Love of Orsino and Olivia

Categories: ShakespeareTragedy

In Illyria, Orsino is deeply in love with Lady Olivia, but can’t accept any proposal of marriage, and such because she is mourning of the death of her brother. On the coastside of Illyria, a devastating storm shipwrecks, Viola and her brother, in which she presumed dead because she has not seen him since the wreckage. Viola then stumbles upon a friendly sea captain who tells her about the “courtship” Orsino has on Olivia. She is also in the process of looking for work, but is told that Olivia doesn’t get along with strangers of any kind.

Doing the only sane thing Viola could do, she disguises herself up as a man by the name of Cesario and goes to work for Duke Orsino. He (Olivia) becomes an all-time favorite of Orsino’s and Olivia (disguised as Cesario) falls in love with Orsino. It is a big impossible love situation since Orsino believes she is a man. If that doesn’t get any worse, the love triangle thickens meaning that Viola is in love with Orsino, Orsino falls in love with Olivia and Olivia loves Cesario.

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It’s a never ending love circle. As this goes on, we start to meet the other “roommates” as you would say of Olivia’s household. Her Uncle, Sir Toby, his mischievous friend Sir Andrew who in failed attempts is trying to court Olivia, etc. we later discover that Viola’s brother, Sebastian is still alive but he assumes the same thing as she did and thinks she’s dead.

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He arrives into Illyria, with Antonio who has been by his side since the ship wreckage. Putting all the pieces together tell, we can tell that the twelfth night expresses true love in all sorts of forms but, at the same time it can be a confusing thing

As we know, Shakespeare likes to throw humor in with mistaken identity and it’s a big part of how he writes his stories. Most times the audience is part of the joke itself, but we are never given this information straight forward. As stated in recent articles based on William Shakespeare’s writing not just in the Twelfth Night, “In his comedies, ordinary people get mixed up with their part and make minor mistakes, in which this confusion leads to laughter as a whole” stated by an article written by the Scholastic Scope. Writers never know whats is bound to happen after something like this occurs. Instead of letting it die, they roll with the flow and that creates “art”. It is what makes shakespeare a unique play writer himself.

In all such of writing, we don’t see many females leaders because society portrays men being stronger than women. Look anywhere in writing, politics and such and you will see. We know England was ruled by Queen Elizabeth. Not only was she given the opportunity to make a difference but, also set an example for women and know that anything is possible despite what the others say. How shakespeare portrays women in his writing is unlike any other. Giving them strong attributes such as, Intelligent, Strong, Attractive, etc.Take Viola and Maria in the story, they have no intention of trying to obtain any sort of power whatsoever. Olivia on the other hand doesn’t take rules for the being and getting into situations that she can’t control which included choosing her husband. This symbolizes that she is way more “POWERFUL and Determined” than other man.

Shakespeare in the Twelfth Night, put a big emphasis on love and the general concept of it. Rather if it is romantic, just a good friendship, family love, self-love, or even unrealistic love. Its still a big part of the play. Start with the beginning of the play when Orsino, talks deeply about the mysterious love he has for lady Olivia, but there’s more to it. He is mesmerized by the concept of love but is not really in love with her. This causes a conflict into where Orsino doesn’t know what to do or act. It’s over exaggerated and inconclusive. “O, then unfold the passion of my love, Surprise her with discourse of my dear faith: It shall become thee well to act my woes; She will attend it better in thy youth Than in a nuncio’s of more grave aspect” (Act I, Scene IIII, Pg. 1196) This line simply shows that Orsino has a deep passion of love for Olivia and thats its starting to show over the face of the play. Growing stronger each and every time.

In the aspects of Shakespeare’s writing of the twelfth night, there are many things that he classifies and gets right to the point on. First with using humor to get past mistaken identity is a key to how all writing should be. He points out the leadership skills that woman can take and show that the can have just as much power as any man.. The main aspect that he gets to deeply in is the concept of love and how it develops from a slow start to a highly anticipated ending.

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Love of Orsino and Olivia. (2021, Sep 02). Retrieved from

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