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Dichotomy Twelfth Night

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In the opening scene of Twelfth Night, Shakespeare defines his concept of courtly love. An examination of the opening soliloquy foreshadows the author’s views on the different views of love between the nobility and peasantry classes. It is clear from Orsino’s ruminations that he that he believes in love as a pure ideal. To paraphrase, Orsino believes in love at first sight and is immediately smitten by Olivia. He states, “O, when my eyes did see Olivia first, Methought she purged the air of pestilence” (3). In many ways, this is classic Shakespeare who, as a playwright and historian, thrives on dichotomy as a literary trope. Shakespeare exemplifies this topsy turvy notion, that I brand a dichotomy, by introducing the character of Olivia’s Uncle Toby Belch. Toby, to be polite despite his name, is a drunk. However, he is the comedic figure of the play. While nonsensical, he emblemizes the fact that love is real. He is a clown, but like many, clowns in literature, he is the most grounded character, despite his obvious flaws in the play. When Toby speaks, the viewer, importantly the audience of an Elizabethan drama not a 21st century English class, understands love is real. In this manner Toby acts as a mask for the real world. …show more content…
Tis not hereafter…Youth’s stuff will not endure. This should be considered a rebuke of the concept of love at first sight. It is also the Bard’s attempt in creating a world within a world. There are two plots working in tandem. Olivia, while in mourning, is lifting the veil on the notion of mobility. Toby, on the other hand is exposing the absurdity of the Courtly love. Importantly, these two plots are equal in dignity. They function as a vehicle for teaching the audience a lesson and performance becomes provides the Bard cover from breaking artistic

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