Twelfth Night: Terminology of Comedy Examples

Black Humor The way all of the characters treat Malvolio. The stuff they do to him is kind of funny on the surface, but as the story goes on it gets crueler and crueler and that’s what gives it a dark tone
Deadpan Humor When Orsino refuses to believe that women are capable of loving the way men can, and when Viola, as a man, tries to convince him otherwise.
Innuendo Sir Toby says of Sir Andrew’s dull, lank hair “it hangs like flax on a distaff; and I hope to see a housewife take thee between her legs and spin it off”
Irony Dramatic irony is demonstrated through the fact that an audience would know Olivia has fallen for Cesario and that, furthermore, the audience would also have the knowledge that Cesario is actually Viola
Malapropism He says By this hand, they are scounderals and subtractors that say so of him. Who are they?subtractors ought to be detractors
Pun the church thingy with Feste and Olivia
Riddle The letter turns out to be a riddle which, as Malvolio reads, seems to be her declaration of love for her steward. The letter declares “Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them”
Satire The satire is the manner in which Shakespeare has set up his plots. The audience expects one thing and gets another. He uses ridicule and joking to get the audience to laugh at the turn of events.
Slapstick Sir Andrew and Sebastian get into a minor slapping match, as well as when Olivia berates her cousin and his cohorts in one breathe then sweetly soothes Sebastian in the next.
Wit When they banter back and forth in these ways. The words are their swords as each one tries to outdo the other.

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