• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explore how Shakespeare uses Dramatic Irony to Create a Humorous Situation in "Twelfth Night"

Extracts from this document...


Explore how Shakespeare uses Dramatic Irony to Create a Humorous Situation in "Twelfth Night" Dramatic Irony is one of the main techniques that Shakespeare uses to make "Twelfth Night" a comical play of the Elizabethan times. Dramatic Irony is when the audience know something not known by one or some of the characters. The use of dramatic irony creates humour; this makes the play work well, allowing the characters relationship to work better. During the Elizabethan time Sumptuary Laws were around, these laws told the people of the Elizabethan times what colour and type of clothing to wear depending on what class they were off. In Twelfth Night these laws are being broken by Viola and Malvolio, Viola is dressing up as a man and Malvolio is wearing clothes of a higher status. Also during the Elizabethan times women were not permitted to perform on stage so their roles would have been done by young men. This would have worked well during that period as Viola is dressed as a man for most of the play and if a young man played her part the audience would have found it more hysterical. ...read more.


Viola realises that her brother might be alive, "He names Sebastian; I my brother know...." The character Orsino and Cesario create humour for the audience: this is because during the Elizabethan times the audience would have watched the play as a man loving a man. The scenes that the two characters are in are extremely humorous because the audience know a lot more than the characters, making it even more comical. Furthermore, the characters relationship creates tension, as the audience want to know if there is a future between them. The playwright uses this tension to make the play more interesting and makes you want to find out what is happening. In Twelfth Night there are many sub-plots which all meet up with the main-plot an example of this is Malvolio and the trick letter from Olivia. This can be linked to dramatic irony because the audience will know that the letter is a fake and that it is from Maria, Sir Toby, Sir Andrew and Fabian who are all taking revenge on Malvolio for placing himself in a higher status than Sir Toby and threatening Maria. ...read more.


So Orsino goes of with Viola, Sebastian goes of with Olivia and Maria goes of with Sir Toby. However the only character out of them whose love seems to be the truest is Viola's. This is because Viola stuck to loving Orsino all throughout the play, but Orsino goes from Olivia to Viola and Olivia goes from Cesario to Sebastian. The unhappy character at the end of the play is Malvolio for the reason that he realises that people had been playing a trick on him and his last line before he leaves the stage is, "I'll be revenged on the whole pack of you!" This shows that even though everyone will be happy he will come back to ruin it and get them back for what they did to him. Humour also comes across through the characters awareness or unawareness of the characters such as Viola not knowing that her brother is alive and visa versa. Overall, Shakespeare has used the themes of Mistaken Identity, Love, Madness and Mayhem to create a comical play, with the aid of dramatic irony. By creating so much humour in the play it makes the audience feel the tension in the play and more involved in the play. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Twelfth Night section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Twelfth Night essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Mistaken Identity in Twelfth Night.

    3 star(s)

    Viola-Cesario's duel - a branch from the Olivia and Viola mistaken identity. Sir Andrew was on the verge of leaving Illyria because his desire to "woo" Olivia was not getting anywhere as she was paying more attention to Viola-Cesario. So, with some persuasion from Sir Toby he challenged Viola-Cesario to a duel and so win Olivia's affection by his bravery.

  2. How does Shakespeare create and use comedy in the play Twelfth Night?

    One example of this is in Act 2: Scene 5 lines 170-171 when both Toby and Andrew are praising Maria's letter, 'Sir Toby I could marry this wench for this device. Sir Andrew So could I too.' Shakespeare uses Sir Andrew as the idiot knowing that everyone loves to laugh at an idiot.

  1. What Types of love does Shakespeare explore in Twelfth Night?

    'Maria once told me she did affect me, and I have heard herself come thus near, that should she fancy, it should be one of my complexion.' By saying this he shows us that he thinks Olivia likes him in a way which she clearly doesn't.

  2. Examine the ways in which Shakespeare creates comedy for the audience in Act 3 ...

    Additionally, the role of the fool during Twelfth Night plays a large part in conveying humour. Feste often comments on the actions and words of the other characters in a comic way, acting almost as a narrator at times. The fool would have been a familiar character for many noble

  1. how Shakespeare uses disguise to suit his comic purpose

    In Act two he does the complete opposite to these things. This makes Malvolio a hypocrite because he tells people Like Sir Toby and Sir Andrew off for acting inappropriately and then he goes and acts inappropriately himself. Why Malvolio acts so inappropriately is because when he tells Sir Toby,

  2. A close, critical analysis of Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night' with regard to relating a particular ...

    He is also violently, almost irrationally, shocked and angry at the prospect of Cesario (Viola) being taken away from him by Olivia. Whether this is interpreted as inspired by jealousy and anger at Cesario, or perhaps concealed shock that he is leaving him, is up to the reader.

  1. What are the contrasted attitudes to love in Twelfth Night and how are they ...

    And we see that Maria constantly uses sexual innuendo and puns. One of those examples was 1:3 lines 67-68. These metaphors involve sexual innuendo and word play. Act 1, scence3, line 70 also means that Sir Andrew is sexually impotent.

  2. Malvolio’s Treatment in Twelfth Night

    Jove and my stars be praised!" We must remember that Malvolio is still "a Puritan" who does not believe in love and happiness. He therefore convinces himself that it is the work of "Jove" that has brought this occurrence about. In Act 3, scene 4, Olivia calls upon Malvolio for advice about her troubles with Cesario.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work