Love Triangles in Twelfth Night

            In William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, many relationships are phony and sabotaged for and by protagonists; as a result these relationships are made comical.  The use of disguise causes deception and misunderstanding which leads to love where it is not meant to be.  Many of the characters who are tangled up in the web of love are too blind to see that their emotions and thoughts toward the other characters are untrue.  They are being deceived by themselves and the others around them.  True love, self love, and friendship creates a love triangle, which involves different characters in different scenarios.

            There are certain instances in the play where the emotion of love is true, and the two people caught up in it feel very strongly toward each other.  One example is Viola’s love for Orsino.  Although she is pretending to be a man who is virtually unknown in Illyria, she wants to win the Duke’s heart.  While Viola is trying to win Oliva’s love for the Duke, Olivia unknowingly, falls in love with another woman, which is Viola.  Viola was caught up in another true love situation, only this time she was on the receiving end, and things didn’t go so smoothly.  During her attempts to court Olivia for Orsino, Olivia grew to love Orsino.  Viola was now faced with another hardship and there was only one way out, but that would jeopardize her chances with Orsino.  Another case of true love is on a less personal and passionate level.  Viola and Sebastian’s love for one another is a strong bond between them.  Through their times of mourning for each of their obvious deaths they still loved each other.  They believed deep down in their heart that maybe someway that each of them was still alive and well.

Academic anxiety?
Get original paper in 3 hours and nail the task
Get your paper price

124 experts online

            Friendship is a major part of the love triangle.  The biggest and closest friendship would be between Orsino and Cesario.  They barely knew each other at first, and before long Orsino was telling Cesario his inner love for Olivia.  Cesario was even running his love messages to Olivia.  The other friendship is between Viola and the Sea Captain who had a very deep bond between one another.  They survived the shipwreck together and the Sea Captain promised not to tell anyone about Viola pretending to be a man.

            The play implements how self-love affects people’s lives.  Malvolio is the easiest to identify with that problem.  He thinks of himself as an attractive and dignified man.  Malvolio is conceded and believes that all women adore him.  He likes to see things one way only, and he deceives himself just to suit his outlook on situations.  An example is when he changes Olivia’s words around to make it sound like she likes his yellow cross-gartered socks even though she really can’t stand them.  Sir Toby and Olivia are also full of themselves.  Sir Toby only cares about himself and no body else.  He ignores Maria as she tries to warn him about drinking at night; he also continues to push Sir Andrew to court Olivia.  Even though he doesn’t think, that Sir Andrew has a chance.  Oliva cares about the people around her, but she also thinks that no man is admirable of the beauty.  She thinks she is better than everyone else is.  Twelfth Night is a perfect example of a love triangle.


This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

Need a custom essay sample written specially to meet your requirements?

Choose skilled expert on your subject and get original paper with free plagiarism report

Order custom paper Without paying upfront

Love Triangles in Twelfth Night. (2016, Dec 27). Retrieved from