In William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, the issue of when to trust and how much trust is to be given is prominent, considering Viola is actually dressed as a man by the name of Cesario, giving plausible reason for Orsino to think that Cesario is actually a boy, therefore trusting him with every bit of information and emotion that he feels is necessary to express. During my meditation this week, I was able to reflect deeply on how much I trust others, and if I trust too easily or not.
A prime example of what mistrust can do to a relationship is seen in act two scene two of the play. While Orsino waits anxiously for Olivia to fall in love with him, she is in the midst of falling for someone else instead: Viola. Being so used to mourning over her dear brother's death, Olivia promises herself that she will not turn to any man for love, replacing her brother's love for her. Although when Cesario repeatedly stops by to put in a good word for Orsino, Olivia picks up on Cesario's peculiar feminine and sensitive side, not realizing that it is actually Viola she is conversing with on a daily basis. Realizing that she is in sync with Cesario's mannerisms and way of thinking, as girlfriends usually are, Olivia feels that Cesario is her perfect match, determined to marry him. When Viola realizes that Olivia is in love with her, thinking she is Cesario, she realizes the harm that the disguise has done and what mistrust can do to a relationship:
Fortune forbid my outside have not charmed her!
She made good view of me, indeed so much
That sure methought her eyes had lost her tongue,
For she did speak in starts distractedly.
She loves me, sure! The cunning of her passion
Invites me in this churlish messenger.
None of my lord’s ring? Why, he sent her none.
I am the man. If it be so, as ’tis,
Poor lady, she were better love a dream.
Disguise, I see thou art a wickedness,
Wherein the pregnant enemy does much.
How easy is it for the proper false
In women’s waxen hearts to set their forms!
Alas, our frailty is the cause, not we,
For such as we are made of, such we be.
How will this fadge? My master loves her dearly,
And I, poor monster, fond as much on him,
And she, mistaken, seems to dote on me (II.II.18-35).
With the realization that Olivia has feelings for her, Viola recognizes that mistrust has resulted in a "knot that is too hard to untie".
The fact that Olivia has trusted Cesario wholeheartedly without even knowing the real him (or her), calls for a messy love triangle. During my meditation, I was able to think about how vulnerable I can be when I trust someone too easily, which seems to be a weakness of mine. While examining myself thoroughly while meditating and while drawing this theme seen in this work by Shakespeare, I realized that trust can be a good thing in life, but you can't just open up to everyone and anyone, because that can just lead to disappointment and hurt. I know that now I have to work on knowing whom to trust with thinking about the possibility of getting hurt.