Twelfth Night Narcissism Analysis

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Narcissism in Twelfth Night A Freudian study of Twelfth Night
An essential element of William Shakespeare 's comedy Twelfth Night is the theme of self-love i.e. vanity and narcissism. Shakespeare likely set Twelfth Night 's action to occur January 5 and 6, the Eve of Epiphany and the day of Epiphany. During the course of these two days, all of the most important characters experience epiphanies, revelatory moments in which they recognize truths concerning themselves, their vanities and narcissism. Using Sigmund Freud 's work on narcissism, the true nature if the characters of Twelfth Night could be well explored by analyzing the moments of epiphanies.
To begin, in Twelfth Night, characters suffer from vanity, a kind of misdirected love. That is, this love is directed toward self rather than toward others. In this manner, vanity deters the process of love. However, love vanquishes vanity. Illyria 's Duke Orsino and Countess Olivia are vain, that is, empty, till epiphanies prepare them to love someone beyond themselves. In this manner, epiphanies resolve Twelfth Night characters ' barriers to the altar, enabling them to recognize, experience, and respond to outwardly directed love.
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Vanity, one of Twelfth Night 's major concerns, is displayed throughout the play by characters who are plagued with emotional conditions which prevent them from loving others. The lives of Illyria 's Duke Orsino and Countess Olivia, for example, remain circumscribed by vanity and narcissism. Similarly, Olivia 's steward, Malvolio, remains encumbered by vanity and narcissism, while Olivia 's Uncle Toby shows himself to be selfish, and his drinking partner, Sir Andrew, stands as a caricature of vanity. In contrast, Viola, an outsider shipwrecked upon Illyria 's shore, suffers solely from grief for her sea-drowned twin brother. In further contrast, Olivia 's lady-in-waiting, Maria, displays none of these characteristics, but instead operates as the play
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