November 20, 2013
The Pain of Love
William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night deals with a complicated love triangle between Olivia, Viola and Orsino, and the troubles it causes between many of the other characters within the play. Both a romance and a comedy, this play helps express the struggles that love causes on those who are in love. Although this play has a happy ending, Shakespeare is able to show the pain that love can cause overall.
Many of the characters within the play, especially Olivia, Orsino, and Viola view love as a threat, a challenge that causes them to steer away from their true self. Love to them causes pain and not the joy that one expects to get out of love. The play starts off with Orsino exclaiming that “If music be the food of love, play on: Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting, The appetite may sicken, and so die” (Act 1, Scene I). Orsino says for himself that he would rather be so full of music so he has no more room to love, for it makes him sick. Olivia continues on with this negative idea of love when she compares the idea of love to that of a “plague” (Act 1, Scene V). She feels as if being in love is the same as being sick with a deadly disease and would much rather continue to be in sorrow of the loss of her brother then have to deal with love. These two cases put into perspective how unwilling Olivia and Orsino are when it comes to falling in love. Viola oftentimes see loves as a diseases as well, for she is truly love with Orsino, one who has no idea who she is. She goes out of her to hurt herself trying to “woo” Olivia for Orsino because she cares so deeply for him.
There are often examples of love, however, can lead to violent measures even more so than the negative feelings that each character feels. Olivia tries to kill Viola, dressed as Cesario, who she is in love with, because she felt as if Cesario had betrayed her, stating that Orsino is allowed to do “Even what is please my lord, that shall become of him” (Act 5, Scene I). Olivia takes extreme measures both in expressing the pain she feels when thinking about love, and when she feels betrayed by love. These characters fear the idea of love because it brings so much struggle and pain in their life. Olivia and Viola have both been through pain, Olivia loosing a brother and Viola thinking she lost a brother, they both know what pain is and because they feel like love is painful as well, they do not want to get involved with it.
The struggles and pain that love causes within this play can relate to service when the students’ parents work long hours and put themselves at risk in order to give their child everything they can. The love that these parents have for the children is so great that they are willing to go through the struggle of long work hours and strenuous jobs in order to provide their kids with the life that they deserve. The teacher that I work with told me that a number of these parents work two jobs, double shifts every day just so they can provide for their kids. Because of the love they have for their children, they go through the struggle of working all the time and the pain of not getting enough sleep or enough money for what they do just so they can provide enough for their kid.