Shakespeare’s uses self deception in twelfth night to allow the characters to reflect upon themselves and present to the audience their dilemma.The theme of self deception is extensive throughout this drama, but the most subtle form of this is presented through Orsino’s conviction of love for Olivia. When we see him initially he is so obsessed about Olivia that it is almost sickening, he has fallen victim to false idealism.
His love in a poetic sense is compared to the vast and limitless ocean, “notwithstanding thy capacity receiveth the sea”. Shakespeare uses the sea as a representation of how much love the beholder and truly be capable of. Shakespeare also depicts Orsino as a sentimental lover who suffers from the “sweet pangs” of love and ecstasy that have no real existence. Rather than centering himself to find the reality of his passion and to find the remedy, he chooses to dive into a solution that is deceptive. He relies heavily on music and anticipates for it to cure him of this raging passion that he has towards Olivia. In the first two scenes he talks about how “If music be the food of love then play on”,