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

Comparison between the two heroines of the play "Twelfth Night"(by William Shakespeare): Olivia and Viola.

Extracts from this document...


Despite being the two "heroines" of the play, caught up in matters of love, Viola and Olivia could not have been more different. We do not immediately meet Olivia, but are introduced to her through Duke Orsino, who describes her breathtaking beauty. Then, Valentine, who has been sent to woo Olivia for the Duke, comes back with the message that Olivia has gone into mourning for seven years during which time she will veil her face and show it to no man. While it must be remembered that Olivia has lost her entire family within twelve months, it is neither practical nor sensible for a young beauty like Olivia to go into mourning for seven years. ...read more.


In matters of love, too, Viola is to be admired. She loves Duke Orsino, and it is true that she is sometimes frustrated at not being able to declare her love for him. However, not only does she refrain from revealing her true identity, she is extremely loyal. Despite her love for Orsino, she fulfills her duty as a page to the best of her abilities- she tries to convince Olivia to love the Duke, by giving her examples of his passion. But she keeps her love a secret, and sometimes is indeed like "Patience on a monument". On the other hand, Olivia is almost selfish in her love for Cesario. She openly declares her love for him quite confident that he will never refuse her. ...read more.


Olivia fell in love with Cesario after he told her what "he" would do if he loved her: "make me a willow cabin at your gate..." It is thus Viola's passion that wins her love. Viola and Olivia are both extremely witty and intelligent; Viola a little more so. She can hold her own against Olivia, Maria, and even the fool Feste. However, the main reason we find her a rather fascinating character is that she is at her ease in any situation; whether philosophizing with the Duke, jesting with Feste or conversing with Olivia. In Olivia's case, though we never see her put down by anybody, she appears in all her familiar surroundings, with all the same people. It can probably be deduced that were she in Viola's situation, she would not have fared so well. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE Twelfth Night essays

  1. What Types of love does Shakespeare explore in Twelfth Night?

    This is just physical attraction. He does not know her, but he finds her sexually attractive and she's a woman of high status so he decides to take advantage of the situation. Finally we find true, genuine love. The most surprising candidates for this category are Maria and Sir Toby.

  2. Malvolio's Identity In the play Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare

    He accuses them of being "mad," of acting like "tinkers" who have "no wit, manners, nor honesty." (II, iii, 87) His observations point out that he believes they are behaving like commoners and that he behaves better than they do, or so he believes.

  1. Realtionship between Viola and Olivia

    If that the youth will come this way tomorrow, I'll give reasons for't. Hie thee, Malvolio'. Viola, has only one intention, which is to put aside her own feelings for the Duke, so that she can follow the order which was given to him by Orsino.

  2. The Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

    love but Orsino thinks she is a man is very amusing for the audience. Disguise and deception contribute to the comedy of the play because it causes complications such as mistaken identity. These complications build up until finally they meet each other to form a hilarious scene.

  1. Twelfth Night and Viola.

    A good example for this is a conversation with Duke Orsino where all three are used. 'DUKE ORSINO: And what's her history? VIOLA: A blank my lord. She never told her love, But let concealment, like a worm i'th'bud Feed on her damask cheek.

  2. Describe two episodes from the play that you consider to be extremely amusing and ...

    I will smile. I will do everything that thou wilt have me!" shows Malvolio's resolute decision to do what ever the letter says and, he will also Smile. The facial gestures on Malvolio's face are also comical parts as it is a laughter that appreciates the foolish instinct of love in man who presumes someone loves him.

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