After Reading the play Twelveth Night by Shakespeare, there were many unusual things happening throughout the whole play. There was woman dressed as men, people acting as others, men being drunks' every day, a clown, and confusion on person which it is not them. Everything I just have named were done by the characters throughout the whole play which made the play so great. Some plays that I usually read by Shakespeare were long, boring, hard to understand like Romeo and Juliet, but Twelveth Night was short, simple, and had comedy in it. Even though this play had those great attributes to it, there was a real meaning and message in it that will get people wondering about things happening around them in today's society. Such messages are used both for purposes of communication and miscommunication which sometimes deliberate and sometimes accidental. One message that was shown mainly in the play was "love". Love was shown by the many characters like Orsino, Oliva, Viola, and many others, but at the same time love brought pain to some people that kept somewhat heartbroken until someone else came along. Another message is how people are confused about the uncertainty of gender around them. People see others walk around and thinks he is a she or vice versa, but they are wrong when they come close to them to see their features. For example, Olivia was dressed as man, but Orsino could see some features of women through the disguise yet he still continued to think she was an he. The two themes that I will talk about is love as causing pain and the uncertainty of gender throughout the play. Theses themes connect with each other on many levels that it takes awhile to see where I am coming from.
As I stated before, love brought pain to characters throughout the story until another person came along, and brought that romantic feature with them. Overall love was the main focus of the play which romantic comedy played a big role too. "Shakespeare shows this as some characters feels that love is like a kind of a curse, that attack of feelings the characters suddenly and discretely." For example, Orsino is turned down by Oliva several times, but he continues to tell Cesario to go back to show more affection to her regardless what Cesario tells him on what Oliva says back to him. In Act 1scene one lines 1-3 Orsino says "Give me excuses of it that, suffering, the appetite may sicken and so die, and strain again, it had a dying fall".(the book) Meaning he loves so much that he is hungry for it, and will not stop till he satisfied with a love of his life. That is one of the reasons why he is so obsessed with Olivia, but in reality he was just looking for someone to love him back. Another point where Orsino talks about love in pain is in Act 1 line 21 which states, " And my desires, like feel and cruel hounds,"(the book) he was talking about his feelings are like cruel hounds that will not stop searching until they find what their looking for. Back then love was one of the major things to live for besides honor to the name. If someone was not from a wealthy the best thing to do is to marry a person from wealthy family. This is mostly shown from woman not being wealthy and the men coming to different cities to find the love from those types of women. In this play Shakespeare makes both the men and women wealthy that are hungry for love. "Orsino fashinons himself into a Petrarchan lover which is constant to the image of yond sovereign cruelty".(R.W.MALDSL) This is evidence for the point I stated about wealthy men in the plays by Shakespeare. Next person who shares these love moments as pain is Olivia. Unlike Orsino, Olivia describes her love as the plague, the biggest sickness in the Middle Ages, which she claims to suffer terribly everyday until finding that love she is looking for. "It is said that the metaphors contain an element of violence, further painting the love struck as victims such as some random force in the universe."(Bonnir) Knowing her brother is dead, Olivia is missing him and the love that they had shared so she needs someone there to comfort her. She didn't want anyone to be around her, but in her mind she needed someone to love her which is why she is so determined to find love. When Orsino sends Viola to see Olivia and to tell how much he loves her many times, Olivia ends up loving him instead of Orsino. After awhile she starts getting desperate because Viola keeps turning her down which she is completely a women disguise as a man. In the movie Olivia was portrayed really desperate as in one scene she grabs Cesario and holds him begging him to love her. She does this many times throughout the movie. Her being in that type of state makes Orsino want to kill Cesario for trying to kill in Act 5 scene 1. Orsino feels that Cesario betrayed him from stealing the woman he loves, but at the end of the day he marries her, and Olivia marry Sebastian. Viola is in need of love with Orsino, but cannot tell him because of how she is disguised as a man. She gives him clues that she likes him, but Orsino sees it as just being close friends. Orsino tells Viola that she has female features, but leaves it alone at the point. In one scene of the movie, Orsino and Viola are standing there listening to Feste play at the piano singing a song. At one point Orsino was smelling Viola hair which almost made them have a affectionate scene by kissing, and Feste was looks at them crazy wondering what they are about to do. There was a happy ending with Viola just like Olivia and Sebastian by Orsino marrying Viola when he finds out who Cesario really is. Even though some characters found love and happiness at the end, some did not. Both Malvolio and Sir Andrews were prevented from the desires of getting Viola. Viola did not pay any attention to both of them because she was in pursuit to getting Cesario love. Malvolio was a fool for thinking Olivia would love him which he was a servant to her, and had no handsome features that stood out to her. Also, he was way much older than her which could be a reason why she did not like him at all. On the other hand Sir Andrews was always drunk, and Viola never took the time out to listen to what he had to say. Love is one beautiful feeling thing ever known to man, but you can't force it upon yourself which some characters did in the play, and the outcomes didn't favor them.
Gender and cross dressing is one of the most obvious and discussed topics in the play for essays. In papers that I read, Twelfth night is one Shakespeare so called transvestite comedies from Viola disguises herself as a man just to get closer to the person she loves which is Orsino.It is said that "Twelfth Night certainly demonstrates Shakespeare's intense awareness of the anticomic sentiment prevalent among some Londoners" (R W Maisen 2000) in which this one was a typical thing back in the day, but Londoners did not appreciate to watch such comical plays dealing with this type cross dressing. Viola disguises herself as a male creates an sexual disaster throughout the play. You may ask how? Viola falls in love with Orsino but cannot tell him because he thinks she is a male. At the same time Olivia, who Orsino loves, falls in love with Viola who disguises herself as Cesario. "Disguise isolates Viola not only from others, but from her own emotions, an effect intensified by perceiving the self as bounded by the skin." (Bonnie) While Olivia is in love with a woman and does not know, Orsino often talks about Cesario beauty which you could tell that he was attracted to her even before undisguised herself. This is one of the main reasons why they say this play transvestite comedy because of the heterosexual gratification seen by those too. Another of this heterosexual gratification is how Antonio was showed his love for Sebastian. Sebastian was determined to be on Antonio side, and if anything came up that would prevent him from it he would take care of it. When Antonio goes to Illyria he gets arrested, and seeing Cesario thinking he is Sebastian, he ask for his purse back in which he gave to him in Act 3 scene 3. He feels betrayed by Sebastian, but in the end he finds out the truth and forgives him. Gender played a big role in this play and without it this would have not been successful one to Shakespeare.
In conclusion, the word "love" had various meaning to some of the characters whether their feelings were hurt or they got what they desired came true it still meant that special word. The pains that came with the love were hurtful to them. For example, Malivio gets tricked into that Olivia, which was really Maria, writes him a love note, and wants him to do some things that she really does not like at all. At the end his feeling are hurt and runs off when they finally tells him the truth of who really wrote the letter. One love that was surprising was Maria and Sir Toby. No one saw this coming, but Shakespeare puts in the play to shock everyone like it was to me. Gender and cross dressing also played a big roll in the play by bringing life into it. Without Shakespeare making Viola dressing up like male there would not be a point in the play. This play was wrote many years ago, but it shows how our society today is seen with people dressing up like that whether for fun, or feeling the need to do it. All in all Twelfth Night was the best piece I have read by Shakespeare thus far.