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Analyze the quote below from Twelfth Night:My master loves her dearly; And I, poor...

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brenfaul | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 1, 2011 at 4:07 AM via web

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Analyze the quote below from Twelfth Night:

My master loves her dearly;

And I, poor monster, fond as much on him;

And she, mistaken, seems to dote on me.

What will become of this? As I am man,

My state is desperate for my master's love;

As I am woman,--now alas the day!--

What thriftless sighs shall poor Olivia breathe!

O time! thou must untangle this, not I;

It is too hard a knot for me to untie!

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 1, 2011 at 7:18 AM (Answer #1)

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In this play of "erotic lunacy," as Harold Bloom dubs Twefth Nigh/What You Will, the passage, from Act II, Scene 2, is a soliloquy by Viola/Cesario.  As the central character who is the only one aware of the charades of herself and motives of others, Viola is able to more objectively assess what occurs in the play.

In this soliloquy--a literary device designed to provide the audience with insights into the character as well as the play itself--Viola reflects upon the theme of Appearances vs. Reality. Comments are made upon the weakness of women who fall in love with "a dream," as Olivia does with Cesario.  Viola also realizes the "tangled web" that has been woven with her deception of disguising herself as a man.  Orsino loves Olivia, but Olivia in an act of "what you will" chooses to love the deception, Cesario.  Viola herself is in love with Orsino, but because he believes her to be a man, Viola has no recourse to love and her "state is desperate."  At the end of her soliloquy, Viola realizes that the situation is too complicated for her to "untangle" or resolve.

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