True Love In Twelfth Night Essay, Research Paper
In William Shakespeare s Twelfth Night, love and gender is lost in the festival that is Illyria. Throughout the play true love and true gender is questioned. In most cases in Illyria, love and gender are somehow jaded, the truth can not be taken for certain. What is perceived may not be what truly lies behind the mask. In most cases, love is taken to the excess and loses its true meaning. But, in Illyria, there is love that rings true. Among all the chaos and festival true love does survive and it overflows in Viola. Even though she is too a part of the festival in Illyria, her love, is true love. Her love is not false like the love of so many characters in Shakespeare s play. Under her mask of Cesario, her love for Orsino unfolds.
Throughout the play all of the characters in the play take love to the extreme or can not understand the true meaning of love. As the play opens, Orsino is declaring his love for Olivia. In his speech and his actions, as seen in the film, he seems to have his idea of love somewhat misconstrued. If music be the food of love, play on. Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting, That appetite may sicken and so die (1. 1. 1-3). Orsino can not truly love anyone or anything if this is what he believes love is. He takes love to the excess, Orsino wants it all. All of the feelings and emotions that go with true love, and he needs it all to the point of gorging himself. Another example would be Sir Toby Belch. Sir Toby is so caught up in his love of drinking that he misses the love that is being expressed to him by Maria. Sir Toby is so lost in his alcoholic haze that he refuses to see the relationship that could have been. His love for the bottle has blinded his eyes for Maria. Next would be Olivia. She is so caught up in her own self pity for the loss of her brother that she refuses to even see the face of another man for seven years. She is so lost in her self pity that will not even accept offers of love. The best example of a character who lost the idea of love is Malvolio. Malvolio is so lost in his own self love that he can not recognize that false letter that he discovers. Not only can he not recognize the false letter, but he refuses to see how ridicules it is to even consider he is loved by Olivia. The initials that were used by Maria were very similar to Malvolio s name, but they were not correct. Yet he was so caught up in himself and his self love that he could not fathom Olivia not loving him.
In all this madness in Illyria, Viola is the only one that remains true to her love. From the very beginning she has a true love for Orsino. Even though she is masked as a man she still tries to express her love for Orsino in small poetic phrases. She understands that while she is disguised as a man she can not have her love. She sat like patience on a monument, Smiling at grief. Was this not love indeed? (2. 5. 126-27). She still truly feels for Orsino and tries to aid him in his pursuit of Olivia. She knows that she is lost in her pursuit of Orsino so she does her best to bring as much joy as possible to Orsino. If she can not have him then he should at least be happy. Viola is not caught up in herself, or wants love taken to the extreme, or lost in self defeat or self pity. She has a true and unselfish love for the man that makes her happy.
The festival that goes on in Illyria almost continued throughout the entire play. The one and only saving grace was the love that Viola had for Orsino. Every single character in Shakespeare s play had some fault that caused them to have their view of love somewhat misconstrued. Whether it was Sir Toby Belch and his abuse of alcohol, or Orsino s excessive dependence on love. Olivia and her self pity for the death of her brother, and of course Malvolio and his self love. Viola loved Orsino for all the correct reasons. She loved him for everything that he was and accepted him as he was. Even though she believed that her love would go on deaf ears, she still fought for Orsino in the pursuit of Olivia. When Viola finally revealed herself to Orsino, some order has been instated in Illyria. As the play comes to an end with Feste closing with a song, he declares that there is a time for festival and the festival will continue in Illyria, but on occasion it rains and its raining in Illyria.