In the play The Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare’s portrayal of three different forms of love was the reason for the large amount of controversy throughout the play. Parental Love, unconditional love, and lust heavenly influence the main characters of the story and made them react in the way they did. The character’s inability to control their actions due to these different forms of love gives the message that love is the strongest force
Viola is the first character that is introduced in the play. At the beginning of the play parental love is first demonstrated when the reader discovers that Viola has just survived a tragic boat accident and her brother, Sebastian might have died in the process. The thought of the loss of her brother, the last person other than her carrying their family’s title gave Viola the ambition to search for Sebastian as well as a husband in IIIyria that would let her family’s title live on. Sebastian who also demonstrated a large amount of Parental Love for his twin sister, vowed to walk all faces of the earth in order to seek out his sister and fight to keep his family’s name alive. It is this separation between these two twins and the fact that neither one of them are certain that the other is alive that the reader is able to determine that Parental Love is what is keeping them from giving up.
Lady Olivia, a young beautiful woman of royalty was also influenced by parental love for her brother, who had recently died. Her strong devotion towards her brother’s death caused her to isolate herself from the outside world, vowing that it would take seven years for her to gain the strength to once again be a part of society. It is through the actions of Olivia that the reader can come to realize that if it was not for the hope of survival that Viola and Sebastian had for each other, neither one of them would have been able to carry on throughout the story in trying to strengthen their family’s title. Being only concerned towards their family, Olivia, Viola, and Sebastian are very different than the other characters in the play because rather than gaining something, these three characters only wish to experience what they once had.
Lust in addition to the other two forms of love proved to be a large motivation for some of the characters throughout the play. Duke Orsino was the first character of the play to experience this feeling, through his inability to do nothing but listen to love songs and dream of marrying Lady Olivia. Duke Orsino neglected to give up on pursuing Olivia, even with the countless amounts of failed communication attempts that he experienced. It is throughout the story that it is inferred that the Duke was so interested in Olivia because it was the only thing he could not have. It is this thought this information that reader is able to infer that Orsino is experiencing Lust and not Unconditional Love. His inability to give up sending her messages or even personally going to Olivia to show her his true love, shows the large amount of ignorance that Duke Orsino demonstrates.
Mavolio was another character that demonstrated being highly motivated on Lust throughout the play. Being that the Duke as well as Mavolio both demonstrated a large amount self-pride the reader could infer that if both of the characters were not so caught up in themselves, they would be able to realize their wrongs. Mavolio’s false representation of authority and self-confidence was the reason that he was so easily manipulated by the other workers of Olivia. Thinking that he too should rightfully marry Olivia, the reader could instantly come to realize the relation of power and marriage that both Duke Orsino and Mavolio have towards Olivia. It is this strong desire to gain what he wanted that causes Mavolio to be so easily manipulated in being thrown in jail. It is because of the Duke and Movolio’s desire to gain power that caused them to have an interest in Olivia, their pathetic attempts to attract her did not demonstrate the large amount of effort in love that others in the story represent.
Unconditional love or the love that someone has regardless of the loved one’s actions was largely demonstrated in both Viola as well as Antonio’s actions. Viola who was at the beginning of the play alone, fell in love with the conceitedness of Duke Orsino. She even went to the extent of dressing up like a boy in order to see and speak with the Duke Orsino. In addition to dressing like a boy, Viola who was now known as Cesario delivered love messages to Olivia in an effort to be with Duke Orsino. The sacrifice of her appearance and identity to serve the one she secretly loved showed that Viola possessed a form of love that the Duke was far from discovering. Antonio who found and nursed Sebastian back to health also resembled Vila on another level. Taking a strong interest towards Sebastian over a short amount of time, Antonio risked his life so that Sebastian could be reunited with his sister. In an effort to do so he put himself at a risk of getting injured and was thrown in jail for Sebastian. Antonio still cared for Sebastian, even when he thought he was Viola, this shows the reader the extensive amount of unconditional love that Antonio had for Sebastian. Even when Antonio though Sebastian had stolen his purse and left him in jail one could see that he still had love for Sebastian. It is through Viola and Cesario’s representation of unconditional Love that they were soon able to gain the compassion or friendship that they sought out. The fact that they actually were able to accomplish what they sought after demonstrates that their intentions were pure.
After realizing the complexity of this play and being able to place the different forms of love that were represented into three different categories, I could not help but to be surprised. Before taking this course I definitely feel like I was not able to analyze writings as vividly as I am today. I feel that having to analyze a whole Shakespeare play as the last blog is the most challenging of tasks. In addition to being one of the most difficult blogs, I feel like it is definitely a realization of how greatly I improved in analyzing literature. At the beginning of the semester I never thought I would be able to fully analyze poetry, to finally be able to fully understand a Shakespeare play was exciting for me. This class was very inspirational for me and I really hope that I can continue developing my analytical skills in my future years of college.
On Monday April 18th, I went to Dan Misleh’s lecture on Climate Change in McGuire. After going to it I could not help but relate it to love. Being that we all live on this earth together and we are all doing things to harm it; I believe the real issue in climate change is that we as a species are taking advantage of the earth. If we as a race fully embraced the earth and realized how greatly we are hurting the environment, we may be able to make a greater impact on conservation than what we are doing now. Realizing our love for the earth and being able to compromise it for some of the technologies we do not need may be the most important topics that we as a civilization must take into consideration. Global Climate Change will forever be an issue for us; it is our job to prolong this process as best as we can so that future generations can further see the beauty that we see in the earth today.
If it was not for the character’s portrayal of these multiple types of love the play would not have ended as happily as it had. The large amount of confusion that occurred throughout the play gives the reader an ending note that love directs people in the right direction when for the right reason. Showing the difference between love that is pure and love that is based on desire, Shakespeare shows the greater meaning and direction of love.