In the opening scene, Duke Orsinio is lamenting about his undying love for Olivia. Orsinio refuses to do ‘manly activities like hunt, and would rather lay around having music played to him while he woes about his unrequited love.
While it is played out in quite a comedic manner, it reminds us once again, that to love is to suffer. Orsinio suffers from obsessively loving Olivia. Love also shows to be exclusive and that some love will always be unrequited.For xample, Malvolio has pursued Olivia, but in the end still is unable to have his love returned. Similarly, Antonio has a homosexual love for Sebastian, but that too remains unreturned.
This leads me to question if their love is true? What makes a love unrequited by one but requited by the other? Is then true love only by fate and destiny? The gender roles again are interesting in Twelfth Night because of the cross- dressing that occurs. Viola is a woman who dresses as Cesario, a man, yet Olivia is adly in love with her.What stands out in the Twelfth Night is how acceptable this love between Olivia and Viola (Cesario) is, yet Antonio’s homosexual love for Sebastian is socially unacceptable. Like in Marie de France, tokens are used as symbols of love in the Twelfth Night as well.
Olivia sends Cesario (Viola) a ring when she wants to let him know that she loves him. The ring serves as a symbol of her love, she wants him to wear it so that there is a piece of her that can physically be with him at all times.