Twelfth Night

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Twelfth Night Essay

In the play of Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare shows us many themes. One of them is about the nature of love. He displays this with three types of love: love of self, using the character Malvolio, unselfish love, using the character Antonio, and unrequited love, using the character Orsino. Each of which is expressed by different characters in different ways.

In today’s society, many people love themselves more than anything else. Shakespeare shows this issue in Twelfth Night and how it affects people’s lives. He addresses the issue of self love through a very complex and interesting character named Malvolio. Malvolio sees himself as a handsome and nobleman that many women would fall in love with. Malvolio does not like Feste and thinks he’s useless and dumb. He asks Olivia why she wants to keep such a worthless fool, to which she replies “O, you are sick of self-love…” (1, 5, 86). This shows directly that Olivia also thinks he’s full of self love and also has a distempered attitude. Malvolio thinks he’s better than everyone else and that he’s too wise and too good for Feste. Another time that Shakespeare shows Malvolio’s arrogance is when Malvolio says “Maria once told me she did affect me. […] it should be one of my complexions.” (2, 5, 22-25). Malvolio thinks that Olivia’s in love with him, but in reality, she does not see him as anything more than a steward. Malvolio on the other hand, thinks that he is handsome and charming and that he’s every woman’s dream. Another part in the play that shows Malvolio’s self-love occurs when he reads the fake love letter from Olivia that Maria wrote to trick him, and assumes that he is the unknown beloved in the letter. The lover’s identity in the letter is represented by the letters M.O.A.I. Malvolio, being his arrogant and cocky self, naturally works over the message in his mind until he convinces himself that he is the beloved. Shakespeare represents the love of self very well with the...
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