What is love? Oh baby, don't hurt me no more!
In Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, we read about a love story that consists of about half a dozen people. This complex love triangle reminds us of the different aspects of love, and those consequences, but it also shows us what love is. Duke Orsino is in love with Lady Olivia, but so are about 3 other men by the end of the story, and Lady Olivia has fallen for Cesario, who is really Viola, who loves Duke Orsino. Though, this play does have a happy ending, it does not fail to show the faults of love.
Throughout Twelfth Night, we witness love from the eyes of a few characters. Duke Orsino begins the play with a speech that describes the consequences of love, filled with emotions for desire, and the pain of rejection. This foreshadows the theme of love throughout the play. The Duke is in love with the idea of being in love with Olivia. Although, he presents Olivia with loves letters promising her many beautiful things, he should be presenting them to her himself, not by one of his servant Cesario. In contrast, Viola, who is Cesario, shows the readers what true love is. She follows Orsino’s instruction regardless of her own desire for the Duke. She does everything she can to make sure that Olivia falls in love with Orsino.
Within the love triangle we see pain, Sir Andrew, who is a friend of Sir Toby, is seen as not well suited for Lady Olivia, but he continues to try, especially towards the end when he tries to woo her by challenging Cesario to a duel, and loses. Also, Malvolio, who is a servant of Olivia is tricked by Maria who forged a letter that supposedly announced Olivia’s love to him. When by the end of the play, Malvolio learns the sad truth and becomes shameful for his actions and also heartbroken. There is also a companionship love between Antonio and Sebastian. Antonio becomes fond of Sebastian’s company through their adventures in Llyria, but upon witnessing Sebastian marry Olivia he becomes brokenhearted as well knowing that he will not be able to enjoy the company of Sebastian.
Love, and the consequences of being in love, is a main theme in Twelfth Night and it brings about the emotions of what being in love is like. Through Orsino’s selfishness we see that he does not know how to love, but is in love with the idea of loving someone. Viola, on the other hand, shows the selflessness of love and the humility that should be gifted towards the significant other.
Throughout the semester I have read many poems and stories that have actually made an impact on my life. Though, I am not trying to degrade my previous literature courses in the past, I just feel as if this course has caused me to reflect on everything in my life and take it as they are, never for granted. This class has taught me to in the words of Hague, “Make your mark on everything.” And, though it may come with some defects and challenges, there is no need give up.