In William Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night each character is given a specific character flaw that restricts their character from achieving their overall goals. These personalities all collide with each other to create the specific situation that the characters find themselves in. The Duke’s shows signs of weakness and is too proud to be loved by Olivia. This depicted by the way that the Duke never goes himself to see Olivia but rather thinks so highly of himself that he can send messengers to get the same point across. Even in rejection, the Duke fails to see it this way and rather sees himself as being loved even more by Olivia. Olivia’s character flaw is that she is unable to get over the loss of her brother and her melodramatics restrict her from moving on and finding love. Viola is the only character that does not seem to have a character flaw. Instead she has specific strengths that allow her to progress throughout the play and eventually achieve her goals. This is depicted by the way she is able to quickly move on from the thoughts of her brother’s death and shipwreck to be able to provide for herself.
The Duke’s character flaw prevents Olivia from being able to love him and look past grieving over her brother. The way that the Duke sends countless messengers over to Olivia best portrays this flaw because it shows that he is too proud to go himself and also does not respect or truly love Olivia. “What would I do? Make me a willow cabin at your gate, and call upon my soul within the house; “Viola is able to see past the Duke’s character flaw and even conveys how the Duke should love Olivia contrary to the way he is. Violas character strengths are able to identify the flaws in all the other characters and bring them to light. She is the most independent and strong character and is able to get what she desires due to these character strengths. Violas other character strength lies within her selflessness in how she puts the Dukes and Olivia’s desires before her own. Because of this character trait, Viola is able to get exactly what she wants in the end being the love of the Duke. He is able to love her because of her loyalty as a disguised servant and can see how she put his needs over hers. This would not of been able to happen without this key character trait.
The theme of a selflessness character trait ties into the Wednesday scripture based lectures that I have been going to. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I am not a religious person and mostly use the time to mediate while trying to understand as much of the scripture as possible. However I do know that an important aspect of religion is selflessness and the willingness to give to others even if it may not be in your self interest. Viola does exactly this and is rewarded for it in the end. This is a good character trait to have and Shakespeare shows that in the end you will rewarded for your selfless acts.