While Shakespeare's Twelfth Night is known to be a Shakespearean comedy, the play really is about love. Every character is somehow involved to complete a love story throughout the play. There are many instances where the love may be false, due to a disguise, the love just may be an obsession, or in some cases, the love is so someone can climb the ladder into a specific social standing. Whatever the case, the characters will go to all different lengths in order to get the love that they want. Out of all the characters, Orsino's love for Olivia is the one that intrigues me most. He is the most persistent, but one has to wonder what his real motives actually are. .
"If music be the food of love, play on" (I.i.1). The Twelfth Night opens with Orsino talking about his love for Olivia. Orsino speaks of his love for Olivia, so right in the beginning of the play, we know all about Orsino. However, when Orsino says, "So full of shapes is fancy that it alone is high fantastical" (I.i.14-15), we begin to wonder if Orsino is really in love with Olivia at all. This comment leads us to believe that Orsino may be more in love with the idea of love in his imagination rather than Olivia herself. We also learn right in the beginning that Olivia is mourning the loss of her brother and has no interest in Orsino. Although Orsino is aware of this and speaks like he is miserable as a result, he seems to be doing okay as he is listening to music and not delivering the messages to Olivia himself. It makes the audience wonder whether he really is truly in love with her or just wants love from anyone.
When Viola comes to the kingdom and disguises herself as a man, Orsino quickly hires him and Cesario (Viola's disguised name), becomes Orsino's new favorite servant. Orsino puts Cesario in charge of delivering the love messages to Olivia. The relationship between Orsino and who he believes to be Cesario is weird.