In perhaps the most famous metaphor of the play, Orsino's opening words are, "If music be the food of love, play on. / Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting, / The appetite may sicken and so die" (1.1). In this metaphor, Orsino equates music with something that "feeds" love. He asks to have more and more music so that he will overindulge and ...
In Twelfth Night, both love and grief are compared to illness and associated with an imbalance of the humors. In Act 1, Scene 1, Orsino locates love in the stomach and associates an excess of it with feelings of nausea: Orsino: If music be the food of love, play on. The appetite may sicken and so die.
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When asked if he will go on a hunt for a “hart” (a male deer), Orsino puns on the word “hart” by giving it a double meaning in order to employ a metaphor for his love of Olivia: he is both the hunter and the hunted; he is the hart pursued by his desire for Olivia. Such wordplay is so overly dramatic that it’s as if Orsino were self ...
Twelfth Night is sometimes called a "transvestite comedy" for the obvious reason that its central character is a young woman, Viola, who disguises herself as a pageboy, Cesario. In Shakespeare's time, Viola's part, like all the parts in Twelfth Night, would have been played by a man, because women were not allowed to act. So, originally ...
Analysis. To help you look at any scene in Twelfth Night and interrogate it, it’s important to ask questions about how it's written and why. Shakespeare’s plays are driven by their characters and every choice that’s made about words, structure and rhythm tells you something about the person, their relationships or their mood in that moment.
Twelfth Night is a play about desire’s power to override conventions of class, religion, and even gender. Several characters begin the play believing they want one thing, only to have love teach them they actually want something else. Orsino thinks he wants Olivia, until he falls in love with Viola (dressed as Cesario.)