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Twelfth Night

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Introduction

How does Shakespeare use deception to present the character of Malvolio and to create humour in Twelfth Night? In Twelfth Night William Shakespeare uses many forms of deception on Malvolio and the other characters for humour purposes. The deception devices used are mistaken identity, cross dressing, disguise, forged handwriting, self deception, word play and dramatic irony. Malvolio's character is deceived by forged handwriting, disguise, word play and self deception. The devices used to create humour in this play are word play which is used to confuse characters is, mistaken identity (this uses dramatic irony to also entertain the audience as they know that for example Viola is a girl yet Olivia thinks otherwise). Cross dressing is humorous also as it seems unnatural to see a girl dressed and trying to speak more like a man, however in Shakespeare's era there were only males actors. . Forged handwriting is also humorous because it's tricking the recipient into thinking that it is true, yet as the audience very well know it is not, this is also dramatic irony much like the mistaken identity is. ...read more.

Middle

Feste deceives Malvolio in act 4 scene 2 by using a disguise and pretending to be a man of higher authority,"Sir Topas the curate, who comes to visit Malvolio the lunatic". Malvolio at this stage of the play has been locked up in a dark room as Sir Toby has accused him of being mad, due to the fact he was smiling and wearing yellow stockings, which Maria's fake letter told him to do. "Remember who commended thy yellow stockings, and wished to see thee ever cross-garted" meaning she wants to see him in yellow stockings. Feste's deception using the disguise is rather effective, as he almost does drive Malvolio to the brink of madness by teasing him about the room Malvolio is being held in. For example Feste says that the room is rather light even though in reality the room is almost pitch black, this confuses Malvolio and causes him to almost loose his mind. "Madman, thou errest; I say there is no darkness but ignorance". ...read more.

Conclusion

Sir Tobys deceives Sir Andrew by lying to him about Olivias feelings. Sir Toby tells Sir Andrew that Olivia loves him but he must prove himself by defeating Viola in combat or a duel as it is more commonly known, "this was a great argument of love in her towards you". This is humorous for the audience as they know the character is being tricked and performing foolish actions. I felt that in Twelfth Night the main source of deception was disguise, as it is the one form of deception that is kept going through the majority of the play. Forged handwriting is also a large form of deception as it contributes to the sub story. The forged handwriting used on Malvolio was very effective as the one letter made him act totally out of character. The forged handwriting was a turning point for the fight against Malvolio as it persuades him to wear yellow stockings and smile which gave them a reason to call him mad and lock him away which then allowed them to play further deception on him. ...read more.

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