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Shakespeare uses this theme of different kinds of love to show the many different situations that can arise from these different kinds of love, and henceforth lead the audience to think deeper and ponder upon the wonders of the different kinds of love....

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Discuss the different kinds of love presented in the play. Twelfth Night, in itself, portrays many hidden meanings and themes that speak out to different people, in different ways. Shakespeare makes use of the many characters, and choreographs different steps and creates relationships and the plot, and sub-plot, to make Twelfth Night complete, with its many themes. One of the central messages of this play is prominently, love. With this main theme, Shakespeare creates an interesting plot and sub-plot, to entertain, and also provoke his audience to think hard, and allow them to decide for themselves, which kind of love is one that they would choose in their own lives. Different kinds of love, such as in love with the idea of love, imaginary love, self-indulgent love, self-love, or true, sacrificial love are displayed in this play. Shakespeare uses this theme of different kinds of love to show the many different situations that can arise from these different kinds of love, and henceforth lead the audience to think deeper and ponder upon the wonders of the different kinds of love. "What you will", could probably be speaking out to the audience as well, to carefully think about which type of love impresses upon them most, and allow the audience to choose for themselves, what applies to them the most. One of the main types of love portrayed would be romantic love. Romantic love is shown between many of the characters, in comparable ways, yet unique in each of their own portrayals. From Orsino's superficial, transient love or infatuation for Olivia, to Olivia's fleeting and overwhelming love at first sight for Cesario (Viola), to Viola's true, sincere and sacrificial love for Orsino, we can surely see the importance of love in the play. Through these three types of romantic love, Shakespeare creates a love triangle involving the three, and creates a plot that is complex, yet entertaining at the same moment. ...read more.


In comparison, Olivia's love towards Cesario (Viola), is that of love at first sight. Within a few questions about Cesario, Olivia gains interest in this messenger of Orsino. The kind of questions she asks implies the kind of love she would portray. "What kind o'man is he?", "What manner of man?", "Of what personage and years is he?", we can see that she looks on the surface, and emphasizes on the person's age and looks. This hence shows that the love she could give would be superficial and on the surface. When Cesario finally gains entry, Olivia thrusts her with questions about Cesario, "Whence came you, sir?", "What is your parentage" and other questions. Olivia gradually turns her short interest into overwhelming love for Cesario. From, "You might do much", which implies that she feels that Cesario is too intense, and is overwhelming her, we can see that Olivia is growing in her intensifying affections for Cesario. Also, in her soliloquy, she repeats to herself, her questions towards Cesario, and Cesario's answers. Moreover, from "Thy tongue (wit), thy face (looks), thy limbs (body), actions (behaviour) and spirit (passion)/Do give thee fivefold blazon. Not too fast! Soft soft -" From thus, we can see that she has already fallen in love with Cesario. From, "Not too fast! Soft soft -" we can also infer that she is now in a dilemma, as she is supposedly in mourning for her dead brother, yet she is falling in love with Cesario. Finally, she decides, "Well, let it be!", and shows that she is indeed attracted to Cesario. This love portrayed is rather superficial, as she is dependent on the looks and outer appearance and falls in love with Cesario at first sight. Furthermore, she implies in her own soliloquy, "Mine eye too great a flatterer for my mind", suggesting that she is led by what she sees, which thus further emphasizes on how her love is superficial. ...read more.


He also calls Olivia "Madonna" several times in this scene, Act 1 Scene 5. We can infer that it is sarcastic and implies that Olivia is pretentious and fake, for Madonna gives an impression of saintly and holy, and obviously, no one can be holy. Thus, Feste uses the name "Madonna" on Olivia to indirectly insult her pretentious self, seeking for attention and pity. From hence, we can see that she wants to bring attention to herself, and hence is full of self-adoration too. In this case, Shakespeare inputs this nature of self-love in Olivia, and contrasts it with other characters such as Sir Andrew, Sir Toby, Malvolio and Orsino. We can see a great similarity between Olivia and Orsino. Both have a superficial and surface idea of love, and are often exaggerative and excessive in their ways and actions. Also, they are self-centred in the way that they focus more about their own emotions and feelings, wallowing in self-pity. From hence, we can see the comparison between the two. Also, Shakespeare creates an irony whereby Olivia is the one that says that Malvolio is "sick of self-love", when she, herself is guilty of the same thing. All in all, Shakespeare gives his audience an idea on how self-love can lead to many unforeseen consequences, and is often born of pure conceit and pride, or self-delusion or just foolish vanity. In conclusion, Twelfth Night is a play driven by love, with the theme of love recurring through out the play. Shakespeare brings out the different kinds of love in various characters, and implants a unique purpose in each character to emphasize and imply the different kinds of love and ideas he wants to introduce to his audience. Several of the characters are bound in love, be it romantic love, self-love, platonic love, love between siblings, or the greatest love of all (Viola's in this case), we can see it brought out in each character. All in all, there are different kinds of love presented in Twelfth Night, in the plot and sub-plot, in the main characters and minor characters. ...read more.

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