Duke Orsino in Twelfth Night: Character Analysis

Duke Orsino in Twelfth Night: Character Analysis
Coming up next: Shakespeare's Antony And Cleopatra: Summary & Analysis

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 Character Analysis of…
  • 0:53 Character Analysis of…
  • 1:49 Character Analysis of…
  • 2:36 Character Analysis of…
  • 3:08 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up


Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Patricia Vineski
In this lesson, you will learn who Duke Orsino is, and how his characteristics shape his role in Shakespeare's play ''Twelfth Night''. Take a look at the character analysis and then test your knowledge with a quiz.

Character Analysis of Duke Orsino: Lovesick

Orsino is the powerful Duke of Illyria and a bachelor in Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night. When we first see the duke, he is in the absurdly romantic pose which characterizes him throughout the play. He has seen Olivia, and the very sight of her has fascinated him to such an extent that his romantic imagination convinces him that he will die if she does not agree to be his wife.

After seeing Olivia, Orsino demands music to calm his lovesick soul. But, almost as soon as it has begun, he demands that it be stopped because it is not as sweet as it once was. His entire opening speech is filled with a romantic, melancholy indulgence in which he is pining away for love of Olivia.

Character Analysis of Duke Orsino: Unseeing

The Duke persists in his pursuit of Olivia, using Cesario, his page, despite Olivia's continuing rejection of him. The Duke, however, is not so much in love with Olivia as he is in love with love. He is so absorbed in his own romantic fantasies that he does not realize that Cesario is, in fact, Viola, who cannot profess her own unrequited love for him.

Orsino even boasts of his self-indulgent and erratic behavior, which he associates with love, to Cesario/Viola as he/she tries to bring him to his senses. He is utterly self- absorbed and blind to Olivia's constant rejection, Viola's unprofessed love, even to Feste, clown and musician extraordinaire, who openly mocks him with a love song of death. He does not, or cannot, recognize that things are not as he wishes them to be.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account