Character Analysis of Orsino

Topics: Love, Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare Pages: 2 (864 words) Published: April 22, 2013

Orsino, a powerful duke troubled with unrequited love, plays a crucial and necessary part of Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare. He is used to voice a different aspect of society who has another view on the themes of this play. This character is used to express a “manly” and “important” outlook on love. He is terribly disappointed and sick over the insignificance Olivia regards him with; “ I cannot love him” (1.5.259). Orsino makes sure to enforce the grandeur of the situation to everyone, he thinks no one feels “so strong a passion”. “ Mine is all as hungry as the sea”, reveals the visual immensity of the emotions in his heart, but in this quote the reader also has a glimpse at the overexageration this character conveys. He is also very selfish, not even realizing that people also have important things happening, he is extremely self-centered. Orsino’s love is used as a metaphor for Shakespeare’s belief that pretentious men get more caught up in the show they make of their love than the actual love. Orsino’s most significant moment in the play is very clear. In the last scene, when realizing Viola is a girl, his feelings about Olivia evaporate and alter to viola. In his previous speech about a man’s love, he says things like “no motion of the liver but the palate”, which hints his idea that man has ever-constant devotion to the SAME lady. He also goes even farther by saying the opposite about women, “ they lack retention” or “ their love may be called appetite”, indicating the shallowness and changeability of a women’s love. But as the reader can perceive, at the end of the play, he completely changes whom he loves just by realizing Viola is a girl! All his tall speeches on his “deep love” are complete nonsense. Ironically, he critics the superficiality of a women’s love, but Viola is the one who keeps on loving the same person throughout the play. Indeed, we can ”make no compare” a women’s love in this case is much stronger!...
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