Critical Analysis of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night Essay

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William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is a comedy, first published in 1623. Love is a key aspect of Shakespeare’s comedies in which self-identity is found through the development of love from infatuation to acknowledgement of character. Orsino is the epitome of Shakespeare’s transformation of self. In the beginning of the play, Orsino is self-absorbed and head-over-heels for Olivia. In this stage of love we see Orsino’s infatuation and selfishness in his feelings of love. As the play moves on, Viola comes into Orsino’s life and we see glimpses of Orsino’s understanding of what love is and how a person should feel with love. By the end of the play, Orsino realizes his self worth through his love for Olivia and how love really feels to care …show more content…
After the truth comes out about Viola being a woman, Orsino seems not too surprised as he states, “Be not amazed; right noble is his blood./If this be so, as yet the glass seems true,/I shall have share in this most happy wrack” (5.1, 264-266). Orsino realizes that he is lucky in the whole situation and he will come out with the love of his best friend, Viola. He then realizes that, “Boy, thou hast said to me a thousand/times/Thou never shouldst love woman like to me” (5.1, 267-269), this shows that Orsino puts together the fact that Viola had given him clues all along that she was a woman and that she was in love with him. Orsino also realizes that woman can truly love as men do, if not more, when he says, Your master quits you; and for your service done him, So much against the mettle of your sex, So far beneath your soft and tender breeding, And since you called me master for so long, Here is my hand; you shall from this time be Your master’s mistress (5.1, 323-328). Orsino is the epitome of Shakespeare’s comedic process of realization of substance in a lover and self identity. He changes from infatuated and self interested to truly finding love and knowing his lover on a higher level than attraction. He marries his best friend, and realizes, while doing so, that women can love like men; that they are equal to men in passion. Orsino also

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