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

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malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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The different kinds of love include loving oneself (Malvolio being a good example) and loving others, but with regards to loving others, I think there are a variety of different loves seen throughout the play.

There is the "love from afar" that Duke Orsino feels for Olivia - one that ends up not standing the test of time...a fleeting crush, so to speak.  There is the familial love of Viola for her brother, Sebastian, who she assumes has died at sea.  We see that same type of love with Olivia's decision to remain in mourning for her dead brother for seven years.

There is also the love a servant holds for his master - Antonio decides to follow Sebastian to help him, despite the threat of death he's under for returning to Illyria.

Finally, there is the "love to end all loves" - the romantic love which we find in happy endings.  Olivia and Sebastian pair up, while Orsino and Viola are a match as well.  And "all's well that ends well"!

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summer14 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

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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.

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chhandasi143 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

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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.

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