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

How Shakespeare depicts love through comedy in Twelfth Night

Extracts from this document...


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Writing to Inform, Explain and Describe 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 Writing to Inform, Explain and Describe essays

  1. This play appeared in print in 1600 with the title The Comical History of ...

    render to the thought that he is in love with her - as it seems that Bassanio is looking for love in his head rather than his heart. This could indicate that Bassanio is in love with the idea of Portia's money rather than the idea of Portia, as the

  2. forbidden love

    Amani was enforced to keep her visits with Chad discreet. The last thing that she wanted was to be seen by her parents or elder brother. Amani was from an extremely strict and traditional family. In her community, love marriages were ostracised and unacceptable.

  1. explore the variety of attitudes towards marriage and love in Pride and Prejudice

    The words "fall in love" I believe can not occur in one meeting, love should be a long process. Mrs. Bennet is being over optimistic about Mr. Bingley as she is so sure he will "fall" for one of her daughters.

  2. Rural Love, Life and Labour.

    They were coming from around the corner. I chose to ignore them as I really wanted to go downstairs and meet the English people and the sooner I finished, the sooner I could actually go down and see them. "Excuse me, kind sir," the voice stopped me in my tracks.

  1. True Love

    After a few days when he got back from Essex I could finally tell the girls, one of my friends said she had guessed that we liked each other because of the way we were with each other on the St Fagan's trip we went on a few days before,

  2. Macbeth - Shakespeare

    This could be exploited by his easy susceptibility later in the play by people such as the witches or his wife towards evil. The fact that the witches are going to meet Macbeth could suggest he is evil, as the witches are deemed evil and meddlesome.

  1. Porphyria's Lover Essay

    The beginning of the poem starts off as the man sitting alone waiting on his lover as she is out at an event, the second and third paragraph is one long sentence explaining how he stares at Porphyria as she enters the house and talks off her coat.

  2. when love lasts

    Seeing his friend worsen each and everyday. Eventually he plunged into an even deeper depression than to what Damien had, himself, faced.

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