More Than Friends William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night

1111 words - 4 pages

William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, which is commonly believed to criticize society’s romanticized idea of love, demonstrates that even though love may seem unachievable, it is still possible to find it even in the most unlikely places. Shakespeare illustrates this idea in Twelfth Night through the characters Antonio and Sebastian by subtly suggesting that Antonio and Sebastian are more than just friends. It is Sebastian’s physical beauty that attracts Antonio to him, which leads him to devote himself to Sebastian as a sign of love. Antonio’s love for Sebastian grows to obsession; however Sebastian considers their friendship to be completely plutonic. In addition Sebastian generally tries to save Antonio from his own desire; however he does a bad job by leading him on unintentionally due to his passive nature. Antonio is so mesmerized by Sebastian’s beauty that he states, “If you will not murder me for my love, let me be your servant” (2.1.35).Antonio is becoming obsessed with Sebastian and cannot stand the idea of not spending time with him, that he begs him to let him be his servant so he can accompany Sebastian and serve him in any way possible. His desire to serve Sebastian comes from his obsession with him. Antonio extreme obsession for Sebastian stems from the Elizabethan connection between good looks and a good soul. Sebastian tries to prevent this firm devotion but pleads with Antonio: “Crave[s] of [his] leave, that [he] may bear [his] evils alone”(2.1.5-6).(Insert Analysis for the previous quote). Sebastian advises Antonio to “Fare ye well at once”(2.1.39) in an effort to prevent him any injury that Sebastian’s venture might bring. After hearing this Antonio is still adamant about attending Orsino’s court as well; “But, come what may, I do adore thee so/ That danger shall seem sport, and I will go” (2.1.48).Antonio; dedication towards Sebastian and perhaps love towards is reinforced by his willingness to travel with Sebastian to Orsino’s court where he has many enemies. Additionally this is the perfect example of having an extreme commitment to someone, because Antonio despite Sebastian having told him not to go with him and knowing the danger awaiting him in Illyria showed a great amount of dedication for that person. This proves an extremely uncharacteristically deep devotion, unprecedented in a rescuer-survivor relationship. Antonio says, “But jealousy what might befall your travel, /Being skilless in these parts; which to a stranger, /Unguided and unfriended, often proven/Rough and unhospitable” (3.3.8-11). This language gets at the sense that Antonio's love causes him physical suffering and heartache, which he will later experience when Sebastian weds Olivia (5.1). Antonio soon experiences the ultimate heartache when Sebastian marries Olivia. Antonio experiences another heartache when the officers arrest him and he asks Viola, who he think is Sebastian, for the money he lent him, because it seems as though by not acknowledging...

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