April 17, 2013
Event Analysis 6
William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and the event entitled “Aristotle, Aquinas & Machiavelli walk into a Board Room…” examine the role of wisdom and how it can have an effect on relationships. Shakespeare explores the role of romantic love. Although in most instances, romantic love appears to play a positive role in relationships, Shakespeare illustrates how romantic love can turn the wrong way when people do not use their wisdom correctly. The play revolves around the love triangle of Viola, Olivia and Orsino who all try to win each other over with their love, which ultimately causes bad choices to be made because of secretive love and deception. The event I attended discussed the role of prudential wisdom in the business world and how certain business choices people make can reduce our prudential wisdom.
Shakespeare’s use of reversal of roles causes romantic relationships to loose a sense of wisdom. Viola mistakenly falls in love with Duke after trying to protect her own identity from Illyria and after admiring Olivia’s inspiring character. Viola’s choice to disguise herself as a eunuch, Cesario, demonstrates her bravery and independence. However, her decision to cover up her real identity causes her to loose a sense of her initial purpose of making herself disguised. Unintentionally, she creates a love triangle between herself, Orsino and Olivia. Olivia falls for Cesario’s youthful personality and good looks while Orsino is still passionately in love with Olivia. Olivia also loses a sense of her initial promises to not fall for any men, however she is very easily swayed by Cesario’s good looks.
Together, Orsino and Olivia become caught up in their own self-interest of wanting to be in love. Orsino and Duke solely want to be in love for the sake of being in love rather than actually appreciating love for itself and the other person in the relationship. In Act 1 scene 1, when Orsino’s character is first introduced, Shakespeare hints at Orsino’s selfishness and high self esteem. In the first lines of the play Orsino reflects on love. He says that love is like an “appetite”(1). He explains that, “If music be the food of love, play on” but then quickly demands only a few lines later, “Enough, no more”(1). Here, Orsino is easily persuaded by what others have told him about love. He explains that if music is what is making people fall in love than keep on playing, yet he complains that the music is too much and demands it to stop. He then describes love as “quick and fresh”(1). Orsino’s own lack of wisdom makes him easily persuaded to change his mind and be influenced by others. He sees love on a very superficial level like it is like eating. He does not seem to appreciate the purpose of being in love.
Similarly, Shakespeare illustrates a lack of wisdom in the relationship between Sir Andrew and Sir Toby Belch. Sir Toby Belch deceives Sir Andrew by taking advantage of his money and his easily swayed character. Sir Toby Belch uses his comical wisdom as a way to highlight Sir Andrew’s apparent stupidity. Sir Toby Belch uses Sir Andrew’s stupidity as a way to use him solely for the purpose of his wealth. He convinces Sir Andrew that Olivia is in love with him, even though she is in love with Cesario. Here, Shakespeare seems to be contributing a certain comical aspect to the situation, however, Sir Toby Belch is making an immoral choice to manipulate Sir Andrew.
Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night relates to the event I attended in the sense of making the right choices in life. The talk discussed the role of prudential wisdom in business and as a guiding principle in people’s lives. A professor from Boston College discussed on the topic of prudential wisdom and what it meant, for Aristotle, Aquinas & Machiavelli and in today’s modern time, to have prudential wisdom. He described prudential wisdom as knowing what is in fact good. He explained that certain choices can restrict our morality, which can further reduce our prudential wisdom.
Twelfth Night and the event I attended have taught me how decisions can have consequences. I have also learned that wisdom is one of the most important things that guides decisions. Romantic relationships can be more complicated than just wanting love. True relationships and good choices involve morality and wisdom.