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Analyse the different methods that Shakespeare uses to inject humour into this play - Make close reference to the text.

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Introduction

Analyse the different methods that Shakespeare uses to inject humour into this play. Make close reference to the text. Disguise is a popular method that Shakespeare uses which supports dramatic irony to inject humour into the play, where the audience members are aware of something (in this case the true identity of the characters) that characters in the play are not. This of course creates tension in the play and excites the audience as well as also playing a key part in providing comedy for the audience through the dramatic irony and at the same time, also maintaining interest. As only men were able to act during the Elizabethan times, any female roles were played by men, which was in itself, probably greatly humorous for the Elizabethan audiences. An example of a character who utilises such disguise in 'Twelfth Night', is of course, the role of Viola which during these times, would have been played by a male actor. However, when she dresses up as her brother during the play, the male actor dressed up as a woman (to play Viola), then needs to look as though he is dressed up a man (to play the part of Cesario) - a rather complicated scenario. As well as being complicated, this would have definitely provided extra elements of comedy for the Elizabethan audiences along with the dramatic irony involved that the audience would know about the disguise, however some characters would not. ...read more.

Middle

In both of these examples, through humour and comedy, Shakespeare creates the failure of characters to realise the truth as being lessons for the audience. In this play, Olivia's readiness to fall in love with appearances, adding to the humour of the play, is also a lesson about love that Shakespeare illustrates through the comedy. Satire is yet another common device used by Shakespeare in many of his plays to inject comedy and humour for the audience and spectators. Satire is when a character is held up to be mocked or ridiculed, and in this play, it is of course Malvolio and also Sir Andrew Aguecheek. Just watching a character being made fun of, mocked and ridiculed in such a way is certainly humorous for the audience and they enjoy joining in, laughing and jeering at these characters also. Shakespeare deliberately creates characters such as Malvolio and Andrew Aguecheek primarily for this purpose: to be mocked, ridiculed and laughed at. In some cases, it may be certain beliefs or qualities of the person which is the cause of the ridicule and sometimes it is these things which are targeted by Shakespeare in particular. An excellent example of a character which is mocked because of both his beliefs and his personal qualities in this play is Malvolio. Shakespeare makes this humour for the audience by creating Malvolio as a sad, sly, hypocritical, self absorbed, boring, serious, and annoying character. ...read more.

Conclusion

Sir Andrew Aguecheek is also a good contrast to Sir Toby as Sir Andrew's character plays more on wordplay and slapstick humour than on physical comedy. Sir Andrew is described by Toby as being "as tall a man as any's in Illyria" meaning that he is of high social status and good character, which is a probable pun on Sir Andrews lanky build. Our first introduction of Sir Andrew in Act 1 scene 3 and really sums up his character and how wordplay is used by Shakespeare to provide the humour for the audience. Sir Toby tells him to "Accost, Sir Andrew accost", the Elizabethan Audience will have understood this to have meant 'greet courteously' however, Sir Andrew, not understanding this meaning took that to be the name of Maria later addressing her as, "Good Mistress Mary Accost". It is examples of wordplay and slapstick humour such as this, which gives the audience another element of humour to consider. Shakespeare creates Andrew in this way however, like Sir Toby I believe that there is another Underlying idea\, which Shakespeare is trying to convey to the audience through wordplay comedy. This character highlights the importance, to the audience, of not only having wealth, but also the importance of having common sense and intelligence as well. This is portrayed by Sir Andrew as he is used by Sir Toby for his wealth and money. This is a lesson for the audience especially for the upper class individuals within the audience. ...read more.

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