We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

What impressions have you formed of Olivia

The whole doc is available only for registered users
  • Pages: 6
  • Word count: 1483
  • Category:

A limited time offer! Get a custom sample essay written according to your requirements urgent 3h delivery guaranteed

Order Now

I have formed quite favourable impressions of Olivia. As the Captain says, she is “a virtuous maid, the daughter of a count”. I believe she is of fairly sound judgement and quite shrewd. She is also a countess and of high status, which is the direct opposite of her loyal servant, Maria. Olivia does not actually appear in the play until quite late on, yet we learn a lot about her before then. Her brother and father have recently died, and out of respect for them, she vows that she will have no male visitors for seven years.

At first, this seems almost commendable, but as the play goes on and she falls hopelessly in love with Cesario, we realise that it is immature, naive and somewhat unrealistic. She is probably in her early twenties, and Duke Orsino, along with many other people, believes her to be very beautiful, as we know when he says, “O when mine eyes did see Olivia first, methought she purged the air of pestilence. ” He thinks she is so beautiful that she clears the air of disease. It is hard to believe that she could resist male visitors for very long when she has money, youth and beauty as her assets.

However, this melodramatic pose she adopts could also be a way of singling herself out and making herself more interesting. It is certainly known about all over Illyria, as we see when the Captain says, “She hath abjured the company and sight of men. ” I believe she is preoccupied with death; perhaps she likes the idea of mourning, much as Orsino likes the idea of being in love, instead of actually loving Olivia. She also shows herself to be as changeable as Orsino when Cesario comes again with another message from the Duke and talks to her in her garden.

At first, she tells him “I will not have you. ” Then, as he is about to leave, she cannot quite dismiss him before she finds out what he thinks of her: “Stay, I prithee, tell me what thou think’st of me. ” Olivia wisely refuses the Duke’s attempts to woo her. She shrewdly discerns that he does not really love her, and if he did he would court her himself. She says, “I suppose him virtuous, know him noble… but yet I cannot love him. ” She admits that he would be an eligible husband, but she is tired of his messengers, and too proud to be swayed by such sentimentality.

When Cesario arrives, however, she is metaphorically ‘knocked off her feet’. She lives only with Sir Toby, Maria, Malvolio and Feste, and I believe she is quite lonely. She is in need of some stimulating conversation, and Cesario provides just that. When Cesario arrives at the gate, Olivia instructs Malvolio to “tell him he shall not speak with me. ” However, after hearing that he is “well-favoured” and very young, she decides that she will see him after all, now that her interest has been piqued.

By the end of the meeting she has fallen in love with him, and her vow has gone ‘out of the window’. This shows that she is, in some ways, quite fickle and changeable. Feste, her jester, is the only other person that can provide Olivia with intelligent conversation. When she first appears in the play, she orders someone to “take the fool away. ” She finds Feste to be a “dry fool” – she is mourning and does not want to listen to him. Feste asks her why she is mourning, and she tells him that she is unhappy that her brother is dead.

He then remarks, “I think his soul is in hell, madonna. ” As far as Feste is concerned, this is quite a dangerous remark, but, instead of being angry, Olivia merely replies that she knows his soul is in heaven. When Feste retorts, “The more fool, madonna, to mourn for your brother’s soul being in heaven,” Olivia realises that he is right, and appreciates his wit and logic.

When Malvolio wonders how Olivia “takes delight in such a barren rascal,” she rebukes him, saying, “O, you are sick of self-love, Malvolio. She values her steward but sees him for what he is: superior, arrogant and puritanical. She is very shrewd and observant, good at working out other peoples’ characters, which is quite ironic as she falls in love with Cesario, who is in fact a woman. However, she is kind to Malvolio when she believes him to be mad – “I would not have him miscarry for the half of my dowry,” and at the end, when she finds that he has been “most notoriously abused,” by Maria and Sir Toby. Whereas Olivia respects Malvolio, she does not respect Sir Toby, her kinsman.

He is rude, drinks, and comes in late. He generally disrupts the order that Malvolio tries so hard to keep in the house, and Olivia complains about him, as we see when Maria says to him, “That quaffing and drinking will undo you. I heard my lady talk of it yesterday. ” Maria, Olivia’s maid, and therefore the opposite to her in terms of status, is quite protective of Olivia, but she is not above a little bit of mischievous fun once in a while, as we see when she conjures up the trick for Malvolio.

She tries to maintain order in the house, as shown when she says, “Sir Toby, you must come in earlier o’ nights: your cousin, my lady, takes great exceptions to your ill hours. ” When Malvolio says to her, “Mistress Mary, if you prized my lady’s favour at anything more than contempt, you would not give means for this uncivil rule,” Maria is very indignant at being talked down to by him, and therefore concocts a trick to play on him. By doing this she shows herself to have a cunning that Olivia does not appear to have.

However, when Malvolio chides Olivia for taking “delight in such a barren fool,” (Feste) she takes it calmly in her stride, whereas Maria wants revenge when he is superior towards her. Olivia does not bear malice towards Malvolio the way Maria does, and it is not in her nature to get angry over a slighting comment or to plot revenge. Sir Toby calls Maria “my metal of India,” which shows that he admires and values he cunning and ingenuity in coming up with the plot. Maria is not afraid to say what she thinks.

Neither is Olivia, but Olivia would not tell anyone to “go shake your ears,” as Maria says to Malvolio. Olivia is not as rude as Maria and perhaps she was brought up better, but again it is to do with social status. Maria is a servant and can do and say things that, coming from Olivia, would seem socially unacceptable and very rude. I find Maria to be very confident – she has no qualms about answering back to Malvolio, even though he is her superior, or scolding Sir Toby, even though he is a knight.

She would never think of making a vow to stay away from men for seven years, albeit Olivia does not keep hers. In that way she is not as serious as Olivia is. Maria seems to be in charge of herself and knows what she wants from life – to have a good time and look after Olivia’s house. Maria also abuses her place as a trusted servant. There is no evidence in the play to suggest that she ever lied to Olivia before, but after Malvolio has read ‘Olivia’s’ love letter, she goes to her mistress and says, “He is sure possessed, madam.

Olivia does not doubt her because Maria is a trusted servant. She feels pity for Malvolio when he is put into a dark cell, but Maria thinks that it is funny and says to Feste, “Make him believe thou art Sir Topas the curate,” which makes the situation even worse for Malvolio. At the end of the play she manages to slip away before anyone notices, which I believe shows a lack of responsibility about her. She has her fun but disappears before she can be punished, without having felt any remorse.

We hear that she has married Sir Toby and that brings up another big difference between herself and Olivia: Olivia would never consider marrying anyone as vulgar and rude as Sir Toby, but Maria likes him. Olivia ultimately marries Sebastian, who is the direct opposite to Sir Toby. Maria, I think, is a very loyal servant to Olivia and they enjoy each other’s company, but they are very different, socially and characteristically. Maria is a servant and Olivia is a countess. Olivia is a romantic and her character reflects Orsino’s in some ways, in that she can be very changeable. Maria, on the other hand, seems to be more vivacious and carefree.

Related Topics

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay
Materials Daily
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
Free Plagiarism
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
Sorry, but only registered users have full access

How about getting this access

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!


Emma Taylor


Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?

Can't find What you were Looking for?

Get access to our huge, continuously updated knowledge base

The next update will be in:
14 : 59 : 59