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

How does Shakespeare present the theme of love in Act 1, Scene 5 and Act 2, Scene 4?

Extracts from this document...


How does Shakespeare present the theme of love in Act 1, Scene 5 and Act 2, Scene 4? In Shakespeare's time, the idea of love was very different from what it is today. Throughout the play, he portrays the idea of courtly love, and manages to discreetly show his views and opinions on this type of love. Courtly love is a sexless relationship, where a man woos a woman. The man would ideally be lovesick, depressed and pining for the love of a woman he can't get. He would be romantic and send the woman messages of his love, putting her on a pedestal and worshipping her as if she were a goddess. The woman would be a beautiful but cruel maiden, turning down all the man's offers of love. She would be treated as a possession, wanted for her beauty, wealth or power, not for her personality. This greatly contrasts to the love of today, where both sexes are treated equally and people generally love each other for their personality. Shakespeare takes this idea and writes about the humour of it. He mocks courtly love, using different characters and language to do this. In this essay I will try to explain Shakespeare's idea of courtly love and how he exposes the falseness and humour of it in 'Twelfth Night'. ...read more.


He left this ring behind him". But her real motive for doing this is that she has fallen in love with Viola/Cesario and wants to give her a ring as a sign of her love. She has now completely reversed in her role and become the courtly lover, trying to woo Viola/Cesario. Shakespeare uses this to ridicule courtly love and show that women can have desires too. He is saying that love should not follow a formula such as that of courtly love and that both sexes should have equal roles in love. Throughout Act 2 Scene 4 Shakespeare uses Orsino to show how hopeless and depressed a courtly lover is. He demonstrates how Orsino has grown obsessed with the morals of courtly love and how he has grown to love the idea of love more than love itself. The first example of Orsino's obsession with courtly love is when he says to Viola/Cesario "For such as I am, all true loves, unstaid and skittish in all motions else, save in the constant image of the creature that is beloved". In this passage Shakespeare shows how proud and narcissistic Orsino has become. He mocks the fact that Orsino has become so fixated on the suffering of love that he deludes himself into thinking that he is a model lover. ...read more.


This is the best example of dramatic irony so far, Orsino is oblivious of the fact that Viola is a woman and that she is talking about herself. Shakespeare uses this well to create tension among the audience. Shakespeare also managed to use Viola/Cesario's remarks to befittingly end the scene. In a way Viola has now become a courtly lover and this statement is employed by Shakespeare to show how different and diverse love can be. This echoes back on the whole play as well as this section. The general message that Shakespeare is trying to convey throughout is that there are no rules in love. He is saying that you should love someone for their personality and not for their wealth, land or power. He has managed to do this in a number of ways. Mainly the idea and mocking of courtly love and also the ideas placed by Viola/Cesario of how women can love too. Different characters are used well by Shakespeare and this is how he manages to convey his ideas on love so well. The role-changing also mocks the falseness of courtly love and it appears that Shakespeare is saying that both partners should be treated equally in love. ...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. Discuss the different kinds of love presented in the play.

    Her claim however suggests she likes to call attention to herself and wants people to notice her devotion to her brother. Both of them have a superficial understanding of love. Like Orsino, Olivia's love is demonstrated through the external in this sense it is simply by her tears.

  2. The Dramatic Importance of Act 1 Scenes 1 and 2 referring to other parts ...

    for him: To pay this debt of love but to a brother, How will she love, when the rich golden shaft Hath killed the flock of all affections else... The above is also shown in Act 2 scene 4 where he again describes his strong feelings for Olivia in a similar way.

  1. Shakespeare uses this theme of different kinds of love to show the many different ...

    We can also infer that he has a love that does not go beyond himself, and hence, in some way, he is also full of self-love, pitying himself, wallowing in his own self-pity, and having a cynical depiction of love.

  2. Discuss the dramatic significance of Feste in TwelfthNight.

    a very changeable mood, so changeable that he should have matching clothes. These mood changes echoes lines, 'Enough; no more...' where Orsino sings to us of his love sickness. Feste goes on to say that he is so changeable that he would sail around the world to justify purposeless busyness and courage.

  1. In-depth Commentary on Act 1 Scene 1 In Act1 Scene1, Count Orsino of Illyria ...

    He shows these feelings for Olivia - The Countess. ''O, when mine eyes did see Olivia first, methought she purg'd the air of pestilence'' Orsino said this to Curio in Act 1, when they were talking about Olivia and how he desires to marry Olivia.

  2. Twelfth Night, Page 88, Questions 1 and 8

    own feelings rather than genuine feelings for others and Orsino is one who is exaggerated in his use of language, with similes, puns, metaphors and personification, they set the mood straight and prepare us for the type of play we are going into - a comedy that is amusing and unrealistic.

  1. Twelfth night - Analyse the different types of love introduced by Shakespeare in act ...

    We can assume that Orsino shows self-centred love as he deems himself only, he loves Olivia from a distance, but cannot go to her directly to 'Woo' her, as a substitute he sends his messenger to comfort her, it is here we distinguish his true selfish love, 'Therefore good youth, address thy gait unto her'.

  2. Twelfth Night - Analyse how Shakespeare creates tension through the setting, character and the ...

    On the other hand in Act I scene 4, Viola has disguised herself as a boy, Cesario, and has been taken into the service of Orsino. Valentine remarks that Orsino and Viola, as Cesario, have become close in short time that Viola has been employed - "...he hath known you but three days, and already you are no stranger".

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