Twelfth Night Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

Twelfth Night book cover
Start Your Free Trial

How is Duke Orsino's version of love strange in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night?

Expert Answers info

Tamara K. H. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write3,619 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

One reason why Duke Orsino's version of love is strange is because it is not really genuine love, but rather more of an obsession. In fact, he is really more in love with the idea of the self-satisfaction he can gain from love rather than in love with Olivia, making his love a self-love rather than a genuine love for Olivia. We can see both the obsessiveness and true selfish nature of his love in the very opening scene. For one thing, all of his speeches in this scene reflect more on himself and the pain he is experiencing through love rather than on Olivia. One speech in particular that reflects more on himself rather than on Olivia is a speech in which he likens his own heart to a...

(The entire section contains 387 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now








check Approved by eNotes Editorial


msfuryal | Student

Shakespeare was a great writer. Though little is known about his personal life, each of his literary work is appreciated and adored.

Twelfth night is a romantic comedy written in a festive mood. The common mtif in Twelfth night is self deception and folly. Some of the characters voluntarily delude themselves , others are betrayed by their in born folly.

Orsino is also blinded by his image as an ardent but despairing lover that he is maimed by his obssession.

we see him first as he indulgesthis obssession with his famous speech on music as food of love, however lovely this speech may seem to the ear , reveals the speaker as a narcissistic  fool.

Orsino tells Viola--

FOR SUCH I AM ALL TRUE LOVERS ARE:

UNSTAID AND SKITTISH IN ALL MOTIONS ELSE

SAVE IN THE CONSTANT IMAGE OF THE CREATURE

THAT IS BELOV'D

in reality he loves the idea of being in love. his love is an illusion, he is actually in love with himself.

he is a victim of deception caused   by himself.even though he is unmolested in his folly, he deserves the same punishment as molvolio.

the proper pairing off of lovers signifies release from labyrinthine misconception. But the ease with which Orsino shifts his 'fancy' from Olivia to Viola is evidence of his fake obssession.

infact Orsino was a sentimentalist who preferred the comfort of his own illusions to the dangers of candid self- appraisal.