Shakespeare’s use of diction in Orsino’s speech describes different aspects of desire and deception that is explored throughout the play. When Orsino expels his first few lines, he uses words like “excess” to describe his desire to be filled with love and that his appetite for love would “sicken” and “die”. These words are exaggerated and give more weight to his desire for Olivia, in this case, who might never love him back. We see this exaggerated one-sided love play out in many forms throughout the play. Viola, for example, says in this line, “I’ll do my best To woo your lady: Aside. Yet a barful strife! Whoe 'er I woo, myself would be his wife.” (1.4.44-46) This tells us that Viola, having just met Orsino a few days ago, has a desire to be wed to Orsino. This kind of desire that Viola has for Orsino can only be conjured up from a fairytale due to the sheer passion and irrationality of falling in love with an acquaintance. Shakespeare also uses diction in deceptive forms. This is evident when Orsino uses the word “violets” (1.1.6) in his speech and to display the deception that is played out in the play. The word “violets” comes from the comes from the latin...
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... was of divine intervention. In summary, the God of love might have influenced the desires of the characters living in Illyria by devouring the ship and separating Sebastian and Viola and devouring the soul of Olivia’s brother.
We can see that Shakespeare uses poetic devices such as metaphor, diction, and personification in Duke Orsino’s introductory monolog to hint to themes of deception and desire in the larger play. Shakespeare is known for his excessive use of figurative language in his sonnets and this is clearly shown in the play twelfth night. Every sonnet-like speech that he writes has rich meanings that give more gravitas to the play as a whole. In this case, the introductory speech of twelfth night has such a rich description of love and an insightful way to introduce deception subtly, that it makes the audience appreciate the play even more.
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