Sample Essay Outlines
The following paper topics are designed to test your understanding of the play as a whole and to analyze important themes and literary devices. Following each question is a sample outline to help you get started.
It is obvious that the play’s tapestry contains more than a single plot. Write an essay analyzing the way in which the comic plot involving Malvolio becomes a perverse reflection of the love plot involving Orsino and Olivia. Discuss Cesario’s role as go-between for the Duke.
I. Thesis Statement: The comic plot involving Malvolio becomes a perverse reflection of the romantic plot involving Olivia and the Duke.
II. Explain the romantic plot.
A. An aristocratic man falls in love with a countess.
1. The Duke has seen Olivia and desires union with her.
2. He initially expresses the depth of his feeling in poetic lines.
B. Cesario acts as a go-between for the Duke.
1. Cesario forms a practical complement to the Duke’s romantic behavior.
2. Cesario woos Olivia on the Duke’s behalf.
C. Olivia rejects the Duke’s love.
1. Olivia says that she cannot love the Duke while she mourns her brother’s death.
2. Olivia, rather, falls in love with Cesario.
III. Explain the comic plot.
A. Maria plots to gull Malvolio.
1. There is no genuine source for Malvolio’s love; it’s the result of a scheme.
(The entire section is 1257 words.)
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