Romantic Love Causes Several Characters to Behave Foolishly in the Twelfth Night

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Alyssa To Ms. DeBartolo English 3U Nov 14, 2018 TOPIC: Romantic love causes several characters to behave foolishly in the Twelfth Night. Explore 3 examples of foolish behavior brought on by romantic love. TWELFTH NIGHT Love represents a universal feeling, love intentionally causes pain, love is mad, foolish and love is typically a cause of suffering. In William Shakespeare’s successful comedy, Twelfth Night, every unique character in the story experiences the specific form and feeling of love. They are blind for love and their hearts fool their minds. At the first place, the Duke of Illyria who is Orsino instantly falls in love with Olivia, a wealthy countess at first sight. However, Olivia is in mourning for her dead brother for the next seven years. Therefore, she refuses Orsino’s love multiple times but he nevertheless trying to cultivate her. However, she rejects his passionate love all the time. Even though Orsino cannot receive Olivia’s love, he still loves her as much as he can. For instance, when he knows by heart that Olivia is in mourning for her beloved brother, Orsino indeed want to kill all of the emotions inside her except for loving him. This fact is accurately shown when Orsino says thoughtfully that, Oh if she loves her brother this much, think how she’ll love me when I finally win her over and make her forget all her other attachments! Her mind and heart will be ruled by one man alone”me! Take me to the garden. I need a beautiful place to sit and think about love (Act 1, Scene 1).

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He constantly desires her to be happy and hopes that one day she will discover and accept his love. Besides, he also sends his loyal servant – Cesario, to send the love letter to Olivia and politely tell her how deep is his sincere love for her. Even when he knows his love may be rejecting the next time, but he tries finding many different ways to make her love him. One more remarkable thing that shows Orsino’s foolishness when he is in love is when Olivia calls Cesario husband. At the time, he gets exasperated and thinks that Cesario is properly a liar, forsaken him to have Olivia as a lifelong lover. In addition, he merely wants to kill Cesario and the dear one he appreciates who is Olivia because of love and jealousy. Furthermore, he thinks Cesario captures his place in Olivia’s heart. His anger is shown when he said: Maybe I should act like the Egyptian thief who kills the woman he loves before he dies? That kind of savage jealousy sometimes seems noble. But listen to me. Since you keep denying the love, I feel for you, and since I know who’s stealing my place in your heart, you can go on being cold-hearted, but I’m going to take this boy from you. He knows his master loves you. I’m doing this, even though he’s dear to me because I know you love him. Come with me, boy. I’m ready to do something extreme. I’ll sacrifice this boy I care for, just to spite a beautiful woman with a heart of stone (Act 5, Scene 1). At the start, in his mind, love is beautiful and so restless. On the other hand, the unrequited love brings him obsession and madness. Just as Orsino, Olivia is also in love at the first sight with Orsino’s servant.

The specific reason is she is in mourning for her dead brother, she announces everyone that no one can see her for the next seven years. Incidentally, she ignores her speech until she meets Cesario. While talking with Cesario, she allows him to see her face and starts to have some feeling for him. After talking, she politely asks Cesario to be back to talk to her next time. In addition, she gives Malvolio a ring and informs him to deliver it to Cesario which stands for a token of love. To put it another way, she says, Run after that obnoxious messenger, the duke’s servant. He insisted on leaving this ring with me whether I wanted it or not. Tell him I want nothing to do with it. (she hands him a ring) Ask him not to encourage Orsino or to get his hopes up. I’m not for him. If that young man comes here again tomorrow, I’ll tell him why. Hurry, Malvolio(Act 1, Scene 5). Unfortunately, Cesario does not want to receive the ring, he tells him to give it back to Olivia because the ring is not his. In fact, that seems to represent the first rejection of Olivia’s love and it naturally causes Olivia to act foolishly. Not only that, there is one time that she confesses her love to Cesario, but he continues to reject her love. Cesario explains she should love his master, Orsino experiences a deep love for her by saying that, Madam, I’ve come here to try to make you like him (Act 3, Scene 1). After that, Cesario tells her that he does not love her and no woman can have his heart.

Instead of stops loving him, Olivia is trying to have his heart because she believes that Orsino is the reason that Cesario does not dare to love her. She is hopelessly in love, her love becomes blindness when she quickly marries Sebastian, who she has mistaken for Cesario. After begging Sebastian to marry her, she calls a priest to witness their marriage by saying that, Then lead the way, father. I want the skies bright and shining to show its approval of our wedding(Act 4, Scene 3). To sum up, Olivia falls in love easily and quickly, because of that she cannot realize the one she loves and makes a mistake by married a wrong one. One more example about foolish through love is Malvolio, the household servant of Olivia. He loves nobody, but himself; he is confident and always thinks he is more admirable than everyone. As a result, people hate that personality of him and everyone in the house reasonably wants to make a joke to prank him. After some discussion, a love letter is dropped on the path to the garden which has been written by Maria. At that moment, Malvolio reads it and instantly starts to think Olivia sends this love letter to him. From that, he starts acting foolishly, and he believes he can win Olivia’s heart by those idiot behaviors. A self-loving like Malvolio believes he can have the power all over the servant and even Sir Toby.

Also, he thinks he will get rid of his lower-class friends, insults Sir Toby and be a perfect man for Olivia. The next day, he starts following what the letter requires, he wears a yellow stocking and the crisscross laces on his leg. Thus, he comes and talks to Olivia which he trusts he can please his special master when he said, Sad, my lady! I could be sad if I wanted to be. These crisscrossing laces do cut off the circulation in my legs a bit, but who cares? As the sonnet says, If you please one special person, you please everyone who matters (Act 3, Scene 4). She thinks he is mad because of his strange actions, and he is talking nonsense. While Olivia is talking, he just smiles and kisses his hand which is completely insane. As a matter of fact, he is locked in the darkroom because of his madness. However, he still believes his master will help him out of that place because she loves him. The fact is shown when he asks Feste, Be a nice fool and help me find a candle and some paper. I tell you, I’m as sane as any man in Illyria (Act 4, Scene 2).

He asks Feste to bring those things, so he can write a letter to ask for help from Olivia because he still believes Olivia is deeply in love with him. In a final analysis, love and his ambition cause many consequences for him. Love drives people crazy and Malvolio is also a victim of love who acts foolishly throughout the play. Love is a hurtful experience, and an unrequited love is more painful than ever. Even when the play Twelfth Night has a happy ending but those characters have an unrequited love and they can not have the one they desire at first. Their unconditional love causing suffering for themselves and also causes them to behave foolishly when they are falling in love. (Shakespeare, William, and Alan Durband. Twelfth Night. Oxford University Press, 2014.)

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Romantic Love Causes Several Characters to Behave Foolishly in the Twelfth Night. (2019, Oct 30). Retrieved November 29, 2022 , from

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