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How Shakespeare depicts love through comedy in Twelfth Night

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By detailed reference to the text of Twelfth Night, demonstrate how Shakespeare depicts love through comedy "The thinker dies, but his thoughts are beyond the reach of destruction. Men are mortal, but ideas are immortal." This famous quotation demonstrates that although all men are mortal, their deeds will remain immortal; Shakespeare symbolises this quotation. Born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare quickly became one of the most popular playwrights in the city of London, and a favourite of the monarch, Queen Elizabeth I. In Twelfth Night, a romantic comedy, Shakespeare analyses human nature, particularly the ability to love through the creation of the imaginary land, Illyria and many different characters. Love is a magical sentimental feeling when one has strong affection or liking for someone and this is expressed through various comical moments showing how the characters in the play are influenced by love. The very first line introduces that the narrative of Twelfth Night is centered on love: 'If music is the food of love play on ...' This line from Orsino offers the audience the main content of the play; yet mistaken identity and disguise provide slices of comedy that is necessary. Using various forms of both dramatic irony and love, Shakespeare cleverly fixes all that is destroyed; this is vital to a comedy. The introduction of the love triangle was a principal aspect for the tone of the play. ...read more.


If I think so, I think the same of you ... Then think you right: I am not what I am ...' It is comical that Olivia's love is bound to be unsuccessful and that she will be frustrated by love. The conversations between Olivia and Viola are 'doubly-comical' as both speakers are male. The audience also realise that it is 'easier' for Viola as the actor is back to his true gender. Furthermore, Olivia is impressed by Viola's quick wit but the countess fails to realise that these replies are due to Viola's love of Orsino: '... Write loyal cantons of contemned love ...' The audience know that Viola is able to use her experience of the situation to impress Olivia with her replies. It is also comical as Viola relates to her 'failing' love with regret. Olivia's commitment of marriage to Sebastian is humorous onstage: '...would thou'ldst be ruled by me ... Madam, I will ... Plight me the full assurance of your faith ...' Olivia thinks that there is an enormous emotional change in 'Cesario'. The comedy is provided by unrealism of the situation. Olivia is extremely cautious of another change in emotion and she tries to pounce when possible and arranges a wedding. Olivia's mystification about the character of 'Cesario' is comical. Through this, Shakespeare finds an unrealistic but a humorous solution to the problems of the love triangle. Olivia's constant rejections of Orsino generate interest and anticipation: ' ... I cannot love him ...' ...read more.


Antonio is another character whose relationship with Sebastian is vital in Twelfth Night: '...for my love ...' Antonio's fondness and desire to help Sebastian shows a different type of love. However, interesting, man to man love messages were common in Elizabethan times. Despite this, Antonio is indeed involved in many humorous moments due to his love, a conversation between Antonio and 'Cesario' shows this: '... ask you for my purse ... What money ...' Mistaken identity is the source of the comedy in this occasion as Antonio asks 'Cesario' for his money believing that he was Sebastian. This is comical because of the frustration and anger of Antonio. Situations raised in Twelfth Night cannot function in real life. Shakespeare uses Fabian to revel this to the audience: '... If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction ...' This statement is an example of dramatic irony and answers questions about unrealism raised by the audience. A huge amount of comedy in Twelfth Night is centred on dramatic irony. This is a key component of comedy as it provides a group of people, the audience, with importance and information that characters in the play fail to have. In this play, Shakespeare describes and portrays love through many comical moments. The principal method in Twelfth Night was the involvement of the audience. ?? ?? ?? ?? Ravi Ramesh: Twelfth Night Essay: February 2008: page 1 of 6 ...read more.

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