Discuss the dramatic irony in Twelfth Night. Provide at least two examples.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Dramatic irony occurs when the audience is aware of a significant fact that the characters in the play are not.  The most obvious example of this type of irony in the play is the mistaken identity/love triangle.

The audience knows early on that Viola, after her shipwreck,  has adopted the persona of her twin brother with the hopes that she might gain employment safely.   She works for the Duke who loves Olivia who falls for Cesario (Viola in disguise) who actually loves the Duke.

It is quite funny for the audience to understand what is really happening while the characters remain in the dark until the end of the play.

This is a play that is full of dramatic irony. Let us remind ourselves that dramatic irony is when we as an audience and one or more characters on stage know something that other characters do not. Of course, when we think of this play, the principal occurrence of dramatic irony occurs through the use of disguise and mistaken identity: we know that Cesario is actually Viola,...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 996 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team