Twelfth Night in She's the Man

Comparison by James Hayes

The Comedic Ladder in Comparison

Comedy of Manners - (High Comedy)

Twelfh Night - One example of Comedy of Manners where the use of language reduces life to verbal wit, is in the scene where Sir Toby and Sir Andrew are drinking and Malvolio walks in. Malvolio then criticizes Sir Toby and Sir Andrew calling them drunk. In response Sir Toby says, "Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?"(2.3.115-116). This is an example of Comedy of Manners because Sir Toby uses his wit to put down Malvolio and make fun of his self-important nature.

She's The Man - One example of of Commedy of Manners in She's the man is where Viola tells the coach that she is a shirt. The Coach responds, "Well, we like to accomodate, here at Illyria, so I'll follow you around with a parasol. Alright, nancy-boy? [Marks his clipboard] You're a shirt." This is Comedy of Manners because the coach uses his wit to make fun of Viola.

Comedy of Ideals - (High Comedy)

Twelfth Night - A good example of high comedy in Twelfth Night is when Orsino says, "Then let thy love be younger than thyself, or thy affection cannot hold the bent; for women are as roses whose fair flower being once display'd, doth fall that very hour." (2.4.8) Orsino is saying that a women's love cannot last as long as a man's love. It shows comedy of Ideals because Orsino uses his wit to put his own ideals on a controversial idea.

She's the Man - An example of Comedy of Ideals is when Viola isn't allowed on the boy's team because she was a girl. This is Comedy of Ideals because comedy of Ideals focuses around a controversial topic and in this case the idea of men and women equality.

Farce Comedy

Twelfth Night - In twelfth Night, the main character (Viola) dresses up in Hopes to get close to Duke Orsino. While cross dressing may no be something unusual today, back in Viola's time cross dressing was considered outrageous and was considered sexual deviance as men were men and women were women. This shows a farce because Viola's cross dressing gave her a mistaken identity.

She's The Man - In contrast, Viola dressed up as Sebastian her brother to prove that girls are just a capable as boys in playing soccer. This is an example of farce because Viola's cross dressing gave her a mistaken identity to the high school as Sebastian.

Low Comedy

Twelfth Night - An example of low comedy is in the scene where Sir Andrew and Toby mistake Sebastian for Cesar (Viola), because from behind Sebastian and Viola look the same as they are siblings, and beat Sebastian senseless. This is an example of low comedy because it demonstrates a slapstick style of comedy where Sebastian is part of the humor in where man is encountering an uncooperative universe.

She's The Man - Another example of slapstick style low comedy is the scene where Viola, Olivia, and Monique become entangled in a fight when Olivia and Monique are arguing over Sebastian. The fight is low comedy because it employs slaps, pushing and shoving, punches to the face, and throwing of shoes (physical mishaps and collisions) to solicit a laugh.

Similarities and Differences between the film She's the Man and Twelfth Night

Similarities -

  • Viola Cross Dresses
  • Olivia went through some kind of loss
  • Names of Characters reappear

Differences -

  • Viola cross dresses for soccer instead of getting close to Duke
  • Illyria is a town in the play while Illyria is a school in the movie
  • Olivia is mourning