The Fickle Nature Of Love In Shakespeare's Twelfth Night

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Love is often represented in romance films and literature as an everlasting adoration that never falters nor fades. However, Shakespeare suggests the fickle nature of love in his comedy Twelfth Night as numerous characters fall in and out of love, and experience its euphoria and misery. For instance, the lovesick Duke Orsino experiences the elation of love, yet also the loneliness of rejection; Lady Olivia instantly goes from loving grief to pursuing Cesario; and Orsino renounces his love for Olivia in order to marry Viola. Thus, through Shakespeare’s portrayal of character’s attitudes and actions in Twelfth Night, it is undeniable that he is suggesting that love is a source of joy and pain, which results in fickle affections as an attempt …show more content…
Hence, Shakespeare utilizes the emotions and actions of these personas in order to express the fickle nature of love as a result of pain. An example of an instance in which a persona displays inconstant love would be when Olivia meets Cesario for the first time. Before this encounter, Olivia devotes herself to seven years of grievance for her recently deceased brother. However, after being flattered by Orsino’s messenger, she asks, “How now? / Even so quickly may one catch the plague?”, thus revealing that she has fallen in love with Cesario (1.5.274-275). As a result, this scenario suggests that the true nature of love is unreliable as Olivia, a veiled, teary eyed woman in love with grief, quickly has a change of heart and decides instead to pursue Cesario. Furthermore, this situation depicts fickle love as a result of pain, as Olivia quickly switches from loving her brother to loving Cesario in order to rid herself of the heartache caused by her love for her dead brother, and restore the initial euphoria of being in love. In addition, the wavering nature of love is notably amplified towards the conclusion of the play, when Viola and Sebastian’s mistaken identities are clarified and Duke Orsino realizes that Cesario is in fact a woman named Viola, who has fallen in love with him. Orsino then states, “Give me thy hand, / And let me see thee in thy woman’s weeds” (5.1.263-264). In this quotation, Shakespeare proves the inconstant nature of love as a result of pain because Orsino, who was a short time ago desperately longing for Olivia’s love, has suddenly pronounced to marry Viola, whom he has never previously regarded as a potential partner, in order to free himself from the longing and pain that his love for Olivia enforced upon him. For the reasons stated above, it is

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