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

How effectively does Shakespeare exploit different types of comedy to make Act II, Scene V of 'Twelfth Night' funny?

Extracts from this document...


How effectively does Shakespeare exploit different types of comedy to make Act II, Scene V of 'Twelfth Night' funny? William Shakespeare wrote 'Twelfth Night' in 1914 as he was commissioned by Queen Elizabeth I to write a comic play for very important Italian courtier. The play included themes of love, confusion, disguise and other particularly funny topics from Shakespearean time. The title 'Twelfth Night' fits in well with the comic play for a number of reasons. 'Twelfth Night' is the name used for the Twelfth Day after Christmas. On this day (6th January), decorations are taken down, pranks are made and the servants and masters inverse. Two characters that appear in the play, Sir Toby and Sir Andrew, would like this period of time as they love to drink, joke and have loud fun. Their dancing, singing and drunkenness would most probably make the audience laugh. In contrast to Sir Toby and Sir Andrew, Malvolio is a puritan. A puritan is someone who believes getting drunk is immoral and they must also live by the principles of the bible. ...read more.


Is there no respect of place, persons, nor time in you?" (Act 2 Scene 3, Line 75) Maria, Feste, Sir Toby and Sir Andrew are furious with him and want revenge. Maria then thinks up a plan of writing a letter from Olivia (The one he loves) to Malvolio. It consumes of Olivia's heart liking Malvolio and instructs him on what to do. "Maria: I will drop in his way some obscure epistles of love; wherein, by the colour of his beard, the shape of his leg, the manner of his gait, the expressure of his eye, forehead, and complexion, he shall find himself most feelingly personated. I can write very like my lady your niece: on a forgotten matter we can hardly make distinction of our hands." "Sir Toby: He shall think, by the letters that thou wilt drop, that they come from my niece, and that she's in love with him." (Act 2 Scene 3, Line 131) Most of William Shakespeare's humour in "Twelfth Night" is from a comic device called dramatic irony. ...read more.


There is also an example of psychological comedy where the character Sir Toby says: "To anger him, we'll have the bear again; and we will fool him black and blue, shall we not, Sir Andrew?" This quote makes the audience aware that Sir Toby, Sir Andrew and Maria really want to make a fool out of Malvolio and get their revenge, by playing with his mind, hopes and dreams. In my personal opinion, it was a good idea that William Shakespeare placed Malvolio, who was both a puritan and very proud, as the central comical character as he was easy to make mock and the audience would have loved to hate him. The play due to its many comical devices is quite humorous and the appearance and attitude of the main character, Malvolio, and the contrast toward Sir Toby and Sir Andrew made it more amusing for the audience in Shakespearean times to laugh. In comparison to Shakespearean times, today we are very different and William Shakespeare wouldn't receive the same amount of laughter now, as he would have done in his own life. All of William Shakespeare's comical devices would have made his selected audience laugh which was the effect he was looking for. ...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. Discuss the different types of love presented in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.

    In this play Sir Andrew is known for his stupidity and foolishness. In Act 1, scene 4 viola has changed her name to Cesario, which everyone calls her by. Orsino has fallen for it and has already made Cesario his first-rate servant and has already shared all his secrets to

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

    She is the architect of the letter that fools Malvolio and even begins to put Sir Toby right where he had been doing wrong. She is sort of like Malvolio in the way that she feels she can only rise in the world through marriage.

  1. Analysis of Comedy in Act 3 Scene 4 of Twelfth Night

    Sir Andrew is essentially a figure of fun throughout the play, being described as 'a foolish knight' by Sir Toby and having hair which 'hangs like flax on a distaff' which would make him look really odd. He has written a challenge to Viola because he thinks 'he' is a

  2. Twelfth Night has been described as a play of contrast-light and darkness; humour and ...

    "I'll be revenged on the whole pack of you". This shows it is not the end for Malvolio and the worst is yet to come. Ironically, the puritans did get revenge; they shut down the theatres, and banned Christmas celebrations, for a short period of time, some fifty years after Shakespeare's death Shakespeare shows Illyria, as the Elizabethan society;

  1. Although 'Twelfth Night' is a happy comedy, there is a great deal of hurt ...

    Happily, Olivia and Sebastian got married, but realistically this would not have happened. Shakespeare's plays are full of make believe and illusion, this one in particular resulting in enchanted happiness, not being real what so ever, causing even greater satisfaction to the audience.

  2. What makes 'Twelfth Night' a Comedy?

    Young boys whose voices had not broken were hired to play the women, which is funny enough as it is. But if you add in the fact that Viola disguises herself as Cesario, a man, then you have a boy playing a woman, playing a man!

  1. How does Shakespeare make Act 2 Scene 5 of 'Twelfth Night' Dramatic?

    They are looking forward to seeing what is going to happen because they know he is going to make a fool of himself and therefore they feel more involved because they know something Malvolio does not. Moreover, Shakespeare's language plays an important part in the play because it reminds us of the theme of the scene.

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

    he often makes remarks that, although they are encrypted within a riddle or some kind of joke, make a lot of sense or question the intellect of his superiors. This intelligence creates humour for the audience as it makes a mockery of the characters with the high status, as they are made out to be intellectually inferior to a fool.

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