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In the play ‘Twelfth Night’, Shakespeare bases the plot around a variety of different themes

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Introduction

In the play 'Twelfth Night', Shakespeare bases the plot around a variety of different themes. The themes of disguise, music, loss and death are subtly introduced, however, the main theme of love is dramatically introduced by Orsino's first line; 'If music be the food of love play on'. As well as using a variety of themes, 'Twelfth Night' incorporates the different kinds of love that can have an effect on people. These types of love range from brotherly love to instantaneous love and from unrequited love to impossible love. The use of the theme of love enables almost everybody to relate to events in the play. Love evokes a number of emotions and is a main ingredient, which brings comedy into the play. In Act 1:1 we see Olivia's reaction to the death of her brother. Olivia takes grieving very seriously; '...she hath abjured herself from the sight and company of men', and takes a vow of chastity. She plans to mourn her brother for seven years and she hides herself from the world; 'But like a cloisters she will veil�d walk'. Olivia chooses to dwell on her loss and her strict mourning period could be seen as selfish as life must go on. However, Olivia uses her brother's death to shut herself away from life. In Act 1:5 Feste tries to prove Olivia a fool for taking her mourning period to such an extent. ...read more.

Middle

It is in Act 2:2when Malvolio confronts Viola with the ring, Viola realises that Olivia loves her; 'She loves me sure; the cunning of her passion, Invites me in this churlish messenger.' Instantaneous love is also introduced when Olivia and Sebastian meet, when she tries to prevent Sir Toby from drawing sword on whom she believes to be Cesario. Sebastian immediately falls in love with Olivia; 'If it be thus a dream, still let me sleep!' and despite her calling him Cesario, agrees to marry her. Although Orsino loves Olivia for her outward appearance he also falls for Cesario's inner character. He appreciates Viola/Cersario's trustworthy character and after only a short period of time a strong bond ahs between the two; 'I have unclasped to thee my secret soul'. In Act 1:5 Orsino comments on Viola's womanly attributes and nature; 'Diana's lip is not more smooth and rubious; thy small pipe is as the maiden's organ shrill and sound'. This is a good example of irony as Orsino is not yet aware that Viola/Cesario is actually a woman. After spending much time alone with Orsino, Viola falls in love. Her feelings start to fester, as she can't express her love due to her disguise; 'But let concealment like a worm i'th' bud Feed on her damask cheek'. Viola is very subtle about her feelings towards Orsino yet she cleverly and indirectly tells him that she loves him; 'As it may be perhaps, were I a woman, I should your lordship.' ...read more.

Conclusion

The formulating plan to 'gull' Malvolio strengthens Maria and Toby's relationship; 'I could marry that wench for this device'. Toby refers to Maria using comic comparisons, 'she is a beagle true bred' and 'good night Penthesila', commenting on her diminutive size. In Act 2:5 Toby greet Maria with; 'How now, my metal of India?' proving that he thinks highly of her, comparing her to pure gold. We see how far their relationship has progressed when in Act 5:1 Fabian informs the characters; 'Maria writ the letter, at Sir Toby's great importance, In recompense whereof he hath married her'. The most memorable example of love in the play is that of Orsino's for Viola. Not only does the idea of a man falling for 'another man' add comedy value to the play, it also provides some touching heart rendering scenes. Many of these scenes evoke sympathy towards Viola as she can't express her returned feeling for Orsino due to her disguise; 'my father had a daughter loved a man as it might be perhaps, where I a woman I should your lordship'. In Twelfth Night the theme of love brings comedy to the play and evokes a number of feelings such a sympathy, wonder, confusion and of course laughter. It also confronts issues, which many people can relate to, making Twelfth Night a fun and memorable play. ?? ?? ?? ?? 28/04/2007 Response to Shakespeare: Essay to examine the theme of love in 'Twelfth Night' Centre No: Broughton Hall High School ...read more.

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