Essay on Duke Orsino in Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night"

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In a book on Twelfth Night, Dr. Leslie Hotson suggested that the play was written to compliment an Italian nobleman, Virginio Orsino, Duke of Bracciano, in a court entertainment given for him on Twelfth Night, 1601, and that it was after this gOrsinoh that one of the principle characters was named. However, I am not sure id this Italian Orsino would have feel complimented by seeing himself portrayed as a young, handsome and poetic duke but an inefficient lover.

The curtain of Twelfth Night rises with Duke Orsinofs very first speech: gIf music be the food of love, play on ch which shows his characteristics clearly. Orsino is restless, dissatisfied, vacillating between moods, with a mind full of
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He pursues Olivia only because he is determined that he can only love the woman who rejects him|a typical lover in Petrarchan poetry and mediaeval knight romance . However, it is obvious that Orsino is actually in love with his own idea of love rather than with a woman. He is full of devotion to an ideal love while mistaking the direction in which it should be sought.

The gtrue loveh of Orsino, the queen of his fancy, is Viola for sure. Although Violafs masculine disguise seems to hinder her from expressing her love to Orsino, this disguise actually helps her to win Orsinofs heart at the end. Through the man-to-man conversation between her (as a gheh) and Orsino, on the one hand, Viola gets the chance to see into Orsinofs mind. On the other hand, Orsino does not have to hide anything in front of Viola|he can not only tell her how he passionately loves Olivia but also his attitude toward women and youth, which he may never tell Olivia. Such a relaxed and openhearted confession, as we can see very clearly, leads to Orsinofs unconscious attachment to Viola.

For Orsino, Viola is not only a faithful listener, but also a teacher. It is Viola who wakes him up from

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