Twelfth Night: The Theme Of Love In A Play

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In the play Twelfth Night the truth is always hidden, everyone had something to hide for better of for worse. There are problems that were because of the things someone else invented or was hiding. For example, if we begin talking about what Viola did, dress as a man in order to gain entry into Duke Orsino’s court, the Duke had at least a chance to make Olivia fall in love with him, but when Viola arrived to Illyrian, looking for work and dressed as a man, Orsino lost all chances he could possibly have had. If we continue with the things that could have happened without lies, Malvolio wouldn’t have gone mad and he would’ve continued with his normal life working professionally with Lady Olivia.

All their feelings were real, Olivia’s for Cesario, Orsino’s for Olivia, Cesario’s (Viola) for Orsino, Antonio’s for Sebastian and Malvolio’s for Lady Olivia. They liked them for who they were, not by other interests. The characters in Twelfth Night display a remarkable degree of gender and sexual ambiguity. There was a possibility that Orsino was attracted to femenine and masculine aspects of Cesario (Viola). He liked him so much that when she revealed herself he wasn’t mad at all. While Antonio likes Sebastian, he doesn’t give clues in the play that he likes him back. This is something that happens all the time in today’s society, it is very normal for same sex people to feel attraction between each other, the author of this play was trying to present people of that era that it can happen and present to us many versions of love and desire. Also, in today’s society we can see woman dressed as men and men dressed as women and for me it’s very normal because we all have different ways to express ourselves, and if doing that means you have to dress in a different way, I support it.

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The play is perhaps best understood as a testament to the unpredictable power of erotic desire and love in general. We can say that the play creates humor and enjoyment for the audience because of the confusion and the possibility of same sex attraction. Twelfth Night presents us many versions of love, in all its forms and that the force of love is very powerful. It is a play that tell us that you can fall in love for a person by the way the are with you and not because they are boy or girl. It also tells us that Shakespeare saw love as something for everyone and that we all have different types of love and preferences, he showed it in the play by allowing crushes between same sex characters and a character dressed as the opposite sex.


  1. SparkNotes Editors (2002). Twelfth Night Main Ideas by William Shakespeare. Retrieved from: twelfth-night/


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