AS English Literature Twelfth Night Watch

Gizmo1996
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I'm stuck on answering a coursework question that I have to write to for my AS Enlish Literature class. The question is 'Do you view Malvolio as a comic character or do you feel that he adds a tragic darkness to the play?' I'm just not sure how to go about answering the question and starting it. :/ Could anyone help me please?
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Lyrical Prodigy
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Oh Gosh lol! Twelfth Night, did this last year for AQA English lit, I enjoyed it though

- Well you introduction needs to establish an arguement, so in your case it would be something like " Initially Malvolio could be viewed as a comical character however some may say that he represents a tragic darkness in the play of Twelfth Night".

You need to split your essay into two parts that conveys both views of the question.

How can Malvolio be seen as a comical character? (Points you could include):
- It could be said that Shakespeare sought to mock the puritan culture because puritans were power hungry and would do anything to climb the social hierarchy thus allowing Malvolio to become over ambitious and making a fool of himself. (He thought Olivia loved him and so thought he'd become 'Count Malvolio', here you should find relevant quotes that show his desire to become a person of higher authority)
- Malvolio seems especially comic due to all the puns and slapstick comedy used, in this scene (Act III Scene IV) he is very extrovert and uses his movements to generate humour, completely contradicting his puritanical values.
- Malvolio also presents dramatic Irony because he thinks he is above everyone else whereas in reality he is not.


How does Malvolio present tragedy and darkness in the play?
- Malvolio is punished and left in a dark room to suffer, during this time he pleads for release and help. Some could say that this punishment exceeds what he deserved. He tries to assure the others that he is not a mad man, he genuinely wants to be granted freedom again. Here you can add some historical context of how in the 16th-18th Century insane people or those who were mentally ill were treated inhumanely as though they were wild animals. Many of them were admitted to workhouses, poorhouses and jail.

Remember to end you essay with YOUR opinion, how do you think he's represented? Comical or Tragedy?

- This is all I can think of from the top of my head! Let me know if you need anymore help xx Wait till you get to A2 Eng Lit... :rolleyes:!
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