If there is one literal device to explain the play by Shakespeare Twelfth Night, or What You Will, it is dramatic irony. Not only does Twelfth Night have dramatic irony repeated in almost every act, but even the ending is one dramatic irony – but instead of the irony directed towards a character, it’s directed to the audience of the play. Furthermore, dramatic irony is used effectively, because of not only adding comedic relief but also to elaborate the story line. One of the plots which used greatly dramatic irony was when Voila landed on Illyria and decided to dress as a male, Ceasario, to serve the Duke. She spoke to the Captain on her intentions to disguise herself into a man, “Conceal what I am, and by my aid for such disguise… I’ll serve this duke… though shalt present me as an eunuch to him.” (I.ii.53-56) First most, this is dramatic irony because Viola is stating to the Captain to disguise her as a male – the audience knows of her ‘true’ identity well the Duke does not. The next use of dramatic irony was after Orsino and Voila (dressed up as Ceseario) spoke for the first time with Orsino asking Voila to try to woo Olivia, Orsino’s love. At the end of this conversation, Voila said, “I’ll do my best to woo your lady,” and continuing in an aside she added, “Yet, a barful strife! Whoe’er I woo, myself would be his wife.” (I.V.41-43). This is further referenced with: Orsino: Thine eye
Hath stay’d upon some favour that it loves:
Hath it not, boy?
Viola (as Cesario): A little, by your favour.
Orsino: What kind of woman is’t?
Viola (as Cesario): Of your complexion.
Orsino: She is not worth thee, then. What years, i’ faith? Viola (as Cesario): About your years, my lord. (2.4.23-30)
What this all implies is, yet again, dramatic irony – Orsino does not know that Viola is actually referring to him, that Viola is in love with him or even that Voila is a woman. Without the usage of dramatic irony, this plot...