In “Twelfth Night”, Shakespeare explores several different kinds of love

“If music be the food of love, play on”- Duke Orsino.

Here, Orsino expresses his love. This quote is saying that you cant live without food, and to live without love is the same as living without food- you can’t. This shows how much love means to Orsino, and how strong it is. It is the opening sentence to Twelfth Night. He is in love with Olivia. This is the first type of love we are introduced to, of the many loves of this book. It is unrequited love. Unrequited love in this book is spoken of with great detail and passion from the users behind them. It is spoken beautifully and about beautiful things, with a great sense of happiness while thinking of the person they are in love with. The speaker may show their sensitive, emotional side. Orsino does this as he says:

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

“…like the sweet sound, that breathes upon a bank of violets- stealing and giving odour…”

This quote shows that Orsino is in really deep thought, and anything beautiful which comes to mind, he compares it to that of Olivia. This shows that he

thinks Olivia is beautiful to compare her to things like this. Orsino would have been a very popular character as he is a loving and imaginative with words. In Elizabethan times, this would have been very popular, compared to our modern times as now, many people may think that Orsino is love sick and that he should get on with his life instead of moping around after some girl.

“O spirit of love, how quick and fresh art thou”

This shows the sensitivity of Orsinos character (which love may have done to him) and shows that his colourful language indicates his social status. Unrequited love can be a love of many different emotions. It can cause the person to feel physically attracted to another person, emotionally attracted, jealousy, happiness and sadness. One very good example of unrequited love is in the love triangle between Orsino, Viola and Olivia. Orsino is in love with Olivia, she, in love with Viola, who at the time they met was currently dressed in disguise as a boy called Cesario, and Viola in love with Orsino. Each love for each other is different, in ways which they are expressed and felt.

Viola’s love is different, as she really knows the personality of Orsino and has not fallen for him, just for his looks.

“Whoe’er I woo, myself would be his wife!”

This is showing that Viola says that if she was Olivia, and was being wooed by Orsino the way he is, then she would fall in love with him. This shows that Viola knows how much Orsino is trying to impress Olivia, as she gets told what he’s going to do and how and what he really thinks of Olivia. These show that Viola is wishful thinking, and is wishing that Orsino were wooing her instead. She became quite close to Orsino as she was dressed up in disguise as Cesario. Orsino was very close friends with Cesario, and confided in him for everything. Especially about Olivia.

“Thou know’st no less but all- I have unclasped thee the book even of my secret soul.”

Orsino is confiding in Cesario, asking him what he should do as he has done everything to try and woo Olivia, and wants to know what he should do now. Cesario advises saying

“If she be so abandoned to her sorrow, As it is spoke, she never will admit me.”

Violas love is different as she has not fallen for Orsino for just his looks, or because he has a mistaken identity, she not only loves him, but also is in love with him. Viola’s love is repressed for Orsino, but she handles this and gets on with her life as normal, even though she is around Orsino all the time. She also copes very well as Orsino is constantly telling “Cesario” of his love for Olivia, which could be heartbreaking for Viola to hear.

This is where we come on to another type of love. Orsinos love for Olivia is slightly different, as he does not know what she is really like as he does not know her personally. He has only admired her from afar. This love could be more lust. Orsino speaks of his love as true for Olivia,

“Methought she purged the air of pestilence”

Orsino even says here that his love was love at first sight, but this isn’t really the case. If it were true love, he would have known Olivia beforehand, and so not just falling in love for her looks, but who she really is. In the book, he is in love with Olivia’s looks. We also know that this infatuation of Orsinos is not really that true as at the end of the play, his affections are transferred to Viola from Olivia. Showing that if he really loved Olivia, he could not suddenly fall in love with someone else that soon. A person thinking they are in love with people by only their looks is common in Twelfth Night.

Sebastian (Viola’s brother) falls in love with Olivia. He partly falls in love with the way she acts around him. Olivia thinks Sebastian is Cesario (As Viola is Sebastian’s twin, so when she dresses up as a man, she looks just like him) and because Olivia is in love with Cesario, she starts to treat Sebastian as if he were Cesario. Sebastian is overwhelmed as to him; some beautiful girl he has never met is being very kind and loving towards him. He shows his delight as he says

“Or I am mad, or else this is a dream”

He thinks he is dreaming, as this is too good to be true. After all this, Sebastian now thinks he is in love with Olivia. Because both of them were suddenly swept up in this love, they went ahead and got married. Sebastian is swept away by Olivia’s looks and charm, and Olivia thinks she is marrying someone else. This is mistaken identity.

There is another case of mistaken identity in “Twelfth Night”. The example of this is between Olivia and Cesario. There is use of dramatic irony here, as the audience really knows that Cesario, is in fact Viola. Unfortunately for Olivia, Cesario is actually Viola dressed up. Olivia thinks that Cesario is a young boy who speaks very well and she thinks he is a sensitive character. Cesario was used by Orsino to pass messages on and to find out information about Olivia. This is how Olivia came to meet Cesario. Cesario starts to talk to Olivia, which was pleasing and good for her to hear.

“Most radiant, exquisite, and unmatchable beauty…I pray you tell me if this be the lady of the house, for I never saw her. I would loath to cast away my speech- for besides that it is excellently well penned, I have taken great pains to con it. Good beauties, let me sustain no scorn; I am very compatible, even to the least sinister usage.”

Dramatic Irony is then used again, as we very well know that Viola does know that Olivia is the lady of the house. As Viola says here, she complements Olivia, making her take notice to Cesario. Olivia would be pleased by what she just heard, as Viola knows that if she was told this, then she too would be complemented, and so says it to grab Olivia’s attention. Olivia thinks that Cesario has a lot of wisdom for his age and that he understands women, whereas Cesario is really a women- Viola, and is speaking from the heart- she understands women, obviously because she is one herself, so she knows what they like to hear, and how a women’s mind works. This is unfortunate for Olivia as she falls in love with this character, merely one that Viola has created. Olivia thinks she has fell in love with this wonderful young man who is sensitive and can understand a women. This love that Olivia has is misguided and untrue.

There is sibling love in Twelfth Night. This is between Sebastian and Viola. They are both in worry for each other because they both think that the other is dead.

“My brother he is in Elysium- Perchance he is not drowned”

Viola wonders if her brother did not drown, but the idea that he might have, is put in her head as it is suggested that maybe Viola was the one who was spared, and that the other one, Sebastian, drowned. As is suggested here.

“It is perchance that you yourself were saved”

Sebastian thinks Viola has died:

“I am yet so near the manners of my mother”

This quote shows that Sebastian is very upset about his sister-hence the mother part as this means he is near crying, like a women. The word “mother” also meant “hysteria” which shows that Sebastian is very upset. Their love is different as from the previous loves as theirs is family love. They have known each other from the moment they were born, and because they are twins, their love for each other is a much stronger bond. Their love for each other is also different because they do not have a sexual desire or passion towards each other (obviously as they are brother and sister) but it is a relation love. They are brought up almost as they are meant to love each other- not because they choose to. Their love for each other is different, as they will love each other no matter what, even though they will have many arguments. Even though they are apart, they still continue to speak of each other in a loving way, as they are brother and sister.

There is a love of friendship in Twelfth Night. There is friendship between Cesario and Orsino. They have a very close friendship as Orsino confides in Cesario a lot when he needs advice of when he needs to talk to someone in private. They care for each other as friends and enjoy each other’s company. This can also be said for Maria and Sir Toby. The love of friendship is different to the previous loves as there is no sexual desire of true love, and there is no love of a relation. Friends understand each other and share the same interests. They can be totally relaxed around each other. Friends care for each other and look after each other. As we can see here

“That quaffing and drinking will undo you”

Maria is advising Sir Toby on what will happen if he keeps on drinking. She is telling him this, as she doesn’t want to lose him. This shows Maria’s love for Sir Toby, her friend. Maria and Sir Toby share lots of fun laughter with each other, as they are always joking around, and playing jokes on everyone and on each other. This also shows their love for each other as they can laugh around and be silly, and they are not shy around each other. This may happen in the previous types of love, but it happens between friends, showing that there is love there as well.

There is also another love between Maria and Sir Toby, which is denied love. Maria is in love with Sir Toby and Sir Toby in love with Maria. Sir Toby refuses to accept that he is in love with Maria, and so denies it. To help him do this, he drinks excessively all the time.

There is a link between love and madness in the book, as a lot of the time, when something crazy is done, it usually has something to do with love. For example, love takes over the mind when Sebastian and Olivia marry. Sebastian totally forgets that he has only known this women for a very short period of time, and Olivia rushes into marriage, without the thought that this could be a big mistake, as she too, even though has know Cesario a while longer, is no where near enough time to be thinking of marriage. The big mistake is that she has not realised that Cesario is indeed Sebastian, and therefore, Olivia is marrying the wrong person, on the intentions that she thinks this person is someone else.

There is a different type of link between love and madness as Maria and Sir Toby, they are friends, but cause a lot of madness, as they are always joking around and playing practical jokes. There was one joke that was played on Malvolio. He was tricked into thinking Olivia was in love with him, and when things are about love, the mind can be frail. And if there is a slight clue that someone may be in love with you, then it can grow out of proportion. And can be easily mistaken. Malvolio was made a fool of, by Maria and Sir Toby.

This caused madness as not only did Maria and Sir Toby think this was hilarious that Malvolio had fell for their joke, but caused Malvolio to do stupid things, which caused great laughter throughout the book. Elizabethan audience would have found this very amusing as to see Malvolio in a pair of yellow stockings on stage would have been rather funny! Sir Toby continues the fooling around with Sir Andrew Aguecheek as the love connection here is between Sir Toby and Sir Andrew Aguecheeks money. Sir Toby doe not like Sir Andrew Aguecheek, but uses him for his money, and in the process, decides to fool around. Sir Toby says that Sir Andrew is very good in his skill of languages. Sir Toby then tests Sir Andrew by saying

“Pourquoi, my dear knight?”

Using a French word, Sir Toby knows very well that Sir Andrew will not understand. Sir Andrew then feels like a fool as he doesn’t understand, and realising Sir Andrew has become offended by this, Sir Toby quickly makes up by saying

“Then hadst thou had an excellent head of hair”

This suggests that Sir Toby knows that Sir Andrew is not that greater looking, and decides to pick up on it, and amusing himself at the same time. He is saying that maybe the only decent thing about Sir Andrew is his hair and that it is straight! There is madness as Sir Toby and Sir Andrew are always dancing around and singing, which would have surely been funny on stage, amusing the Elizabethan audience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


I'm Sam!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out