Compare Orsino and Olivia, and tell how their attitudes about strong emotions are similar or different?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

At the beginning of the play, both characters at least profess to abandon themselves to their emotions. Orsino embraces the extreme depth of his love, praising the "spirit of love" for how much it can devour. Valentine says that Olivia's servant Maria has told him that Olivia will walk around her room twice a day crying to mourn her brother. When we actually see Olivia, however, she at first seems much more dignified and restrained than Orsino. She doesn't reveal to "Cesario" how she feels about him at first. When she does in act 3, her oath is by all modest things: "Cesario, by the roses of the spring / By maidhood, honor, truth, and everything / I love thee so that maugre all thy pride / Nor wit nor reason can my passion hide." She is not able to contain herself, but unlike Orsino, she believes that she should. ("Maugre" means "despite.") At the end of the play, when she sees Orsino in person, she reminds him of the rules of noble behavior:

ORSINO What shall I do?

OLIVIA Even what it...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 546 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on