Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night Character Analysis - Antonio

on Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Antonio is certainly not one of the most prominent characters in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, but he does display some of the most eminent themes in the play, such as a love that triumphs over first impressions and appearances. Antonio rescues Sebastian, the twin brother of Viola, from the shipwreck that separated him from his sister (Shakespeare 60). Antonio is very sympathetic to Sebastian, listening to his tragic story and expressing his distress for Sebastian’s hardship (Shakespeare 60). Something in Antonio’s nature makes Sebastian feel that Antonio, “will not extort from [him] what [Sebastian] is willing to keep in,” and therefore, he tells Antonio of his true identity (Shakespeare 60). Antonio is very selfless when it comes to Sebastian, asking him, when he hears of his plans to leave, “will you stay no longer, nor will you not that I go with you?” (Shakespeare 60). When Sebastian refuses to let Antonio come with him, he says that taking him along would be, “a bad recompense for [Sebastian’s] love to lay any of [his bad luck] on [Antonio],” (Shakespeare 60). It is obvious that Antonio cares deeply for Sebastian, and vice versa. Sebastian mentions several times, “all [Antonio] has done for [him],” suggesting that Sebastian has been staying with Antonio for a while, recovering from his near-drowning. After Sebastian departs for Orsino’s court, Antonio, despairs that he cannot follow him, as he has enemies there. However, Antonio declares of Sebastian, “I do adore thee so / That danger shall seem sport, and I will go” (Shakespeare 62). This declaration showcases Antonio’s ardent dedication to Sebastian, and suggests that he may have romantic feelings toward him.

Work Cited:

Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night. No Fear Shakespeare ed. New York: Spark Publishing, 2003. Print.


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