To what extent might Twelfth Night be seen as a typical romantic comedy?


AS - Level English Mind Map on To what extent might Twelfth Night be seen as a typical romantic comedy?, created by Anna Jones on 05/29/2017.
Anna Jones
Mind Map by Anna Jones, updated more than 1 year ago
Anna Jones
Created by Anna Jones about 7 years ago

Resource summary

To what extent might Twelfth Night be seen as a typical romantic comedy?
  1. It isn't a typical romantic comedy - Shakespeare satirises his characters and consequently punishes them - making social commentary
    1. Accost scene - Sir Andrew
      1. Shakespeare uses wordplay and wit to create humour at the expense of his characters
        1. "Laughter always erupts precisely as the situation becomes hopeless:" Walter Kerr
        2. Shakespeare satirises and mocks the courtly love which was fashionable at the time
          1. although this may be argued to be a feature of romantic comedy
            1. the fact that Orsino sends another to do his wooing for him suggests that his love is disingenuous and emphasises that he is too distant from Olivia to truly love her, but instead loves the concept of love
              1. Her very inaccessibility seems to be what makes her appealing as it enables him to indulge his misery and luxuriate in his role as unrequited lover
                1. His fickleness also undermines the genuineness of his affection, although this does enable him to quickly move on to and fall in love with Cesario/Viola
                  1. This is also a characteristic of Romeo in 'Romeo and Juliet'
            2. All the love in the play is romantic, intense and irrational - emphasised by many of the characters being subject to 'love at first sight'
              1. love is the driving force of the play, established by Orsino's first lines
                1. It's immense power is most clearly demonstrated in its impact on Malvolio - who is otherwise extremely rational and straight laced
                  1. However, Malvolio's love is mainly comedic for Shakespeare's contemporary audience because of the torture it results in therefore not fitting to typical features of a romantic comedy
                  2. Although to a lesser extent than Malvolio, Olivia is similarly overcome by ridiculous love and degrades herself in the process - this may be her punishment for acting too powerfully and masculine: particularly in her rejections of Orsino and single-handedly running her household
                    1. But the characters' foolishness can be forgiven in the world of comedy
                    2. Isn't typical - gender bending
                      1. However, this manipulation of gender does facilitate some typical aspects of romantic comedy
                        1. Orsino: What kind of woman is't? Viola: Of your complexion. Orsino: She is not worth thee then. What years i'faith? Viola: About your years, my Lord. Orsino: Too old, by heaven!
                          1. Act 2 Scene 4
                            1. "Hilarity is a gasp, a shock, a shriek of disbelief at what is plainly evident." Walter Kerr
                            2. Antonio is similarly limited in his love for Sebastian due to his gender, however since he cannot remedy it he is condemned to be alone whilst Sebastian enters into a stable, heterosexual relationship
                            3. Orsino: Boy, thou hast said to me a thousand times thou never shouldest love woman like to me. ... Give me thy hand. And let me see thee in thy woman's weeds.
                              1. Act 5 Scene 1
                                1. Viola isn't seen in her female clothing in the play, heterosexual gender norms aren't reestablished
                                  1. However, Orsino's masculinity and trad. gender power distribution is reestablished through Orsino's speech
                                    1. trad. rules and boundaries are reaffirmed by the marriages at the end
                                      1. "there was nevertheless a growing tradition which established marriage as the goal at least of romantic comedy. That tradition Shakespeare habitually disrupts." Lisa Hopkins
                                    2. Viola's continued masculinity may just be Shakespeare trying to show continuity in their relationship which is enabled by her disguise
                                      1. "Orsino wants to establish continuity with their earlier moments of intimacy" Michael Shapiro
                                      2. "the final couplet restates the desire to see Viola dressed "in her woman's weeds" and can therefore define Orsino's final attitude more as impatience or relief than as uncertainty or disappointment about her gender." Michael Shapiro
                                      3. However, this does establish the typical ending of a romantic comedy - 'companionate marriage'
                                      1. Types of comedy in Twelfth Night: Romantic comedy, Slapstick (the role of fools), wordplay and wit, satirical
                                        1. It can be seen as a typical romantic comedy since the work shakespeare appropriated was one
                                          1. Burnaby Rich - "The History of Apolonius and Silla"
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