Humor in William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night Essay

Humor in William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night Essay

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Humor in William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night In Twelfth Night we see different types of humour. There is the witty
word play exchanged by Viola and Feste, the bawdy humour of Sir Toby,
the foolishness of Sir Andrew, self-importance of Malvolio, and the
general confusion caused by Viola’s disguiseAn account of Humor in Twelfth Night.

The first major instance of humour found in twelfth night is in Act 1
Scene 3 when Maria and Sir Toby Belch engage in a banter which is
packed with puns. Following Maria’s telling off, sir Toby says,

‘Confine? I’ll confine myself no finer than I am. These clothes are
good enough to drink in, and so be these boots too- an’ they be not,
let then hang themselves in their own straps’

In this quotation sir Toby puns the word confine with fine the also
uses a metaphor saying that the boots should hang themselves with
their straps giving the word hang a double meaning as well. This is
humorous as he is using many forms of wordplay that the audience in
Shakespearean times would have found hilarious. This is very
constructive as for the first time in a comedy play there is an
instance where the audience can laugh following the tragedy of the
shipwreck. This talk between Maria and Sir Toby also brings about a
sense that perhaps there may be love sparking between the two
individuals

Later on in Act 1 scene 3 Sir Toby and Sir Andrew engage in bawdy
talk. After talking about hair Sir Toby mentions,

‘Excellent, it hangs like flax on a distaff; and I...


... middle of paper ...


... climax. The
audience feels extremely tense as the obviously know that sooner or
later either Orsino or Olivia will find out what has been taking place
but the question is, how?

In the last scene there is not much direct humour but most of the
misunderstandings in the play are later understood as a result of this
scene.

‘One face, one voice, one habit, and two persons!

A natural perspective, that is and is not!’

Orsino is perceptibly puzzled by this misunderstanding of twins who
have been mixed up in each others lives. The audience’s impression
over all this would be that they find it extremely funny because they
have known all along and Orsino’s character has just found out. The
text is given a finalising feel as all characters have now worked out
the lurking mysteries.

Text Box: WORD COUNT: 1234

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