Twelfth Night Comedy By Shakespeare And Its Effect On Other Writings

1956 words - 8 pages

Twelfth Night Comedy by Shakespeare and Its Effect on Other Writings

While Great Expectations and Gulliver’s Travels were not written as comedy, humor is seen in them. The comedy in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night can be related to the comedy in those writings, although Shakespeare used a variety of comedic techniques, not used in either Great Expectations or Gulliver’s Travels. The comedy in Twelfth Night varies greatly from the comedy in Great Expectations and Gulliver’s Travels at times. Irony is a common comedic element seen in all three works. Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels is commonly known as a satire, therefore it uses improbable irony as a tool. The misfortune, ridiculousness and contradict of Gulliver’s adventures is funny. For instance, he, an almighty human, was tied down and restrained by people the size of his finger. In Twelfth Night irony is also used. For example, Olivia fell in love with the woman, viola, dressed as a man, Cesario, who was to woo Olivia, for the duke. It is an unexpected, contradicting turn, mostly because of the couple’s gender, but also because of the going-ons during which it happened. In the following Viola finds out of Olivia’s love:

“Viola: I left no ring with her. What means this lady?
Fortune forbid my outside have not charmed her!
She made good view of me, indeed so much
That sure methought her eyes had lost her tongue,
For she did speak in starts distractedly.
She loves me, sure! The cunning of her passion
Invites me in this churlish messenger.”
(Shakespeare, Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 15 and 20)

The love triangle Shakespeare uses to twist the plot is ironic. In Great Expectations is the main comedic tool, although it is not a satire. It is ironic how Estella, who was out to break Pip’s heart at the beginning, has her own heart broken and seems to reconcile with him in the end, appearing to intend to never again part,
“I took her hand in mine, and we went out of the ruined place; and as the morning mists had risen long ago when I first left the forge, so the evening mists were rising now, and in all the broad expanse of tranquil light they showed to me, I saw no shadow of another parting form her.” (Dickens, 516)

Because common aspects from Shakespeare’s writing can be seen in Great Expectations and Gulliver’s Travels, and similar comedic techniques were used in the writings, the works’ comedy can be compared and contrasted with the play, Twelfth Night.

     Twelfth Night was an excellent play by William Shakespeare. Although there are many opinions about the play’s nature, it is commonly seen as an influential comedy. In the play, two twins are shipwrecked on the coast of an ideal country, like Disneyland, called Illyria.

They are separated, neither knowing the other is alive. The female, Viola, pretends to be a male page and works for the duke Orsino. Her job is to woo the lady he likes, Olivia. Viola is wooing for Orsino, pretending to be Cesario, and Olivia falls in love...

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