Twelfth Night: Comedic Techniques Elaborate the Nature of Love

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Twelfth Night: Comedic Techniques Elaborate the Nature of Love

The infamous Shakespeare comedy “Twelfth Night” uses a variety of techniques to depict humor and comicality but, manages to develop the nature of love in doing so. Literary devices such as puns, dramatic irony and scene layout are used to provide comedy but, characters are what represent Shakespeare’s personal thoughts on the broad topic of love. Characters in every type of literature give life to the story and are a gateway of expressing different emotions and personality traits. The characters of “Twelfth Night” provide laughter and distinct opinions on love. Malvolio, Olivia and Viola are three main characters that have completely different perspectives on love but, have one thing in common: providing laughter to readers. Malvolio is a targeted character that provides amusement and causes readers to dislike him. He oozes self-love and that has become the root of his misery. After he pretentiously comments on Olivia associating herself with a fool, she retorts by saying, “O, you are sick of self-love, Malvolio, and taste with a distemper’d appetite.”(1.5.90-1) Even Olivia is able to realize Malvolio is self centered and has an unpleasant presence. Olivia is not the only character that finds him distasteful, he also comes off as a narcissistic, goody two-shoes to Maria, Sir Andrew, Toby and Fabian. Sir Toby tells Malvolio, “Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale.” (2.3.114-5) Malvolio thinks he is above others due to the fact that he is Olivia’s steward. He tells people of higher state than him how to act appropriately and plays the devil’s advocate. This drives Maria, Toby, Andrew and Fabian to take their revenge by writing a fake love letter from Olivia. Once the letter is read by Malvolio the laughter becomes endless. In Act 3 Scene 4, Malvolio enters wearing yellow stockings, cross-gartered laces and a big smile on his face. He treats Olivia like his...
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