In William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, Viola firmly believes that love is inconstant and irrational, and she sees clear evidence for this in the behavior of Orsino and Olivia. Viola believes, however, that she can love truly, constantly, and rationally.
Disguised as a young man named Cesario, Viola finds employment with Duke Orsino, who entrusts Viola/Cesario with wooing the Lady Olivia on his behalf.
Even while praising Orsino's love for Olivia to her, Viola recognizes the shallowness of Orsino's affections toward Olivia—Orsino is simply in love with being in love—and the overwrought expressions of his love.
VIOLA/CESARIO ...My lord and master loves you: O, such love
Could be but recompensed, though you were crown'd
The nonpareil of beauty!
OLIVIA. How does he love me?
VIOLA/CESARIO. With adorations, fertile tears,
With groans that thunder love, with sighs of fire. (1.5.236–241)
Olivia says that she cannot love Orsino and, in denying his love, tells Viola all the reasons why she should love...
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