Viola and Orsino in Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
In William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" there are several
relationships that develop throughout the play. Among the many
characters whose interaction and misunderstanding become the core of
the plot, Viola and Orsino have the most significant relationship. The
way they interact with one another causes the complex conflict of the
play, and as the conflict comes to be more complex the two characters
turn from strangers to friends and then to lovers.
In the first Act Viola and Orsino's interaction is on the level of two
complete strangers. From the beginning Viola is not honest with Orsino
because she disguises herself as a male page named Cesario in order to
get close to him. Orsino trusts Viola very quickly and sends Cesario
to declare his love for Olivia, the object of his affection. This
quick bond and trust for Cesario is the first example of their soon to
develop relationship. The mere fact that Orsino trusts Cesario with
his message of love is a transition from a stranger to a friend.
In act two the complexity of the relationship is taken to an all-new
level. Olivia falls in love with the page Cesario; meaning Viola has
landed herself in a tight spot between Orsino and Olivia. The newly
developed love triangle is now apart of the relationship between
Orsino and Viola despite the fact that Orsino knows nothing but the
façade Viola has conveniently blinded him with. In scene four of act
two there is a very important interaction between Viola and Orsino.
She tells him a love story about Cesario's sister the stories purpose
however is to pull his attention from Olivia. Viola takes a step in
her own interest of love by asking him if he could love another woman
if they loved him as much as he loves Olivia. In lines 98-102 of act
two scene four there is an example of her trying to persuade him that
there are other women about. "Sooth, but you must. Say that some lady
as perhaps there is, hath for you as great a pang of heart as you have
for Olivia. Must she not then be answered?" Orsino brushes the comment
off and says that there is no stronger love than he has for Olivia,
but the conversation in itself is a big step in their development into
friends from complete strangers. The statement also leaves the
audience a back door to a possible aspiring love relationship.
In the fifth and final act the love between Orsino and Viola is now
possible because viola reveals that she is in fact a woman and not the
male page Cesario.
Twelfth Night In Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, it is clearly evident
that the fluctuation in attitude to the dual role and situation and
tribulations imposed upon the character of Viola/Cesario ends up in a
better understanding of both...