Twelfth Night | Critical Essay by René Girard

This literature criticism consists of approximately 13 pages of analysis & critique of Twelfth Night.
This section contains 3,720 words
(approx. 13 pages at 300 words per page)
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Critical Essay by René Girard

SOURCE: "'Tis Not So Sweet as It Was Before': Orsino and Olivia in Twelfth Night," in Stanford Literature Review, Vol. 7, Nos. 1&2, Spring-Fall, 1990, pp. 123-32.

In the essay below, Girard evaluates Orsino's and Olivia's notions of human love and characterizes both characters as pseudo-narcissists. The critic maintains that in their twin obsessions with mimetic desire, they are identical personalities, each pursuing an inaccessible object and thus avoiding the disenchantment that must occur when desire is satisfied.

Orsino and Olivia are complex and refined characters. The duke has artistic and intellectual pretensions; before the curtain is raised, at the beginning of Twelfth Night, his musicians are playing a piece of music which Orsino greatly enjoys and, when it is over, he wants to hear it again. "Give me excess of it," he says:

that surfeiting,
The appetite...

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This section contains 3,720 words
(approx. 13 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by René Girard