The Role Of Love In Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night'

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In Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare, characters are gendered in the way they speak about love, as male characters, such as Orsino, articulate about love in a tactical and orchestrated way, while female characters, such as Viola, speak about love freely and off the cuff. These display of love, convey that male characters in the play view love as a goal that must be achieved and to do so must plan how to gain love. However for female characters love is a consequence of character and actions, it is not the goal for the female character to fall in love but rather, love just happens.
If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken and so die.
That strain again, it had a dying fall.
O, it
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“Give me excess of it that, sufeiting, the appetite may sicken and so die.” To Orsino 's love is both the vain and the reason of his existence, he hates the turmoil that comes from love but enjoys the emotions love brings him. To gain love you must have both the good and the bad. However Orsino wants love so badly that he calculates the ways to obtain it, he writes poems and marks his words with both poise and meaning. To Orsino 's love is a game he must strategize to win, it is a hunt and a challenge, as he is both the hunter and the …show more content…
1.1 17-22
By using the word “hart” Orsino is not only comparing himself to a deer that is hunted for game, but his “heart” as well is hunted by his desire to obtain Olivia’s love. Much like a hunter, Orsino must strategize to gain the object of his desire and in doing so must plan and calculate how to win Olivia affection, so his desires may cool and will no longer be the cruel and vicious hounds he has to describe them to be. However Orsino action conflict with his words, while his words display his desire to claim Olivia for his own, he prefers to stay home and complain about his broken heart and wish for the suffering it afflicts on him to end, than to actively campaign for Olivia’s love.
However, for the female characters in the play, love is pure and desirable when it is not calculated and planned out, but rather comes freely and unexpectedly. In Viola speech, while she is disguised as Cesario, she describes to Olivia what he would do if he were in love with her.
Make me a willow cabin at your gate
And call upon my soul within the house,
Write loyal cantons of contemnèd

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