The Pain And Suffering Of "Twelfth Night" By William Shakespeare

1660 words - 7 pages

Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night revolves around a love triangle that continually makes twists and turns like a rollercoaster, throwing emotions here and there. The characters love each another, but the common love is absent throughout the play. Then, another character enters the scene and not only confuses everyone, bringing with him chaos that presents many different themes throughout the play. Along, with the emotional turmoil, each character has their own issues and difficulties that they must take care of, but that also affect other characters at same time. Richard Henze refers to the play as a “vindication of romance, a depreciation of romance…a ‘subtle portrayal of the psychology of love,’ a play about ‘unrequital in love’…a moral comedy about the surfeiting of the appetite…” (Henze 4) On the other hand, L. G. Salingar questions all of the remarks about Twelfth Night, asking if the remarks about the play are actually true. Shakespeare touches on the theme of love, but emphases the pain and suffering it causes a person, showing a dark and dismal side to a usually happy thought.
In the play, the characters play a critical role in showing the theme as the ones inflicted with the pain and suffering of love that Shakespeare highlighted. Attacked with pain from the rejection of the one they love, each of the characters suffers from the rejection, linking the characters to the theme that Shakespeare presented in the play. These links to the theme also link the characters to one another at the same time. Characters, like Duke Orsino, Lady Olivia, and Viola/Cesario, along with the minor characters of the play, were the main victims, but also the culprits, of the pain and suffering that Shakespeare stressed.
Duke Orsino loves Lady Olivia unconditionally, but Lady Olivia will not love Orsino in return. He falls into a depressed state, yearning for her love and attention; however, she keeps pushing him aside, denying his love and affection for her. In the play, Orsino appears to “primarily as a lover, and sanguine men,” who were thought to be “susceptible to love.” (Draper 121) When the play opens up, the love that Orsino feels is evident since “he calls for music, then suddenly for silence; he wants his love to ‘sicken and so dye,’ and yet in a moment he is asking for ‘newes’ of Olivia.” (Draper 129) Orsino want to have excess of this love so that “the appetite may sicken and so die.” (Shakespeare I.i.3) Henze says that Orsino, like other false lovers, he “considers himself like all true lovers, but in his demands on Olivia, his desire for solitude, his selfish submersion in melancholy, he is neither truly loving nor truly generous.” (Henze 272) Orsino tried everything he could to get Olivia’s attention, but nothing he did worked. Then, when Olivia said that she married Cesario, Orsino became highly upset that Olivia had married someone else, instead of accepting his love for her. All of this becomes ironic, because Orsino does not realize until...

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