Earlier in the semester, I posted an entry that focused largely on the nature of Antonio and Sebastian’s relationship, as well as other possible homosexual suggestions in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. While I still believe that Shakespeare likes to have fun with gender and unconventional relationships, I decided to take a new approach to the issue of LGBTQ frequencies within the text. Someone left a comment in reply to my claim that Antonio and Sebastian could be a sexually charged relationship to suggest that seeing sex in everything obscures the true nature of the relationships in the play, so I began to reconsider my contemporary approach and ignore any sexual tension between the two that I initially observed.
The relationship between the two could absolutely be an intensely one-sided homosocial bond, in which Antonio feels subservient to Sebastian based on factors of social class or even just a deep sense of admiration and brotherhood as a result of the rescue and salvation that took place. Antonio says to Sebastian, “If you will not murder me for my love, let me be your servant.” [2.1.30] We cannot dismiss the reality that Antonio may feel a deep sentiment for Sebastian after saving his life. Further, we must consider the human nature of connection and fraternity—obviously we form deep same sex human bonds all throughout our lives in forms of friends and family, whom we would wholly sacrifice our well being for.
In reconsidering my initial blog post, I was disappointed in my immediacy to over-sexualize the text, and to label many of these friendships as something sexual. As I had previously stated, there is a basic human need for companionship, and although Antonio comes on a little too strong, he could easily just be the kinda friend that tenders his bros with loyalty and eternal servitude.