Professor Juniper Ellis
Understanding Literature 101*16
20 November 2013
William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and the meditation session I attended both have to do with changing ourselves for the better whether it is mentally or physically. In Twelfth Night, a woman named Viola disguises herself as a man after a shipwreck has occurred that may have killed her brother. A woman named Olivia has learned that her brother has died and she vows to hide her face and cry for 7 years. These two characters have altered their appearances to cope with a loss. Meditation is meant to help relax our bodies and change our negative thoughts and attitudes into positive ones. Both the story and the meditation session reveals a change in oneself in order to better our lives.
Orsino is in love with Olivia and is determined to win her love. He believes he has fallen in love at first sight. “O, when mine eyes did see Olivia first,/ Methought she purged the air of pestilence!/ That instant was I turn’d into a hart;/ And my desires, like fell and cruel hounds, E’er since pursue me” (Act 1, Scene 1). Orsino likes the idea of Olivia. He wants what he can’t have. He doesn’t go to her himself because he fears rejection. Viola goes to Orsino’s home, in disguise, to work for him. Orsino uses Viola, now Cesario, as a messenger and sends letters to Olivia. Olivia denies Orsino’s request for her love and ultimately falls in love with Viola(Cesario), not knowing that he is really a woman. Viola’s disguise plays an important role in this story. Viola is in love with Orsino, but he doesn’t know that yet because him too doesn’t know she is really a woman. Viola disguised herself not because she felt sorry for herself, but because she wanted to start her life over. Viola doesn’t mourn over her brother because she knows that he wouldn’t want her to do that. Olivia disguises herself because she feels sorry for herself and doesn’t want anyone to look at her for 7 years, so she wears a veil over her face. Her disguise demonstrates her physical change in order to deal with the loss of her brother.
After the meditation session I attended I felt really relaxed and happy. I had been having a stressful week with school work and during meditation, the instructor told us to focus on our breathing and let negative thoughts escape our minds. He said to focus on counting our breaths and that was all we should have in our minds. After walking out of the room, I felt like a completely different person. I was able to sleep better at night and was able to focus more on my homework because my body was no longer tense. I highly recommend attending the meditation sessions on Monday’s especially if people are going through a stressful time in their lives whether it has to do with school or friends. Going to the gym is usually my way of releasing stress and coping with difficult situations, but meditation is a good option as well.
The common theme of both the meditation session and the story is changing oneself in order to better oneself. Viola and Olivia both chose disguises to try and deal with losses of both of their brothers. The meditation session changed me mentally by enabling me to relax and focus on positive things.
Overall, I really enjoyed this English course very much. I enjoyed every one of the poems and online readings we were assigned for home work. I also really enjoyed writing the iExamen’s and reading my classmates. Every reading had a theme and a lesson and many of the readings had connecting themes. The lectures I attended were also interesting especially when authors came to Loyola and read parts of their books.