Twelfth Night Love Analysis

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While many people view love as a state of bliss and carefree enjoyment, those entangled in a hopeless situation yearn to escape its cruel grasp. When loves ensnares someone, he or she often acts uncontrollably and thinks delirious thoughts. Shakespeare explores the ridiculous responses to love through a hopeless love triangle in his play Twelfth Night. At the beginning of the play, Count Orsino of Illyria mopes around his home and pines for the grieving lady Olivia by sending messengers to her to express his feelings. Viola arrives on the island due to a shipwreck, and enters Orsino’s household as a servant under the disguise of a eunuch named Cesario. She begins to break Orsino out of his self-involved shell, but he never undergoes an obvious …show more content…
During the first scene, Duke Orsino expresses the idea of love 's excess: “If music be the food of love, play on;/ Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,/ The appetite may sicken, and so die.” (1.1.1-3). Orsino is sick with love for lady Olivia, who vows to mourn for her dead brother for seven years. In his chamber, he listens to the court musicians perform a love song. Bidding them to play on, he hopes the music will increase his feeling of love until he is sick of it. He believes that overindulgence will break the obsession, and thus release him from the pain of unanswered affection. At last, he orders the music to stop, judging that it is not as sweet as when it first began: he grew sick of the music but not love. Orsino cannot imagine a limit to love’s capacity. In his next metaphor, he compares love’s capacity with the sea: “O spirit of love, how quick and fresh art thou,/ That, notwithstanding thy capacity/ Receiveth as the sea” (1.1.9-11). Like the sea that ceases to rise no matter how much water rivers and rain add, Orsino’s love for Olivia cannot overflow, regardless of the amount of passion he pours into her. He acknowledges that as the sea level changes with the rise and fall of the tides, love behaves likewise without changing capacity. After he finishes his speech, his messenger Valentine arrives to announce that Olivia refuses company because she is still in mourning after the death of her brother. Orsino is content to wait, but vows that he will not abandon his quest for Olivia’s

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