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Love in Twelfth Night

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Introduction

Twelfth Night The idea of courtly love based in Shakespeare's 'Twelfth night' involved a woman being put on a pedestal and worshipped from a distance like she was goddess who could not be attained. Only by very long devotion and lots of trials could a man get this kind of woman. The woman quite often appeared to be both cruel and fair. Courtly love was a sexless kind of love and was more idealised. Therefore in reality men much like Orsino almost certainly treasured the idea of love more than anyone else. When people did marry in Shakespeare's days it was predominantly for power and money. Love today is a great deal different than courtly love. Men and women are now treated equal and not only do men pursue women but women also pursue men. Today people in love mostly marry each other because of their personality as well as looks and not for money and power. Also love today includes sex unlike courtly love. If a man kept pursuing a woman today to marry him and she continued to refuse the man would most probably give up on her, dissimilar to the courtly lover that would keep on trying. ...read more.

Middle

Orsino then demands a song from Feste to sooth his depression for his love to Olivia. In Act1 Scene5 Olivia starts to act a lot more personally with Viola-Cesario after she unveiled herself "what is your parentage?" this is a lot more personal. This could be suggesting that she has fallen in love with Viola-Cesario. She also starts saying 'thy' and 'thou' a lot towards Viola-Cesario, which is again more personal, the kind of words you would use when you talk to a good friend or lover. This is going against the conventions of courtly love by the woman taking the lead. She goes in and out of roles quickly in this scene "I cannot love him. Let him send no more" she then pauses and says, "Unless (perchance) you come to me again" going out of her role of the cruel maiden. This lets the audience comprehend that she shows deep interest in Viola-Cesario. Shakespeare uses Feste as an illustration of how he is mocking the idea of courtly love. After the song Orsino requested, Feste imitates him about his changing moods, "Now the melancholy god protect thee, and the tailor make thy doublet of changeable taffeta, for thy mind is very opal." ...read more.

Conclusion

Shakespeare presented Act1 Scene5 and Act2 Scene4 very differently. In Act1 Scene5 you find a lot of the time characters going in and out of their roles, which Shakespeare deliberately did to mainly mock love. In Act2 Scene4 the characters all kept to their roles except Viola pretending to be a man. The love in Act2 Scene4 was quite secretive towards other people, and hard to recognise unlike in Act1 Scene5 where everything was clear, and the audience would know easily how characters felt about each other. At the time this play was written men and women weren't treated as equals and people believed that men should be in charge, that they knew what they were doing and understood life more than women. Therefore it was believed that women could not love as much as men. Shakespeare must have been more progressive in his thinking. He believed that women were capable of love just as much, were equals in every aspect of life and had their own strong personalities. He showed this within the play by mocking courtly love and providing the women with strong characters. In this way he tried to help the audience gain a more modern understanding of life and love. ...read more.

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