How Does Shakespeare Successfully Create Comedy in Act 1 of Twelfth Night?

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How does Shakespeare successfully create comedy in Act 1 of Twelfth Night? Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night takes place during celebrations when the social hierarchy seems to be nearing towards non-existent and rankings seem to be overrun by excess partying. Tricking each other and speaking in puns was common at this time meaning Shakespeare could easily incorporate humour into the play. Through physical comedy, wit and wordplay and the use of dramatic irony, Shakespeare brings out the elements of comedy to the audience, keeping them entertained throughout. In Act 1 Scene 1 we are introduced to the Duke, Curio and Valentine. The first, yet subtle use of comedy is seen when Curio asks the Duke ‘Will you go hunt, my lord?’ followed by ‘The hart’ This pun is suggesting The Duke is either going to hunt an animal or that he is just so consumed by love, he can’t help but think of Olivia on a regular basis. He then goes on to say ‘O, when mine eyes did see Olivia first’ To the audience , this may have been seen as quite humorous as this is the first mention of Olivia’s name, potentially suggesting that the Duke is in love with the idea of love rather than Olivia herself. The next use of humour in this scene is portrayed through a hyperbolic act whereby Olivia is in mourning for 7 years following the death of her brother. This, to the audience, will seem ridiculous and unnecessary creating a subtle sense of humour. Nearing the end of Act 2 we learn about Viola’s plans for her disguise in order to appear less vulnerable. She then goes on to say ‘thou shalt present me as an Eunuch to him’ which will yet again appear an overdramatic act to the audience. In act 3, Sir Toby Belch is introduced into the play. Shakespeare’s wit and word play used even for simply just the names of the characters can build up laughter. The use of onomatopoeia in Sir Toby’s name creates a humorous
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