12th Night - Orsino

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William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night depicts the trials and faults of several characters' loves. There are many downfalls and unrequited loves, and the story basically ends up in a confusing love triangle. He especially shows the many quirks of Orsino in his quest for winning the true love of Olivia. In this play, the reader can easily understand the many mistakes that Orsino makes in love.

For a majority of the play, Orsino is very oblivious to the fact that Cesario is actually a woman. Viola, disguised as Cesario, makes many comments to him that could possibly lead him to finding out her secret. For example, when Orsino asks what kind of woman Cesario loves, she replies "Of your complexion" (2.4.27). Orsino does not catch this, but describes that one should love a woman younger than himself. "For women are roses, whose fair flower Being once displayed, doth fall that very hour" (2.4.40-41). This is most likely a positive point for Viola, being that she is clearly younger than Orsino, and once the disguises are taken away, he will realize that he can love her. Orsino 1

actually describes a platonic love between himself and Cesario. This is a hint to the reader that the unveiling of Viola could, in fact, lead to a true love. For instance, Orsino tells Cesario "If ever thou shalt love; in the sweet pangs of it remember me" (2.4.13-14). This is almost ironic, and foreshadows the follies yet to come including the growing attraction Viola has for Orsino.

Another point that Orsino does not notice is that Olivia is in love with Cesario. She falls in love with Cesario almost immediately, which is apparent when they are in the garden and she says "O, by your leave, I pray you. I bade you never speak again of him (3.1.84-85)." If Orsino would have noticed this, he could have ended his hope to marry Olivia and then the identity of Cesario could have been revealed much sooner. It seems that Orsino is in denial of Olivia's distaste for him, so he tends...
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