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Twelfth Night By William Shakespeare: The Jocular Struggle In Life

2262 words - 9 pages

Shakespeare, known for his observations of humanity, creates the Twelfth Night story-line based on love. Regardless of whether love is blind or foolish, it gives humanity a purpose to live for. Akin to a wrapped up present eager to be opened, love is the cryptic feeling that motivates young doters to experience this emotion. However, this infatuation eludes the characters in Twelfth Night from seeing what dolts they have become due to this feeling. While the characters struggle through their quest to find love, the audience becomes aware of the foolishness and comedic nature of human struggles. This is why Shakespeare's “joyous plays” are “compounded with sadnesses of its characters”(Foster). In Twelfth Night, the theme of latent legitimacy accumulates into a complex quest to discover self-morality, resulting in a colossal confusion of identity and love formed by all characters who eventually benefit from their comical quest. Through the use of symbolism, metaphors, and irony, William Shakespeare attempts to emphasize the idea that love constructs identity as identity subsequently constructs morality, ultimately proving that love is blind therefore humanity is blind.
The quests to find morality through love occurs for all the characters, however it stands out for Viola, Olivia, Malvolio and Orsino. Symbols represented mostly by objects seen as gifts such as letters, jewelry, and eyes are used as a boon for these characters. Although the idea of gifts brings out a positive connotation towards the beholder, in reality, gifts can either improve or deteriorate the beholder much like love. The fake letter sent to Malvolio deceives him into thinking his mistress loves him. “This simulation is not as the former” Malvolio said “and yet, to crush this a little, it would bow to me, for every one of these letters are in my name.”(Twelfth Night II. V. 7). The letter seems much like love as love too is misleading. Deluded by the fake letter written by Maria the maid, Malvolio obsesses over Olivia, henceforth losing his lack of sense and he blindly follows the letters instructions. This letter was his aid to start his quest for not only love but for a higher status. In the end, Malvolio realizes he had become a victim of Maria’s prank, which causes him to improve his self-knowledge, change his identity, and alter his morality based on his foolishness about love.
Viola, on the other hand does win her love with Orsino, find her identity, and improve her morality. However, Viola succeeds in her quest with the help of the human eyes. Viola disguises herself as a male named Cesario in order to roam around the city without a male guardian. She uses her disguise to work at Orsino's palace. These disguises that trick Orsino and Viola’s eyes are what initiate Viola’s journey to find love and self-morality. In Viola’s case “the eyes" are "the windows to the soul”(Shakespeare), as she says “I love More than I love these eyes, more than my life, More, by all mores,...

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