Response Paper 1
As we’ve been reading, I often have found myself paying particular attention to Shakespeare’s analysis and critiques of love. Occasionally it seems as if Shakespeare is holding up love as the most intensely wonderful and perfect feeling one could experience. Yet, most of the time, it seems that Shakespeare cannot describe a single couple that is actually as perfect as it appears to be. At first I thought that Shakespeare was criticizing love as an ideal, saying that it actually does not exist and is too perfect an ideal to ever be reached. The sonnets are the only clue that Shakespeare gave legitimacy to the concept of “love”. After reading several of his plays and sonnets, I have come to the conclusion that Shakespeare definitely believed that love existed; he just also recognized that it existed in various situations. Though he recognizes the depth of some love, he seems to explore just how shallow other relationships are. In each of Shakespeare’s works, he seems to explore a different type of relationship.
In the first play that we read, Twelfth Night, Shakespeare shows the struggle of unrequited “love” through the interest in Olivia shown by Orsino. Orsino, who really knows little to nothing about Olivia, claims to be in love with her and disappointed with her lack of interest in him. He is so disappointed, in fact, that he says that he will do anything to win her affections. After giving her gifts and sending multiple messages to her home, he finally sends a new “boy” of his household (who is actually Viola) to woo Olivia. This is a particularly ridiculous move because Orsino does not know Olivia for anything but her beauty. He has never spoken with her for any length of time, nor does he have any reason to believe her to be the object of his affections. Orsino is just gluttonous and because he wants to get married and because he knows Olivia is of the proper station for him to marry into, he believes that he will and should...
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