Has Orsino ever seen Olivia?I want to know because in act 2 scene 4 orsino tells something to Cesario which seems ironic so I need to know if Orsino has ever seen Olivia as it is the key for my...

Has Orsino ever seen Olivia?

I want to know because in act 2 scene 4 orsino tells something to Cesario which seems ironic so I need to know if Orsino has ever seen Olivia as it is the key for my homework answer!

Asked on by orsino

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accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The previous answerer is right to draw attention to the speech, which is actually in Act I scene i, straight after the famous opening lines of the play:

O, when mine eyes did see Olivia first,

Methought she purged the air of pestilence.

So, clearly Orsino has seen Olivia before, and this is when he is "struck" by loves arrow and becomes besotted. However, your question does raise an excellent point. If Orsino is so in love with Olivia, why does he insist on sending representatives to protest his love? Remember, the two characters only meet face to face in the play in the final scene of Act V scene i. Between the beginning and the end it is always other characters that bear the love of Orsino to Olivia. This seems to suggest there is something formalised or traditional about his love - we begin to suspect that Orsino, as one critic famously put it, is more in love with the feeling of being in love than with the object of his affection herself.

chanelleburrows's profile pic

chanelleburrows | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Yes, in Act 1 Scene 5 Orsino says:
O, when mine eyes did see Olivia first,
Methought she purged ... the air of pestilence!
That instant was I turn'd into a hart;
And my desires, like fell and cruel hounds,
E'er since pursue me

If you need an explaination let me know. I hope this helps. 
 

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