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

How is Romantic love presented in Twelfth Night?

Extracts from this document...


How is Romantic love presented in Twelfth Night? 26/11/2009 Michael Needham In Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night', the story is entirely about the search for love and lost friends. There is so much 'false' love which emphasises the power of true love. We instantly recognise the shallowness of the love in the following characters; all of them are easily tricked. Therefore, the idea of self-love is seen as absurd. Duke Orsino is clearly only in love with the idea of love itself and views Olivia as merely the object of his foolish love. Sir Andrew is so full of self-pity that it is almost impossible for him to love Olivia. Because Malvolio is blinded by his own self love, his apparent "love" for Olivia is presented as utter idiocy. Olivia is sparked by pride while searching for love. Even the love between Sir Toby and Maria is self-seeking Shakespeare contrasts this with the idea of true love. True love is presented to be magnificent to the status of heroism, in the characters of Antonio, who sacrifices his life to save Sebastian, and Viola, who selflessly loves Duke Orsino. ...read more.


The above quote sums up Twelfth Night's idea of love and this is reiterated throughout the play. Love is presented as a fleeting and fanciful ideal with many of the characters showing this in their actions and speech. Source = Enotes.com A good example of the way romantic love is depicted in Twelfth Night is in this scene. Viola, still disguised as Cesario, has a discussion with Orsino about Orsino's supposedly undying love for Olivia, and for that matter the nature of love in itself and all of its differences and 'befuddlement'. Viola listens to Orsino talk of his difficulties to his young, unwise servant; then Viola interrupts Orsino's 'melodramatic' cries for sympathy with secretly concealed meanings of how Cesario has a sister who was in a similar predicament. Cesario's sister was in love, but hid her feelings to the one whom mattered (In actual fact, it is herself). Orsino, though, shows his selfish characteristics, as he is interested in what Cesario has to say for a few minutes, he quickly turns back his own longings, and this scene ends with Orsino sending Cesario to try and 'woo' Olivia for Orsino's behalf, yet again. ...read more.


and she wants to be faithful. But, Olivia is still in love, and requests that Cesario return. Cesario is a man played by a woman and Olivia falls in love with him/her. This is funny because of the dramatic irony, the audience know Cesario is a woman and it is funny to see that Olivia is attracted to a woman. Of course, to add to this gender confusion, in Shakespearian days, women were played by men. Which meant that Men playing as women would have to pretend they were really men but act as if they were women trying to be manly. This sort of gender confusion makes Twelfth Night very amusing. Overall, Viola learns that in the role of Cesario she had to be quick on her feet, and defend the probing questions and statements about her love (Orsino) and others love for her (Olivia). She also acquired the skill to bide her time, until the time was right. The story ends with marriages of Duke Orsino and Viola, Sir Toby and Maria, and Olivia and Sebastian. Shakespeare does a great job of explaining the difficult subject of love in Twelfth night. ...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. Discuss the different types of love presented in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.

    In Shakespeare's times only males were allowed to act so Viola-Cesario is a male playing as a woman, acting a man. In Scene 5 Feste is introduced and is also known as a 'fool'. In this scene he jokes about with Maria and 'proves' Olivia to be a fool.

  2. English Coursework Essay: Views on love from Twelfth Night

    We already know that Feste is wiser than Orsino simply because of the comments he made, which are actually true, because although Orsino claims that he is a true lover who never changes his mind about the person he loves, at the end, after all his propaganda about his love

  1. To what extent does Twelfth Night fit the genre of a romantic comedy?

    Another important type of love exerted by a character in this play is the arrogant self-love, portrayed by Malvolio. The best example of this is where he opens the forged letter which he thinks has been written by Olivia, when really it's been written by Maria.

  2. Malvolio’s Treatment in Twelfth Night

    Malvolio is convinced that Olivia is deeply in love with him but doesn't know how to tell him. In the letter Maria makes Malvolio believe that Olivia is asking him to wear yellow stockings as a sign that he loves her, a style which she in fact detests.

  1. Twelfth Night is one of Shakespeare's best-loved and most performed comedies because it is ...

    Malvolio, being Olivia's steward, thinks he is of a higher social status than Sir Toby, which has lead to them having a bitter relationship. As a result of this, a practical joke is played upon Malvolio. Maria writes a letter, pretending to be Olivia, and addresses it to Malvolio.

  2. Examine the Levels of Deception in Twelfth Night

    The metaphor, comparing deception to a knot, is very effective as a knot contains different strands which, having become entangled and intertwined; will be very hard to undo. This is very similar to a definition of deception. Sir Toby lies to Sir Andrew at various points in the play.

  1. How is love presented in Twelfth Night?

    Orsino is obviously new to the emotion of love and his contradiction in speech supports this. He is ignorant to the feeling and therefore does not posses any knowledge of the significance of love as witnessed through his later actions.

  2. Love in Twelfth Night

    Shakespeare shows Orsino suffering and in pain " in the sweet pangs of it". This is an oxymoron "sweet pangs", it suggests that his pangs of pain are good. As a courtly lover the man should be suffering as part of his role, so Orsino thinks this is how love should be in his eyes.

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