Grace Anyali Twelfth night The play Twelfth Night is all about love and different character’s attempts to gain each others attention and affections. Throughout,Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, the strong emotions shown by Viola and Olivia set them apart and gives the play two different female perspectives which makes the play exciting for the reader. Although Olivia and Viola are in similar situations in being the only ones left in their families, they are very different when looking at their coping mechanisms, mental outlooks,social statues and expressions of love in life.
Firstly,Viola and Olivia both have different ways of coping with the loss of a sibling.When Viola heard about that he brother has drowned she grieves for a little while,crying out to the captain “PerchanceSebastian is not drown’d—what think you, sailors?” (1.2.5) hoping for a chance that Sebastian did not die.However,when she hears of the absolute certainty that Sebastian is dead,Viola pulls herself together and convinces the captain of the boat to help her move on with her life and work “Conceal me what I am, and be my aid”(1.2.50). On the other hand, Olivia mourns the recent loss of her brother by drowning herself in her sorrows.
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She mourns in a dramatic way by dressing in black. When she cries, her tears are compared to a ‘brine’ that ‘seasons’ her ‘brother’s dead love’ (Act 1, Scene 1).She does not want to move on with her life at all and promises to mourn for seven years. Their ways of coping makes the play interesting because it shows us that the deaths of loved ones impact people differently. Viola and Olivia used different coping methods in their lives,while one chose to let the death go the other chose to grieve upon the death of their loves one. Moreover,the mental outlooks of Olivia and Viola differ as one is an optimistic person in the face of a tragedy while the other is pessimistic in the face of tragedy.
Throughout the story while Viola lost her brother and had to pretend to be a man she managed to keep her hopes and optimism up rather than give into feeling horrible.Viola decides to face her challenge/tragedy head on and tries to live in the present .This was expressed in this quote “The form of my intent. I’ll serve this duke; thou shalt present me as an eunuch to him–“(1.3.55-56).
Olivia deals with the sense of tragedy in a the exact opposite way as Viola.In Act 1,Scene 1, Valentine tells the Duke that Olivia is wounded by her dead brother’s love,which she would keep fresh and lasting in her sad remembrance (31-32). She deals with her tragedy with reclusiveness and pushes all opportunities to find happiness away because she is stuck in the past. Their different outlooks makes the play interesting because the readers get to see the contrast between a pessimist view and the view of an optimistic person.
In conclusion,Viola and Olivia have different outlooks in life while one is a pessimist the other is an optimist. Finally,Viola and Olivia express love differently,they each have their own way they use to gain the affections and attention of the ones that they love. Viola loves the Duke unconditionally and even though she doesn’t want to court the duke she does because she wants to see him happy. This was shown when Viola said this “To woo your lady.(Aside)Yet a barful strife!Whoe’er I woo, myself would be his wife”(1.4.
42-43). Viola is willing to subdue her love for the Duke so that he can be with the one he loves because of the love that she has for the Duke.On the contrary Olivia is not only quick to fall in love as seen where she stops her seven years of mourning because she falls in love with Cesario(Viola) but also in the fact that she is persistent in pursuing what she wants which is the sentiments and experience of love not the actually person(Cesario). Olivia is more charmed by grand statements of love so her heart is won by Cesario’s description of unrequited love and longing rather than Cesario.
“Make me a willow cabin at your gate.., right loyal cantons of contemned love”(1.5.
263-265).The fact that she did not care that she married the wrong individual makes it clear that she was in love with the concept of love rather than the person.This makes the play exciting and intriguing because the readers get to see the different ways people love one another or the way people love the idea of love rather than the person in love with them.In conclusion,the strong emotions that set Viola and Olivia apart give the play very interesting and intriguing points of view for the reader. The way that they cope with grieve,their views on life during a tragedy and the way that they express their love give us two female perspectives that contrast each other so well it makes the story engaging and gripping for the readers.