
Shakespeare explores every element of love, which is a universal emotion. It is an integral part of human life, and it is something that everyone can relate to. Although the play appears to end on a high note, Feste’s final tune is rather major. It is a tune about growing up and discovering the cruelty of life. We gain from Shakespeare that love does not conquer all challenges, and not everyone gets a delighted, fairy tale ending. All happy things come to and end, and eventually we need to face the more serious aspects of life.