AS English literature Coursework- Twelfth Night Watch

mattgoodill
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Hey
I've been working on my English Literature coursework and I seem to have writer's block. I have no idea how to move forward with this section. My essay question is: "Shakespere's presentation of Malvolio in 'Twelfth Night' is decidedly unfunny. To what extent do you agree with the statement?". The point that I've reached is talking about how act 3 scene 4 is funny, but I dont think what I've written is very good. Below is what I've written so far on the scene. Can anyone help me, please?

During the comedic climax of the play, in act 3 scene 4, Malvolio presents himself to Olivia in response to the fake letter. Olivia asks Malvolio: “why dost thou smile so” and Malvolio responds with: “at your request”. The main source of comedy comes from the recurring themes of mistaken identity and misunderstanding. Malvolio’s ridiculous behaviour and speech is a prime example of dramatic irony; only the audience and the pranksters know the truth about the letter. Malvolio, in his attempts at advancing on Olivia, references popular Elizabethan songs to try and convey his intentions. “Please one and please all” and "to bed, ay sweetheart, and I'll come to thee". Unfortunately, these song seem to offend Olivia, as they are about sexual desires and she is still in mourning for her brother. This would be funny to an audience because this failed attempt at courting is comical even if there was no prank, due to his methods being vastly inappropriate. Shakespeare uses the comic trope of misunderstanding. “Smilest thou?” ; Olivia’s confusion at Malvolio’s behaviour conveys that she thinks that he is mad, to his confusion this is significant because the other pranksters pick up on this and come up with the idea to take it further and try to convince Malvolio that he is truly mad. When Olivia states: “this is very midsummer madness”, it shows that she truly thinks he is mad.
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