[Music.] Enter Orsino Duke of Illyria, Curio, and other Lords.
ORSINO: If it is so that music feeds the appetite of love, keep
playing. Give me more of it, so I can become sick of it and stop
loving. [To the Musicians] Play that again! It had a sad fall. Oh, it
sounds sweet, like a breeze over a bed of violets, carrying
away its scent. Stop playing. It’s not as sweet anymore.
Oh, love is so restless. It makes your desires as vast as the sea,
and then make you despise everything. Love is so fantastical
CURIO: Are you going to go hunt, my lord?
ORSINO: Hunt what, Curio?
CURIO: The hart (deer)
ORSINO: That’s exactly what I’m doing, with my own heart. Oh,
when I first saw Olivia, I thought that she cured the diseased
air (with her purity). At that moment, it was as if I was a hart
and my desires, like vicious hounds, attacked me.
What news do you have [from Olivia]?
VALENTINE: Excuse me, my lord, but they did not allow me inside.
But I did get an answer from her servant and it reads,
“[Olivia] will be kept inside for seven years, and will not even
show her face to the skies. She will keep herself as if she were
a nun, to remember her deceased brother’s love. This will keep
his love pure and untainted in her remembrance.”
ORSINO: Oh, her heart must be so great that she pays so much
respect and love to her dead brother. Think about all the love I
will get, when she is struck [from Cupid’s arrow] and falls in
love with me – then she will surrender her sweet and perfect
heart and mind to be controlled by only one – me! Let’s go to a
place with sweet flowers, and think about love.
Shakespeare has used many literary elements in this scene.
First, an example of simile is present in the line 5-7:
“Oh, it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing, and giving odor.” (I, i, 5-7)
Moreover, “Receiveth as the sea” (11) and “my desires, like fell and cruel hounds” (21) are also an example of a simile.
Furthermore, an instance when a metaphor is used is when Orsino says “That instance was I turned into a hart” (20).
In addition to, Shakespeare has used puns in this passage. Specifically, the pun of “hart” was evident, when Curio asks Orsino whether he would like to hunt a hart, and Orsino claims that he is indeed hunting a heart.
Also, there is an example of apostrophe: “O spirit of love” (9).
In this passage, Orsino laments the effects of love, and claims how restless his unrequited love is for Olivia. Furthermore, this scene provides the audience with some of the basics of the story: Orsino is a high lord who is in love with the grieving Olivia, who does not return his feelings.
(I also performed a reading of this scene which can be found here.)