In Act 1 Scene 2 Shakespeare continues to demonstrate the contrast between Orsino and Viola
Opening line 'What country, friends, is this?'
Shakespeare immediately presents her in contrast to Orsino and Olivia, due to the
fact that they are both static and passive characters rather than actively instigating
Extremely practical question, emphasised by the
predominantly monosyllabic sentence, as it has connotations
demonstrates that Viola is interested in the basic facts and information
she needs to adapt and adjust herself accordingly. Shows her to be
resourceful, intelligent and practical
Strongly contrasts her behaviour to the Duke's as she could easily follow his
example by mourning the death of her brother and succumbing to grief or fatigue,
but instead she is focused on improving her current situation and solving her
Her mediating role between Orsino and Olivia is hinted at due to the link found in her arrival by
water as well as the fact that the suffering of all three has connotations of water.
Viola believes Sebastian to have 'drowned'
Orsino is suffering from the cruelty of 'the sea' of love
Olivia's 'eye-offending brine' due to the death of her brother
Makes the audience easily recognise why Olivia is attracted to Viola rather than
Orsino, otherwise they'd most likely think that the two nobles, with similar sounding
names and mannerisms would end up together
'He was a bachelor then'
show's her astute and intelligent nature
Shakespeare presents this to make it understandable how she could gain
favour with the obviously intelligent Duke.
Is an oddly specific and interesting detail to remember, the noun 'bachelor' is
emphasised due to the rest of the sentence being monosyllabic.
Shakespeare does this to ensure the audience understands this as it's essential to the main plot of the
play, also demonstrates how Viola already has some status therefore making the marriage between her
and Orsino ordered.
If it wasn't ordered then it wouldn't be an acceptable ending.
'O that i served that lady,'
another characteristic of hers that makes her appealing which Orsino lacks
is her compassion and empathy for Olivia
predominantly due to their shared loss of a 'brother' therefore Viola can easily relate to her, although
she doesn't represent her sadness in the same way as she is more direct and resourceful than Olivia
'if she be so abandoned to her sorrow as it is spoke, she never will admit me.'
use of sibilance creates a soft soothing tone,
reflects her role as comforting Orsino and her
wish to comfort Olivia due to their shared
suffering and emotions.
Acts as a contrast to Orsino's lack of
sympathy and insistence on getting
Olivia's affections, he continues to act
loudly and brashly (reflects his narcissism)
Presents Viola as realistic, understands that consistency of
reports from Olivia means there is little/no hope
begins with a filler 'O' emphasising the sympathy Viola has for Olivia despite the fact that they are strangers highlighted by the reference as 'that lady'
shows the renewed agony faced by Viola which contributes to her sympathy
Shows Viola's emerging love for Orsino.
'To woo your lady. Yet a barful strife! Whoe'er I woo, myself would be his wife.'
rhyming couplet ensures information divulged to the audience has maximum dramatic effect.
Is an essential piece of knowledge which adds both to the plot line and the humour of the play.
Humour: allows the audience to have a double advantage over Orsino, know that Viola is a woman and that
she wants to marry him, although less funny for modern audiences, would've been hilarious in that time
period and begins to add to the confusion and disorder of the play.
Demonstrating her wit and intelligence
'I would be loath to cast away my speech'
Almost disrespectful, not quite as aided by the fact that Olivia
is wearing a veil making it genuinely hard to see her face.
Unpompous treatment of Olivia allows Viola to behave in a way previous messengers couldn't
e.g uses first person rather than third which would be more common for a messenger,
use of first helps to intensify the relationship between them
Brazenness, emphasised by predominantly monosyllabic sentence is a great
example of the unpompous, almost maverick treatment Vila has that seems to
simplicity of Viola's language is a common feature of her character, reflects her
straightforward nature and how she contrasts to the natives of Illyria
her energy and spontaneity found in her witty remarks is much more
charismatic than Orsino's flowery language
'Make me a willow cabin at your gate'
Original romantic idea
Shakespeare demonstrates that passion
is almost easier to identify in simplistic
Use of imperative verb 'make' causes Olivia to view Viola as a novelty
Similarly to Feste is only character who Olivia lets speak to her in such a manner.
Intensity of idea turns up the erotic heat of the encounter
seems like a proclamation of love from an ardent lover rather than a messenger.
Heavily ironical that the passion she uses to deliver her message derives from her longing for Orsino, but it's this passion
that increases the intense relationship between her and Olivia that could be seen to cut out Orsino.