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All throughout, the play Twelfth Night, it is clear to see Orsino's romantic obsession for Olivia. We can see this by the quote, "If music be the food of love, play on, /Give me excess of it, that surfeiting, /he appetite may sicken and so die.". (1.1. 1-3). Here Orsino is relating music to love. We can gather from these lines that Orsino is more infatuated with the notion of having a partner, as opposed to actually being in love with Olivia. Over-indulgence in music is actually being compared to Orsino's over -indulgence in love for Olivia, which makes the Duke lovesick and desperate. From this quote, "Love thoughts lie rich when canopied with bowers"(1.2. 41). We can tell that Orsino needs his surroundings to be very romantic to be able to love. Orsino seems to love Olivia only in such conditions and he feels that his so strong for her that even in a short period of time, his love is so full of fancies. This clearly shows us that his love is actually infatuation for Olivia, as none's love gets strong within just a short period of time. Orsino says, "O sprit of love, how quick and fresh art thou," (1.1. 9). This means, Orsino is saying that lovers are so hungry that for their lovers that that other good things in life seem to lose their value. The lover is completely wrapped up in his own fertile and intense imagination. This tells us that his love for Olivia is a self-absorbed love. Â
Also, Olivia's exaggerated and over-indulged love for her dead brother leads to excessive grief, self- dramatization and self-pity. We can see this from her speech that Valentine made to Orsino regarding Olivia,
"The element itself, till seven years' heat, /Shall not behold her face at ample view, / But, like a cloistress, she will veiled walk, / And water once a day her chamber round/ With eye-offending brine; all this to season/ A brother's dead love, which she would keep Â fresh/ And lasting, in her sad remembrance" (1.2. 26-32).
We can see that that this speech on what Olivia does is exaggerated, as she wants the whole world to know that she is mourning for her dead brother. This shows us that this act of over-indulgence of love shown for her brother leads to self-dramatization of own self. We can also see this, as from the speech, we can see her passion that she has for her dead brother and we can see this passion being displayed in her loyalty and Â devotion to her brother by mourning for him, which is also self-dramatized. From this act of grieving for her brother we can also see that she is being very emotional here. This tells us that this act of mourning for her dead brother does not only lead to self-dramatization, it also leads to excessive grief being shown out to others. We can also see that this exaggerated and over-indulged love for her brother that she displays also leads to self-pity as through her act of mourning. We can see this by the tears she cries from the lines "eye-offending brine" (1.1. 30) that she wallows in self-pity as she is only crying to get attention from others so that others would pity her. Olivia's love is demonstrated through her tears. There appears to be a lack of sincerity or genuine love in her actions. Her mourning draws more attention to her than to her brother. One example showing that is when Orsino himself later praises Olivia and hardly mentions her brother at all. This happens when Orsino says,
" How will she love, when rich golden shaft Hath killed the flock of all affections else that live in her; when liver, brain, and heart, These sovereign thrones, are all supplied and filled, her sweet perfections, with one self king!"(1.1 35-38).
Everything that Orsino said was all about "she", Olivia. Nothing of anything that he said was to do with Olivia's dead brother. This shows that Olivia only gets pity from others, which in addition is considered as getting self-pity from others like the count Orsino. Â
Moreover, Olivia's impulsive and reckless love for 'Cesario' is ironically as misjudged and misguided as Orsino's love for her. We can see that Olivia fell in love with 'Cesario' impulsively and recklessly from the quote, "Not too fast! soft, soft"(1.5 245-246). From this quote, we can see that she fears that she's falling in love too fast and gets carried away by her love for 'Cesario" which shows us her reckless and impulsive love. It is ironically misjudged and misguided as Orsino's love for her. We can see this fact that since Orsino's love for her is superficial and Olivia's love for 'Cesario' is also as superficial as Orsino's is for her. We can see this from the quote, "I do I know not what, and fear to find/ Mine eye too great a flatterer for my mind."(1.5. 263-265). In other words, Olivia is saying that she does not t know what she is doing and that she is afraid thatches not thinking or using her head because she is falling for Cesario's good looks. Olivia also could be accused for self-love, for revealing a rather vain and proud disposition. We can see this from the quote, "Is't not well done?" (1.5. 190) that she is rather vain. Another quote, "Were you sent hither to praise me" (1.5 204) tells us that Olivia has a rather proud disposition of herself. From this quote, we can see that she is lost in her own praise and thinks that everyone wants to see her because of her beauty which is not true at all.
Sir Andrew is similarly guilty of self-love. He thinks that people love him because he is witty and dashing. He also reveals a vain disposition of himself, being accused of self-love. We can see from the quote, "Faith, I can cut a caper." (1.3. 98) shows us that Sir Andrew is being vain as he praises himself. This also shows his egoistic character. We can see from that quote that he is dashing as he can "cut a caper". From this we can see that Sir Andrew has self-love for himself. Another quote, "Methinks sometimes I have no more wit than a Christian or an ordinary man has" (1.3. 69-71). From this quote, we can also see Sir Andrew thinking that he is witty. Sir Andrew that people loves him because he is witty and dashing. Both of which, he is not at all. So from all this we can see the fact that he has self-love.
In Antonio, the play demonstrates the generous and selfless nature of the love inspired by true friendship. We can see this from the quote, "If you will not murder me for my love, let me be your servant. From this quote, we can see Antonio showing very passionate love for Sebastian. We can also see him being sacrificial, as he wants to serve Sebastian by being his servant. "let me be you servant" suggests that Antonio wants to follow Sebastian, wants to protect him and wants to be with him. From all this we can see his selfless nature of love that is inspired by true friendship as he puts Sebastian before himself. From the quote, we can also tell his sincerity and generosity that he has by being sincere to Sebastian and also truly being generous by laying out his own self to be Sebastian's servant.
Also in Sebastian and Viola we can see the intimate and intense love between brother and sister. The first thing Viola says when she steps into Illyria is that, "My brother, he is in Elysium". (1.2. 4). From this we can tell that what she said is being said sincerely as the focus is on her brother and not on herself. We can also see that from the fact that the statement said that it was a short, simple and direct statement. From that quote, we can see Viola displaying love for Sebastian by worrying for him thinking that he is dead. From this we can see the intense and intimate love between her and her brother, Sebastian. Sebastian on the other hand also displays the same affection that Viola displays for him without he himself knowing it as they have been
separated at sea. Sebastian while talking to Antonio about Viola says, "She is drowned already, sir, with salt water, though I seem to drown her remembrance again with more (2.1.16-17). From what he says we can see that he has a close relationship with his sister, Viola. It also shows that Sebastian is a sensitive person that loves his sister, Viola very much. Through times of sorrow that Viola and Sebastian shared by mourning for each other's deaths they always loved each other. Both believed deep down in their hearts that someday they would reunite and that by chance they were each alive. Through all this we can see the intimate and intense love that brother and sister, Sebastian and Viola share between each other.
Another kind of love portrayed in this play is true love like Viola's. Viola's patient and consistent love for Orsino is perhaps the most selfless, generous and ennobling of all. The quote, "We men say more, swear more, but indeed/ Our shows are more than will; for still we prove/Much in our vows, but little in our love." (2.4.112-115 ). Viola here says how a women's (herself) love is more faithful, mature, and sincere than men. From this we can see Viola love being the most ennobling of all. Another quote "Too well what love women to men may owe / In faith, they are as true of heart as we." (2.4 27-28). From this quote, we can see the sincerity of Viola's love for Orsino. "And with a green and yellow melancholy/ She sat like Patience on a monument"(2.4. 109-108). This quote tells us of Viola's patience; that her patience is stable and unchanging. In only true love can unchanging and stable patience for the person you love can be found. Thus, from this we can see the true love that Viola has for Orsino. When Orsino asks her history, Viola says, "A blank, my lord. She never told her love, / But let concealment, like a worn i'th'bud, / Feed on her damask check. She pined in thought," (2.4. 114-116) this quote tells us of Viola's intense love that is not shown to Orsino. By her words we can tell of her hidden, long suffering that is killing her slowly. This shows her being sacrificial to Orsino, which shows us of her selfless love. Another example of her selfless love for Orsino is when she tells Orsino, "I'll do my best/ To woo your lady."( 1.4.39-41) . From this we can see that she sacrifices her own happiness for his. "[Aside] Yet a barful strife! / Whoever I woo, myself would be his wife." This quote is very powerful and strong as it may be observed in the soliloquy, which shows Viola's true self, which ends the scene in a rhyming couplet. The love she displays here is sacrificial as she yet again sacrifices her own happiness to make Orsino happy to get what she wants which is to be by him and to serve him. This shows the selfless nature of her love and also the generosity she displays by wanting to serve Orsino which is also the noblest as she does not exaggerate or use flowery language to express her true love for Orsino. The topic of love was very prevalent throughout Twelfth Night. We were very much exposed to different types of love. "Love and Service in Twelfth Night and the Sonnets" did not argue that the majority of the love we saw in the play was just pure infatuation. At the end of the play, everyone wound up happy because they all found a lover. But, the only true love that we saw was the love that Viola had for the Duke. It was genuine love; she delivered messages to Olivia for the Duke while she was in love with him, and surrendered her own contentment. However, Olivia and the Duke were able to settle for anyone that showed them affection back. This plays portrayed obsession, craze, fascination and most definitely infatuation rather than true, sincere love.