Twelfth Night has been described as one of the saddest of Shakespeare's Comedies. Disscuss.

Essay by VerresHigh School, 12th grade May 2004

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There is no doubt that the ending of this play is very convenient and works out happily for the main characters, with them all falling quite naturally into couples - even the potential disaster of the twins' confused relationships is simply resolved. It could in fact be said that the play moves from a potentially tragic situation created by the shipwreck and two women mourning supposedly dead brothers, to the joyous realm of a romantic comedy, ending with three happily married couples. Therefore, at face value it is perhaps rather difficult to view "Twelfth Night" as being sad, as the audience are made aware of its wretched potential, yet all tragic outcomes are avoided. However, during the course of the play we also see a lot of the more minor characters, particularly in relation to the subplot of the gulling of Malvolio. This results in us becoming emotionally involved with what they experience during the play and we are saddened that they do not find love by the end - although it is often their misfortunes that are responsible for the comedy, there is definitely a very tragic element.

Sir Andrew's comment of "I was adored once too", as well as conveying what a feeble man he is, also evokes a certain pathos in the audience who become anxious for him to find happiness, if only so someone will 'look after' him and put an end to his whining. He cannot be described as a victim of love, as he needs to marry to recoup the expense of staying in Illyria "If I cannot recover your niece, I am a foul way out" - although he is clearly not capable of winning her affections, and is being encouraged by Sir Toby to pursue this line so that...