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CELEBRATING CREATIVE EXPRESSION AT BAYLOR SINCE 1966

Periaktoi Writing Post

Volume 56
Issue 1

Single Visual Art Post

  • Essay
Viola
Agatha Blocker
 
As you read, be careful, as you might get confused if Viola is a woman or man. Viola is a woman who has been shipwrecked into Illyria. She had lost her brother at sea, not knowing if he was alive. Once she had reached land, she had decided to work as a servant for Duke Orsino in disguise of a man. Soon, she had fallen in love for him, but Duke Orsino loved Olivia, a noble woman. After Olivia’s first encounter with Viola (Cesario), she fell in love with ‘him’. That created a love triangle. Although Viola had feelings for Orsino, she still showed dedication to her job and tried convincing Olivia that she was in love with Orsino. In Twelfth Night by Shakespeare, Viola expresses her love through willing to be Orsino’s messenger and so she loves him with passion and so Shakespeare’s Viola expresses her true love through her loyalty, dedication, and kindness.
 
Viola has the willingness to be Orsino's servant and to just to be with him even if he loves someone else. Orsino had once sent her off to deliver a message about his love for Olivia when she had said to herself, “To woo your lady. Yet a bartful strife. Who'er I woo, myself would be his wife” (Shakespeare 75). In other words, Viola will romance Olivia but that doesn't take away the fact that she will become Orsino’s wife, his true love. Still, she shows willingness and goes to Olivia to please Orsino and to continue being by his side. She's willing to do whatever her lover says, yet there are other factors as to what she does to show her love. Showing kindness.
 
Viola shows kindness through a variety of ways. Viola is always a happy person to be around with and was even kind to Olivia when she repeatedly kept trying to tell her that she loved ‘him’ even though she didn't feel the same way. Viola says to Olivia, “Would it be better, madam, than I am? I wish it might, for now I am your fool” (Shakespeare 173). She was trying to tell her that she wished she had feelings for her but because she doesn't she is just a fool. I think she says this to make Olivia feel less torn apart from Viola rejecting her. Viola shows dedication and kindness to her lover, but let's investigate the bigger picture.
 
Looking into the bigger picture of Viola’s love to Duke Orsino, she continues to obey his commands as a servant never knowing if Orsino will ever love her. Viola’s true love is expressed strangely because all she is is a servant to Orsino. She says to him, “Our shows are more than will” and “Sir, shall I to this lady?” (Shakespeare 141). What she means here is that her love is stronger than her desire to be with him which explains why she would rather stick by his side as his servant rather than confessing she is a woman. This is what expresses Viola’s true love.
 
Even though Viola’s love might not be reciprocated when she confesses she is a woman, there's still hope Orsino doesn't care and always like her and her dedication to him and her job as his servant. In Twelfth Night by Shakespeare, Viola's love is expressed through her loyalty and passion for Orsino and Shakespeare’s nature of true love is to say that it takes dedication and time for the love to grow. Viola’s undying and true love for Orsino comes to a close.