Shakespeare’s play, “The Twelfth Night”, humorously displays a love triangle and the irony of affection. The play highlights the relationships of supposed love, as well as relationship between fellow people of different social status. The Zen mediation practice and the time it allotted for reflection allowed myself the time to think about relationships and the affects they have on people.
The character Orisino, the Duke of Illrria, represents a boy in the grand scheme of love. The wealthy Orisno is bored, he has all materialistic and status he could ever need. The Duke is in love with the idea of being in love. He’s infatuation with the concept of love is made evident with his relentless courting of Olivia, a wealthy lady in mourning of her brother’s supposed death. Orisino does not court Olivia himself, instead he sends a message to do the work, or sends wealthy presents. If the Duke truly loved Olivia he would go to her himself and declare his love. The idea of being in love doesn’t justify a healthy relationship; Shakespeare uses the irony of Orisino’s acts to prove that point. Orisino, or anyone for that matter, would bore of the person the moment they captured their affection. The Duke’s love is a game, he has everything and therefore he wants what he cannot have. Olivia, stubborn in her refusal to the Duke, makes her all more desirable to Orisino. Orisino’s relationship is that of a spoiled child. The type of relationship Orisino displays could prove hurtful if Olivia had indeed developed feelings. Meditation has taught me the importance of calming the mind and focusing on what is important and what is stressful and should be let go. Orisino’s character would benefit from separating his selfish wants from true heartfelt emotions and feelings of love and compassion.
Another type of relationship in the display is shown through the character Malvolio. Malvolio is one of Olivia’s servants. Malvolio appears to be unhappy with his position in the household of Olivia; he looks down upon her uncle’s drunken and idiotic behavior, perhaps even thinking he is better than Sir Toby. The fellow servants, members, and guests of the house dislike Malvolio. As a result he is tricked into believing Olivia has feelings for him. Such a notion delights Molvolio because he is in love with the idea of wealth and status, not the actual woman. Olivia represents his chance to reverse the roles and have people serve him; he is disillusioned with the idea of having more power. The quietness of meditation and the patience it requires to still the body and the mind helps release any negative emotions and grudges felt during the day, it helps me realize there are more important things to focus on. Malvolio’s concept of gaining status is detrimental. It is a thought, which will only drive him madder, he should realize there are more important things.
Viola in the play hides her identity to get closer to the one she truly loves, the Duke. Hiding her identity as a male servant, Viola (Cesario), quickly becomes a favorite in the Duke’s circle. Viola’s love is the most innocent and pure form of love in the comedy. She is willing to act as a messenger and attempt to convince Olivia to return the Duke’s feelings. Viola is selfless in doing so, she loves the Duke but she also knows the Duke loves Olivia, and Viola will do anything to make him happy. Meditation incorporates a slow walk in a circle as a portion of the meditation, during the soft steps of the walk I feel as if I am moving forward with the clarity that mediation has brought my thoughts. I think Viola’s actions are moving her forward in her thoughts and feelings of love by putting the Duke’s before her own. Toward the conclusion, when Viola’s identity is revealed, the Duke notices her selfless actions and see’s Viola in a special light because of it.
Ironically the Fool has the best relationship between others that is not based on the idea or feelings of love. Throughout the play different characters make remarks regarding what could the fool possibly know and other jabs at his knowledge or profession. Yet the Fool knows everyone’s business, and even pumps money out of the characters. The Fool is aware of the conflicts between characters and plays that to his advantage. The Fool display’s the most calm and mediated thoughts and actions, he is always ready with a comeback and does not get caught up in the emotions. During mediation you become aware of you surroundings, the feel of the cushion, the silence of the room. The Fool meditates on his surroundings and uses that to his advantage.
With the help of Zen meditation the characters of “The Twelfth Night” could learn a lot about themselves and their relationships. The relationships and supposed feelings of love humorously bounce back and forth between characters in the play. If the men and women took a moment to focus their minds, block out the unnecessary and trifle thoughts, they could be able to move forward in a positive direction such as Viola, or use their surroundings to the advantage like the Fool.