Theme of Love in the Twelfth Nights by William Shakespeare
Love has become dominant in the modern society and has come to conquer everything. It has been explained as the most inspiring emotion known to human. Ordinarily, facets of human philosophy that provide pleasure are normally complemented with anguish and distress, and love is no exception. There are various types of love being experienced in the society today; such as familial love, which comes unreservedly, romantic love between lovers and love between friends which develops out of respect. In the Twelfth Night many characters have experienced different type of love. These types of loves include romantic, brotherly and familial love. Theme of love has been expressed consistently in the play, but it is more intense at the final scene of the play. William Shakespeare has shown how intense love generates exclusivity, violence and progressive distress (Shakespeare & Donno 35).
The Twelfth Night has lots of love triangles. Nevertheless, many of the characters in the play who are snarled up in the web of affection are too blind to realize that their feelings and emotions towards other characters in the play are fictional. However, there are instances in the Twelfth Night, where the feelings for love are real, and people are intertwined in the web of love they feels towards each other. Viola’s love towards Orsino is a good example of how true love is expressed in the play. Even though she is pretending to be a young man, she is truly hopeful to win Duke’s heart. In the scene 4 of the play, Viola reveals her true affectionate feelings for Cesario, “yet a barful conflict! Whoe’er I court myself would be his spouse”. This speech becomes real when true identity of Viola is no longer a mystery. The great friendship between Viola and Orsino has made it the switch to husband and wife to be easy. Viola has also been caught in another true love instance. In her attempt to court Olivia for Orsino, Olivia ended up to love Cessario. This made Viola to be caught in an awful situation that threatens her chances with Orsino. However, it is surprising to see Olivia falling for a woman dressed as a man (Shakespeare & Donno 35).
The loving emotions are normally exclusive. In the modern society people either accomplish romantic pleasure or remain abandoned and melancholic. This notion has been represented successfully in the Twelfth Night. Whilst all the new lovers in the play rejoice their excitement, Malvolio, the Olivia’s servant, is left in remarkable emotional anguish. He examines Olivia from the commencement of the entire story and thought that she would return his love. Malvolio’s disappointment is revealed in his statement, “Why have you suffered me to be imprisoned, kept in a dark house, visited by the priest, and made the most notorious geck and gull? Tell me why”. He is referring to the suffering caused to him by Sir Toby. In addition, he reveals the agony provoked by her deceptive affection. The theme of love exclusivity is also revealed in this play through Antonio. He apparently falls in love with Sebastian from their first meeting. He continuously follows him as the play progresses. When Antonia says, “Nor are you there, by my existence, betrayed. / You are affianced both to a man and maid”. This hurts Antonio’s fundamental passion. It causes severe emotional anguish to Antonio (Shakespeare & Lott 58).
The other instance of true love in the Twelfth Night is less romantic and intimate in scale. It is more family oriented. Love between Sebastian and Viola is the bond that is felt by all siblings. They have loved each other through the times of mourning and sorrow for each of their apparent deaths. They believed that by some miracles each of them was still alive. In modern society most people love themselves more than anything else. The Twelfth Night reveals the theme of self-love and how it shakes lives of the characters. In this play Malvolio has been revealed as a character with the issue of self-love. He essentially views himself as a noble and handsome man. He also believes that most women would love him. This makes him view things from only one perspective and he deceives himself in order to suit his outlook on the circumstances. For instance, he twists the words from Olivia and makes them sound as if she is admiring his cross-gartered yellow stockings he is wearing. Others in the play with the issue of self-love include Sir Toby, who only cares for himself alone, and not even for a friend. Olivia does not care for people around, and believes that no man is eminently worthy of her beauty (Shakespeare & Lott 58).
William Shakespeare further reveals the notion of long lasting and recurring pain produced by love. In the play Orsino has been using Viola to express his affectionate feelings towards Olivia. Amusingly, both characters experience similar painful emotions triggered by their passions. This is revealed when Viola states, “Hath for your love as great a pang of heart / as you have for Olivia; you cannot lover her”. This statement expresses Viola’s feelings indirectly by the use of phrases such as “some lady” and “perhaps there is”. These actions that appear in the entire play show how unendurable the unfulfilled passion can be (Shakespeare & Lothian 79).
The Twelfth Night shows the misfortune and distress that love accompanies, which is one of the most fundamental themes in all literature work. The play effectively epitomizes the play and explicates its utmost motives, the love as the cause of suffering. William Shakespeare has addressed the issue of self and true love in an intriguing and compelling way. Everyone deserves a little bit of love, and the play Twelfth Night is a true definition of love (Shakespeare & Lothian 79).
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