18th April 2013
The second half of William Shakespeare’s’ play, Twelfth Night continued with its prevalent theme of confused identities and the daunting and mixed up role of love within each character. As Orsino continues his quest to make Olivia fall deeply in love with him by sending Viola, dressed as Cesario, to deliver his love messages for him. Olivia however, has fallen madly in love with Cesario unknowing that it is a female and not actually a man. Viola however, to perfect the love triangle has fallen in love with Orsino but has no way of letting him know due to her identity as Cesario. Meanwhile, Sir Toby and Sir Andrew continue being their drunken selves as Sir Toby continues to persuade Sir Andrew to keep trying to win over Olivia’s heart by showing off his manliness. Although Sir Toby’s intentions seem noble, he secretly has been using Sir Andrew’s money and as such is motivated to keep him around so he can continue using his money. Olivia, upset over her unrequited love for Cesario, seeks advice for Malvolio, unknowing that he is under the impression that she has fallen in love with him and is obeying her rather odd requests of smiling constantly and wearing yellow stockings and cross garters. For his outlandish, seemingly insane behavior Malvolio has been locked away in a dark room to relinquish the “devil” that is controlling him.
In order to prove his love for Olivia, Sir Andrew has challenged Cesario to a duel via letter, which Sir Toby decides not to deliver but rather tell both Sir Andrew and Cesario that they are each fearsome and out for one another’s blood in order to make for as humorous duel. When the two meet, they hesitantly remove their swords in preparation for a fight until Antonio mistakes Cesario for Sebastian and decides to take his place in the fight, eventually getting arrested due to his previous “wanted” status in Illyria. Viola believes that her brother is nearby and begins searching for him, leaving Sir and Andrew and Toby very confused.
Shortly after, Sir Andrew, who is under the impression that Sebastian is actually Cesario, begins to fight Sebastian. Sebastian is a dirty fighter and proceeds to stab Sir Andrew leaving him begging for help. Immediately following, Sir Toby draws his sword on Sebastian only until Olivia who also has mistaken Sebastian for Cesario orders him to let down and sword and brings Sebastian inside of her house. Inside of Olivia’s house, Maria, Sir Toby, and other servants have Feste pretend to be a priest and speak to the trapped Malvolio convincing him that he must be crazy if he cannot see any light for his room possesses many windows. Malvolio requests a pen and paper to write a letter to Olivia, which is granted by Feste who leaves to retrieve those items. Elsewhere in the house, Sebastian agrees to marry Olivia, unknowing that she has mistaken him for Cesario. Orsino then arrives at Olivias house, where he sees his honorable enemy Antonio. Antonio believes Cesario to be Sebastian and lashes out at him for stealing his purse and pretending not to know who he was. Olivia also mistakes Cesario for Sebastian, her new husband, and is upset when she hears that Cesario loves Orsino because she believes that to be her newly wedded husband. Finally, Sebastian and Viola see one another and after many questions, are relived to have finally found their long lost sibling. After identities have been restored, Orsino agrees to have a double wedding marrying Viola while Sebastian marries Olivia.
In effort to link this play to meditation, I found but one clear resemblance. Clearly, the theme of confused identities is very prevalent throughout Twelfth Night. One of the many positive factors of meditation is the clearness it provides us as well as the ability meditation has to help us establish our own personal true identities from all the chaos within our lives. It is not uncommon in todays society that we hide who we truly are in order to fit in and stick with the status quo of have we are “supposed to live”. Similarly to Viola disguising herself as Cesario, society today sometimes forces us to take on the role of someone else in order to get through the day. It is very common that the person who we see with our eyes is not actually the person deep within. Meditation is a wonderful technique of soul searching by giving us personal reflection time to determine who we really are. By connecting the mind, body, and soul, meditation allows us to decipher between our many identities to allow the most prevalent and true identity to come forth and reveal itself to the outside world. Over the course of the semester, meditation has played a large role in allowing me to cope with stress, as well as become a more unified member of society. The hour and a half of bliss and solitude meditation provides me has allowed me to shed light on my true identity.