Comedy In Twelfth Night

Powerful Essays
Sir Phillip Sydney defines comedy in the case of ‘Twelfth Night’ as “an imitation of the common errors of our life, which Malvolio representeth in the most ridiculous and scornful sort that may be so as it is impossible that any beholder can content to be such a one.” There is no denying that ‘Twelfth Night’ is a comedic play directed at Malvolio’s flaws, made clear through his gulling, mockery and imprisonment with the intent of exposing his “precisely identified moral failings” (Butler 3). It is these moral failings and his refusal to acknowledge them or grow that ultimately justifies his treatment and exclusion from the happy ending. Despite his austere manner, Elizabethan spectators viewed Malvolio as a comedic construct, purely created for the purpose of ridicule. He is a kill joy from start to end, made evident in his naming. ‘Malvolio’, (‘Mal’ meaning ill & Volio meaning will/ evil-wishing in Latin) suggests…show more content…
The play therapeutically elucidates the mischief that may theoretically derive from a life of solemnity and thoughtlessness. The play appears to be a simplistic comedy, and indeed it may be, featuring the typical characters and conventions expected. Moreover, Twelfth Night follows the traditional structure and form of a comedy with its pleasant resolution. In contrast, Malvolio assures the audience that the complexity of the play is much greater then what first meets the eye. It promises spectators that the theme of hierarchy is purposefully intertwined in the plot to elevate knowledge of the disturbing reminder of
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