Twelfth Night Theme Essay - Love as the Cause of Suffering

Decent Essays

Love as the Cause of Suffering In William Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night, love as the cause of suffering is one of the most prominent theme of the story. Even though this play ends in love and wedded bliss, Shakespeare also shows us that love can also cause pain. The characters often view love as a curse, something that is thrust upon you and you cannot easily or willing escape. Examples include Malvolio’s love for Olivia, the love triangle between Olivia, Duke Orsino, and Viola as Cesario, and Antonio’s crush on Sebastian. There are countless occasions where unrequited love for another results in heartbreak and sorrow.
Malvolio is a social climber, he feels that if Olivia would love him his status would be higher. But because of …show more content…

It stands as Olivia loves Cesario/Viola, who loves Duke Orsino who loves Olivia. Each character suffers in sorrow as they cannot have who they desire, because of status, gender or love for another. Antonio rescues Sebastian after the shipwreck that separated him from his twin, Viola. Antonio immediately takes a liking to Sebastian and helps get back on his feet. Sebastian heads to Duke Orsino’s court to look for work, Antonio offers to help but Sebastian has to decline as Antonio is a wanted man and accompanying him on his journey would put him at risk. “But, come what may, I do adore thee so, / the danger shall seem sport, and I will go.” (2.1.43-44) Antonio follows him anyways and ends up encountering Viola dressed as Cesario in the middle of a fight with Sir Andrew. Because Antonio thinks Cesario is Sebastian, he steps in to defend him, out of his love. Viola is confused because she’s never met Antonio before. But, Sir Toby and Sir Andrew recognize him as the wanted criminal that he is and turn him in to the authorities. Although Antonio is ultimately released he still ends up heartbroken as Sebastian ends up married to Olivia.
In conclusion, Shakespeare shows us that love has two faces. One face shows us that love can be beautiful and can bring happiness, the other shows a darker and more painful side where love can be heartbreaking and mournful.

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