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Infatuation in 12th Night

By zixuanlow Mar 29, 2011 417 Words
Infatuation is a form of indulgence

If food be the food of love…. appetite may sicken and so die -Shakespeare compares love to the appetite
-Orsino wishes for more music, music being compared to food, so that his love/appetite will die. -Metaphorically, Shakespeare has presented a picture of gluttony or excessive eating. - The main idea that is conveyed is one of excess and an illogical and self-indulgent approach to dealing with one's romantic inclinations. -This picture of excess is reinforced further at the end of the scene when Orsino, contrary to his desire for his love/ appetite to die at the beginning, seeks to revive and strengthen his desire for Olivia -

Infatuation arises from and/or produces self-absorption

Turned into a hart … Receiveth as the sea
-Orsino seems wholly fixated on Olivia to the exclusion of all else. -This is especially alarming when we consider that he is the ruler if Illyria.

Infatuation is capricious in nature

Give me excess of it ….. Enough! No more!

-In his state of infatuation, Orsino's mood change swiftly, one moment desiring more music, and another demanding that the music stops. -Shakespeare seems to portray infatuation as leading one to be somewhat unstable in thought and emotion.

Infatuation causes one to be delusional

The state of infatuation seems to cause one to imagine or view others with a skewed perspective. In second quote, Orsino is clearly guilty of hyperbole and has exaggerated Olivia's beauty and the effect that she has on others.

Infatuation is obsessive in nature
Through Orsino, Shakespeare makes the point that infatuation is highly obsessive in nature. In all is appearances in the play, Orsino thinks and speaks of nothing else but Olivia. His mood is one of constant melancholy and the sole reason for that his lament over Olivia's refusal of advances.

In love with the idea of being in love
The audience is led to wonder why Orsino chooses to court Olivia by proxy. Previously, he sent Valentine before deciding that Cesario/Viola was a more suitable messenger. However, if he was truly serious about winning Olivia's heart, would it not make more sense to communicate his intentions and feelings for her directly? Thus, there is a possibility that Orsino is in love with the idea of being in love. Though bittersweet, he enjoys being in the state of limbo he is currently in, where he is rejected by Olivia but is unwilling to move on with his life

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