Twelfth Night Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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How are different types of love explored in Twelfth Night?

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Dolly Doyle eNotes educator | Certified Educator


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Since the other answer has done an excellent and exhaustive overview of the other kinds of love in the play, I would like to address the theme of unrequited love, which becomes a common thread.

Much of the unrequited love in Twelfth Night is presented as foolish, since the lover never seems to truly know the beloved. Orsino's infatuation with Olivia comes more from being in love with the idea of love than from any true affection or desire for Olivia herself. Olivia's infatuation with "Cesario" is based on a false idea of who "he" is—she does not realize that "he" is actually a "she."

Some of the unrequited love is sad. Initially, Viola's feelings for Orsino are not reciprocated, since Orsino assumes she is a man. Viola pines away with longing until she is at last able to reveal her true self to Orsino and find her love is returned by him.

Much the same occurs with the much-discussed relationship between Sebastian and Antonio. As many have pointed out, Antonio's feelings hint at something beyond...

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squeezebox eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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