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D. Aquino


Egotism in Twelfth


            In the play ‘Twelfth Night’, egotism is a fault in a few of the characters. Since
this is present in them, it changes their attitude and actions, which causes
them to act in a more superior and disrespectful way. Due to having a higher self-pride,
one may feel as if they are better than others, because a neuro-transmitter in
the brain called dopamine, and endorphins, a hormone in your body increase.

Psychologically, having higher amounts of dopamine, in conjunction with having
increased amounts of endorphins can manipulate the brain into feeling happier,
energized, fierce and most importantly, overconfident. In the play, Duke
Orsino, Oliva, and Malvolio all show some form of egotism, which make them have
a more arrogant and cocky attitude.


            To start, Duke Orsino is the first
person in the play which shows forms of egotism. First off, no matter how many
times he gets rejected by Olivia, he continues to court her. Olivia has a valid
reason to not want to be in relationship, she rejected him because of this
reason. Normally, a person would understand this instead of continuing to court
someone, yet Duke is shown sending his servants to deliver messages to Olivia (PAGGEEEEEE).

Also, in one of the scenes, Duke Orsino demonstrates self-absorption when he
mentions how Olivia’s mourning of her brother and father is great indication on
how well she will love him (PAGEEE). He shows no sympathy towards her about the
fact that she is upset about her father and brother, instead he only cares
about himself and uses a person’s pain as a sign to understand his own


            In addition to Duke Orsino, Olivia
is also shown showing forms of egotism. First off, Olivia doesn’t want to talk
or hear from anyone. When Viola dressed up as Cesario to get a job, he was
unable to go to Olivia’s house because she doesn’t accept visitors(PAGEEE). She
also doesn’t accept Orsino’s servants to give her messages. This shows minor
egotism because she feels she is more superior to hear from anyone else or to
accept anyone into her house. Also, when Cesario came to Olivia’s house to
deliver the message from Duke, he wanted to see Olivia’s face. Olivia takes off
her veil and explains to him about how beautiful she is and if he was here to
compliment her. “O, sir, I will not be so hard-hearted. I will give out divers
schedules of my beauty. It shall be inventoried, and every particle and utensil
labeled to my will: as, item, two lips indifferent red; item, two grey eyes,
with lids to them; item, one neck, one chin, and so forth. Were you sent hither
to praise me? (1.5.224-229). This not only makes Olivia egotistical, because of
how high she thinks of herself and her looks, it gives off a superior attitude
which can make the person she’s speaking with feel disrespected. Another reason
which makes Olivia egotistical is the fact that she sent a ring out to Cesario
pretending he left it (PAGEEEEEE). Clearly, Cesario did not leave it, but
because she thinks she can get anyone, she thought it would be a good idea to
send her ring out to him, making it seem as if they are in a relationship
without the actual consent from Cesario. She automatically thought that he
would be interested in her, hinting forms of self-pride.

            Lastly, Malvolio is another character
in the play with high egotism. Malvolio believes he is better than everyone,
which causes him to be rude and arrogant.




-throws a

-acts like
a purist

-thinks he
has the ability to get olivia

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