Twelfth Night Genre

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  • Created by: Megan96
  • Created on: 04-11-13 20:43

Twelfth Night fits rather snuggly into the generic category of Shakespearean "Comedy." But what the heck does that mean anyway? That it's funny? Something else? Well, the play is pretty hilarious, but "Comedy" involves a whole lot more than humour. The genre has a few basic rules to follow so let's look at our handy-dandy check-list and see if Twelfth Night fits:

  • Light, humorous tone: Check. If Twelfth Night had a slogan it would be "Let the Good Times Roll." There's plenty of humour and foolery in the play and, while Twelfth Night also thinks about some pretty weighty and controversial issues – like sex, gender, love, social ambition – it does so with a light, irreverent hand. (Sometimes, this can be the most effective way to explore heavy topics. Think of Jon Stewart's treatment of politics in The Daily Show. It's silly and light but also pretty shrewd.

  • Clever Dialogue and Witty Banter: Check. Even when characters are drunk and on the verge of passing out, they somehow manage to blow us away with their snappy wordplay and witty repartee.

  • Deception and Disguise: Check. Viola cross-dresses as a boy ("Cesario"), her brother Sebastian pretends to be some guy named "Roderigo," and Maria and Toby trick Malvolio into believing Olivia loves him. Sounds like "deception and disguise" to us.

  • Mistaken Identity: Check. When Viola cross-dresses as "Cesario," she looks a whole lot like her fraternal twin bro, Sebastian. So, when Sebastian rolls up into Illyria, marries Olivia, and beats


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