Mohammad Minhas07/12/17Ms. Morris English 2AHow Vanity Affects Individuals in Twelfth NightVanity is defined, from the Merriam Webster Dictionary, as, “inflated pride in oneself or one’s appearance.” Vanity is almost always portrayed as a protagonist in the play Twelfth Night because of it’s plot changing consequences. Although all of the characters in the play, Twelfth Night, suffer from vanity in one way or another, Orsino and Malvolio in particular suffer from vanity the most. Orsino threatens to make her and Cesario suffer if she doesn’t consent; he is so self-absorbed with his love for Olivia that he fails to understand that Olivia doesn’t want to be with him despite multiple rejections. Malvolio thinks so highly of himself thinks that everyone else is below him because of his ego.Each character suffers from vanity in one way or another and Orsino, being the determined and ambitious man he is, suffers the most out of all of the characters in the play. Orsino knows deep in his heart that Olivia does not want to be with him, but that still does not stop him from punishing himself time and time again. Even when he tries getting a messenger, Cesario, to court her, it only backfires on him because Olivia falls in love with Cesario. Orsino addresses his self-suffering towards the end of the book saying, “Why should I not, had I the heart to do it, like to th’ Egyptian thief at point of death, kill what I love? ” (5.1.119-121). This is the moment where Orsino finally gives up and he delivers this ultimatum to Olivia. He wants Olivia to feel what it’s like to suffer just like him. Because Olivia’s denias his proposal, he wants to kill her because Orsino believes that if he cannot have Olivia, then nobody can. Orsino proves that he only wanted her because of himself and his obsession with his love for Olivia and he doesn’t actually care about Olivia as he wants to kill her. Orsino then goes on to say, “I’ll sacrifice the lamb that I do love to spite a raven’s heart within a dove.” (5.1.130-131). The “lamb” that he’s talking about is Cesario. Once Orsino realizes that Cesario was actually the one to take his “obsession” away from him, he threatens to kill Cesario instead. He also wanted to kill Cesario in front of Olivia to show her the pain that she made him feel the whole time. Cesario further proves that he only cares about himself here because he was willing enough to go against his morals and kill the man he trusted. Orsino was only self absorbed in his love for Olivia.Orsino is a very determined man, and his determination made himself suffer to try to get his love, Olivia. Many times, Orsino tries to court Olivia and even with a messenger, he still fails to win over Olivia’s heart. The audience can see that Orsino is a very determined man, one that does not give up easily. Throughout the play, all Orsino wants to try to do is get Olivia to love him. He gets so self absorbed in his passion that he doesn’t realize that Olivia doesn’t want him anyway. Orsino believes that no one can love Olivia like he loves her. He says, “Make no compare between that love a woman can bear me and that I owe Olivia” (2.4.111-113). He says this to Cesario again talking very highly about himself. Orsino also proves his self love here as well. He explains that his love is better than any ones love to Olivia. Vanity is also seen here because Orsino cannot see past his ego. He thinks that he is the best and puts others below him. In the beginning of the book, he also shows characteristics of vanity to Curio, when Curio asks him if he will, hunt the “hart” meaning if Orsino will court Olivia. Orsino responds with, “Why, so I do, the noblest that I have. O, when mine eyes did see Olivia first” (1.1.19-20). Again here Orsino proves that he cannot see beyond his ego and he is so self absorbed his love for Olivia that he fails to see that Olivia never wanted him in the first place. Malvolio is portrayed as a very foolish character in the book, Twelfth Night. He works as a servant for Countess Olivia. He is also described as very foolish and one that is not very kind. He often stops the good times that Sir Toby and Sir Andrew are having. He is also very gullible as he gets played for a prank. He starts to show his self-love when he gets pranked by Sir Toby and Maria. He creates his own reality is which he is the husband of Olivia and he, himself is the ruler of everybody. The audience gets to see the person Malvolio truly is. Like Orsino, Malvolio also becomes absorbed in his love for Olivia. All he wanted though, was to be the ruler of everybody like how he already believes he is. Malvolio says in Olivia’s room, “Not black in my mind, though yellow in my legs. It did come to his hands, and commands shall be executed. I think we do know the sweet Roman hand” (3.4.28-31). Here he says that he went so far to even wear yellow stocking just for her. This proves that he was going to do anything for her love. His self-love is seen from his egotistical actions, like telling the guards to arrest Feste at the beginning of the play. Even Olivia mentions this, “O, you are sick of self-love, Malvolio, and taste with a distempered appetite” (1.5.89-90) When she points out self-love, she means that Malvolio is very self centered. He shows characteristics of vanity. Malvolio talks down to feste and even makes it seem like he is the ruler.  In Conclusion, Orsino and Malvolio are so self absorbed in there own love for Olivia that they both fail to see that Olivia doesn’t really want them. Vanity is a characteristic that both Orsino and Malvolio struggle with and they shows examples of it multiple times as well such as with his ultimatum with Olivia and Malvolio with Feste. Orsino’s love for Olivia goes hand in hand with his ego. Malvolio is selfish and thinks of other people below him. They are both blinded by their love for Olivia and their ego. Works Cited”Vanity.” Merriam-Webster, 2011. Web. 8 May 2011Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night. Edited by Barbara Mowat, The Folger Shakespeare Library, 1993


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