Literary Analysis Essay on Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  955 Words
Date:  2022-11-14


In Shakespeare's play, the "twelfth-night" voyeurism has featured in many instances where characters are involved in sexual pleasure which directly affect the audience watching the play. These acts play a significant role in building up the plot and helping the audience understand some of the major themes such as love explained in depth. True and real love is always based on the actions and the sacrificial activity to make each other happy. True love is always very quiet and also in disguise. In most plays, true love is centered on the pleasing each other and is more permanent and grow stronger from scenes to scenes. On the other hand, infatuation is always driven by emotions. In the play, the theme of love is showed in two different forms according to shake spheres where there are forms of self-love and friendship love but in many instances, we see characters going to extremes to try and get what they want from which it's the base of the love that they desire. In this essay, I will discuss the major instance of voyeurism and how its significant to the themes in the play.

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Voyeurism is seen from the first part of the play were find characters like Orsino speaking to viola who is disguised as Cesario where they discuss particular way into how men fall in love. When Orsino asks Cesario they type of woman he always desired and fancies but Cesario says he wants someone of his age and also complexion but we see Orsino insisting that he was too old and a man should marry a woman who is younger because this will maintain his affection for a longer time. We see voyeurism in the theme of desire. Looking at this quote form Orsino we introduce a new point of discussing the way desires and sexuality is different between different sexes "in order to maintain the male interest for a longer time" where form this voyeurism scene the character Orsino believes the only object of desire must always preserve the overall outward semblance of beauty and youthfulness. Hence if this is not met the man's interest has a higher chance of wandering elsewhere or even waver. This scene is significant in the fact that men are fickler and very shallow that women from which this statement seem as true for Orsino who later transgendered from Olivia to Viola. Voyeurism from the scene implies how the characters try to separate the main social role of gender in the private role that comes with sex.

Perhaps, in William Shakespeare Twelfth Night is clearly is seen that Orsino falls into romantic infatuation to Olivia which certainly leads to his personal self-absorption in his sentimental. It can describe in the quote used, "if the music is the food of love, play on...". therefore, we can state that Orsino is definitely relating music in terms of love. To add on that, too much music is related to overindulgence in music which is possibly compared to food overeating. Just the way, when a person is self-indulged into excessive eating, music over-indulgence making them sick, love relatively is the same. Excessive love of Orsino to Olivia makes him lovesick and desperate. His idea and intention lie and surround the need of romance and love action. In the play and scene, Orsino love seems so strong and well connected to Olivia even in a short period of time, the affection seems to get fancy. This clearly shows that Orsino is infatuated by Olivia since no love gets so intense and strong in such a short time. "O spirit of love, how quick and fresh art thou," In this particular text, Orsino states that lovers get obsessed to their love partners that even others thing in life loses value at all. The one person that is sexually and emotionally attracted to each other is wrapped up in their fertile and intense world of imagination. This could possibly give the indication that Orsino is self-absorb both sexually and emotionally to Olivia in terms of love aspect.

Furthermore, there is an ironical misjudgment of Olivia impulse and reckless love. In this particular scene, Olivia is seen to fall in love with Cesario in a reckless and impulsive way. "Not too fast! soft, soft" according to this statement, it is evident that Olivia is feeling she falling too fast and also getting carried away extremely fast by the love emotion towards Cesario which she fears to indicate her recklessness. This kind of attraction can be mentioned to be superficial and significantly shows voyeurism. The fact that is carried away by her emotions, "I do I know not what, and fear to find/my eye too great a flatterer for my mind." (Brockbank, 1988) This point out about how she is carried away with what she feels and at her sight but not by her mind. The infatuation toward Cesario is significantly showing her superficial feelings, attraction, and love.


In conclusion, in the discussion voyeurism has been expressed through the excerpt. Apparently, the theme of love has stood out since it connects the feeling, attraction, and love between partners or lovers. The play significant is to learn and know that this is an action that happens in our daily life and are inevitable hence should be embraced and handled carefully. Form Shakespeare's "twelfth-night" voyeurism has greatly influenced the play as we have from characters like Olivia who show great love desire even go to the extents of changing her gender so that she Orsino such scene has the influence to the audience watching it.

Work Cited

Brockbank, Philip, ed. Players of Shakespeare 1: Essays in Shakespearean performance by twelve players with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Vol. 1. Cambridge University Press, 1988.

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Literary Analysis Essay on Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare. (2022, Nov 14). Retrieved from

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