Twelfth Night Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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What are the different kinds of love (e.g., loving oneself) explored by Shakespeare in the play Twelfth Night?

The different kinds of love explored by Shakespeare in Twelfth Night include erotic love, obsessive love, affectionate love, familial love, self-love, love from afar, and love between servant and master.

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alaina1991 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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According to the Ancient Greeks, there are eight types of love: Erotic Love ("Eros"), Affectionate Love ("Philia"), Familiar Love ("Storge"), Playful Love ("Ludus"), Obsessive Love ("Mania"), Enduring Love ("Pragma"), Self-Love ("Philautia"), and Selfless Love ("Agape"). Throughout the play, most of these types of love can be seen.

Erotic Love

Duke Orsino's love for Olivia could be an example of Erotic Love. Eros could be applied to concepts of intense longing, desire, and love at first sight. The Duke's love is fleeting and, based on how Orsino describes it, intense. For example: 

But mine is all as hungry as the sea,
And can digest as much: make no compare
Between that love a woman can bear me
And that I owe Olivia....

Obsessive Love

Alternatively, Duke Orsino's love could also be seen as obsessive. He's more in love with the idea of having a wife or the concept of love. Obsessed with Olivia and ignoring her wish to wait seven years to court, he sends Viola (in disguise as a man) to express...

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malibrarian eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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summer14 | Student

Loving oneself and loving others.

Self-love- the most obnoxious kind of love to be shown by malvolio, his overweening pride and outrageous conceit

 Romantic love- Orsino's "love" for olivia is of a typically romantic kind.

Love at first sight- Olivia's irresistible passion for "cesario" is a classic example of love at first sight.

Love and Marriage


Friendship love- Antionio's genuine affection, unswerving loyalty and unflinchiong generosity towards sebastion are all shown to be virtous and noble attributes.

chhandasi143 | Student

Romantic love and love at first sight are an axiom in the comic plays of Shakespeare. the heroes and heroines are voyagers in the persuit of happiness which they would get only from love they live in the rainbow world of love and idleness. shakespeare's greatest comedies, Love's Labour's Lost, and his one of the ripest comedies, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing, have so much resemblence that they are about lovers and their wooings.

love, as we are reminded by the opening words of the play,is the abiding theme of Twelfth Night. virtually, all Shakespeare's comedies are on this theme,though it would be grave disserce to deny the master artist's insightinto the other dimensions of comedy.