• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

An exploration of the different types of love in Shakespeare’s “Twelfth night”. What does Shakespeare convey about the nature and variety of love in this play?

Extracts from this document...


An exploration of the different types of love in Shakespeare's "Twelfth night". What does Shakespeare convey about the nature and variety of love in this play? Shakespeare explores a great variety of themes in this play, the main one being love and its many different natures. The aim of this essay is to examine the text to discover ways in which Shakespeare portrays love using characterisation and style. Orsino is the first character to speak in "Twelfth night"; his first words are "if music be the food of love play on". The main part of his speech describing his love for Olivia is consists of refined and eloquent language, which seems to be used to impress rather than to express his feelings, he also talks more of love its self than Olivia which makes you doubtful of his sincerity: "O spirit of love, how quick and fresh thou art" "Love thoughts lie rich when canopied with bowers" He also thinks himself to be "as all true lovers are" in that the love he feels for Olivia is so intense that it is painful: "And my desires like fell and cruel hounds, E'er since pursue ...read more.


It also appears as if she almost feels obliged to morn him in this way, to keep his memory fresh; "A brother's dead love, which she would keep fresh And lasting, in her sad remembrance." This suggests that the grief is in some way an act to attract respect and attention. The language used by Valentine to describe her, in that it is eloquent and ends in a rhyming couplet, echoes this. Viola is also shown as a true lover in her love for Orsino. She is willing to sacrifice her own happiness for his and attempts to woe Olivia for him. Any other character would have tried to sway Olivia against him for selfish reasons. "My lord and master love you. O such love Could be but recompensed, though you were crowned The nonpareil of beauty" The way in which she speaks to Olivia also reveals her true love, in that she describes how she would woe Olivia were she in Orsino's place. It expresses the way she feels about Orsino and proves her to be self-sacrificing because she will not tell him, and will try and win Olivia. ...read more.


He is depicted as similar to Orsino in that he is an unrequited lover with little chance of attaining his desire. His love seems even less genuine as there is very little mention of his feelings for Olivia or even of him seeking her love. Olivia then enters the play and mentions love almost immediately when declaring to Malvolio that he is "sick of self love". The self-love Olivia mentioned is shown as another kind of love and also as a means to insert comedy into the play. Because Malvolio is so proud he is gulled by Maria's trick and thus follows humorous circumstances. Olivia seems to be as inconstant a lover as Orsino in that she immediately comes out of mourning when Viola attempts to woo her. She also transfers her affections from Olivia to her brother without realising that they are not the same person. Antonio is similar to viola in his love for Sebastian. He is devoted to him and would do anything for him with out looking for recompense, for example he gives him his purse in case he wishes to buy a trinket or toy. In conclusion I feel that Shakespeare depicts the multiple natures of love very successfully through out the play and shows strong contrasts between them. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Twelfth Night section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Twelfth Night essays

  1. Cruelty in "Twelfth Night" - an examination of Shakespeare's comedy's darker side.

    The viewer needs this, as now people have to see a thing to believe it where as in Shakespeare's time many people believed in witches and other unknown supernatural things. This is a cruel scene in that they are separated so harshly after being together laughing and having fun on

  2. Twelfth Night is a feminist play. Discuss.

    Though playful, his insights are meaningful and actually sound logical and reasonable. This can be seen from how Feste says things like, "Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage; and for turning away, let summer bear it out." It goes to show that Shakespeare still leaves the space for

  1. Discuss the different types of love presented in Twelfth Night

    This clearly shows us that his love is actually infatuation for Olivia, as none's love gets strong within just a short period of time. "O sprit of love, how quick and fresh art thou," tells us that Orsino is saying that lovers are so hungry that for their lovers that

  2. How does Shakespeare explore the theme of deception and self-deception in Twelfth Night?

    He also concretes his perspective that love should not wait as we will not be young forever; "Youth's a stuff will not endure". Although his character does not show emotions whilst playing his role in each plot; his music, which varies from melancholy ballads to contemplative, express that there is much more to Feste than meets the eye.

  1. Twelfth Night is full of echoes and parallels. Consider how these contribute to the ...

    this, not I: It is too hard a knot for me t'untie." Feste's warning that "Youth's a stuff will not endure" also relates to time and its passing. Olivia displays her conviction in the idea of fate when she instructs fate to "show thy force; ourselves we do not owe."

  2. Cruelty in "Twelfth Night"

    the ship, we are shown that she has a twin brother and so are more aware of him, and the cruelty towards them both through out the film. In the BBC film Felicity Kendall plays Viola and she is probably the most realistic of all the actors/actresses in this version

  1. What part does deception of one kind or another play in Twelfth Night?

    The other kind of deception in the play is the deception of others. Viola is undoubtedly the most deceptive of the characters, and her deception plays the greatest role in the play. Her original desire to be disguised as a man facilitates the formation of the dreaded love triangle and

  2. Examine the ways in which Shakespeare uses structure and language to dramatise the comparisons ...

    Consequentially a complicated love pattern emerges which seems to revolve entirely around Olivia. This identifies an obvious link between the two characters who's names bear quite a resemblance, while both are grieving for their lost brothers they are also both lead the main plot to continue, Olivia continuing the theme

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work