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Love's Impact On "Twelfth Night" Essay

1348 words - 5 pages

Love is a relentless condition of life and living that affects every human being. Whether it be "a strong affection arising out of kinship or personal ties" (Merriam-Webster), like the platonic love between friends or family, "a temporary attraction based on sexual desire" (Merriam-Webster), like a lustful love, or an "affection and tenderness felt by lovers" (Merriam-Webster) like a romantic love, everyone has experienced some form of love. Even in the 1600's, William Shakespeare explored love and its human impacts through his plays. With love and its consequences Shakespeare created tragic love stories, such as Romeo and Juliet, and comedies, like that of Twelfth Night. The characters of Twelfth Night are greatly affected by love. There are many types of love experienced by the characters that are all very significant to the scheme of the play, although romantic love seems to have the greatest impact on most of the characters. While romantic love has the most effect on the characters, all the types of love together produce Shakespeare's comedy. Although Twelfth Night is a comedy concerned with many important types of love, such as romantic, obsessive, lustful, and platonic, it is romantic love that has the most impact on the main characters of the play.Love is the main theme of Twelfth Night and Shakespeare includes many different types of love that are all important to the plot of his play. One type of love he includes is platonic love. Platonic love is experienced by Orsino towards Cesario, Viola's disguised character. Orsino believes Viola's disguise, and sees her as Cesario, whom he takes to quickly, as Orsino's servant Valentine tells Viola: Orsino "hath known you but three days and already you are in the continuance of his love" (1.4.3-6). As his servant, Orsino grows to trust and be fond of Cesario, and he develops a platonic love towards him. Orsino also experiences a lustful love for Olivia, and Olivia a lustful love for Cesario. Lust, which is the "intense but temporary wanting of a person's attention or love" (Merriam-Webster) is experienced by Orsino and Olivia, because their desires for Olivia and Cesario seem very intense and passionate, but are actually only temporary as we find out in the play's conclusion. Orsino and Olivia easily move on to loving Viola and Sebastian, which proves their love was lustful. It can also be said of Orsino and Olivia that they are obsessed with the idea of love, rather than their actual love interest. The lovesick characters easily switch from loving characters where their love for them will remain unrequited, to characters that will readily respond to their love. Orsino's love for Olivia is also obsessive, because he is lovesick for her and his every action in the first four acts of the play is trying to woo Olivia or obsess over his misfortune that his love is unreturned. He describes his love for her like appetite that cannot be satisfied, "if music be the food of love, play on, give me the...

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