Since Twelfth Night is a comedy, it is rather apparent that there are lots of comic elements and episodes in the play.
In my perspective, however, I think that the comical episodes in Act 2 Scene 5 and Act 3 Scene 4 are the most hilarious and interesting ones. As I think Malvolio is the most entertaining and eccentric character in this play, both episodes which I think are amusing evolve around Malvolio.Firstly, Act 2 Scene 5. It is a marvellously comical scene partly because of its dramatic irony as we know that Malvolio is being tricked by Maria, Sir Toby, Fabian and Sir Andrew, who watch, as Malvolio finds a forged letter he presumes to be from Olivia, in haughtiness as they sneer at his foolishness and eccentric behaviour.The other reason why I think this scene if funny is that we can see Malvolio gradually discarding his sober and solemn image and transforms himself into the role of a romantic lover - as he reads the forged letter specially concocted by Maria, his mood changes from pure ignorance into discovery to exhilaration then finally into rapturous delight of that his lady actually loves him!His over exaggerating reaction when finding the letter also makes the play funny as it contradicts with the usual serious and reticent Malvolio, which further accentuates his highly imaginative self delusion and this overly exaggeration makes him look astonishingly foolish and amusing "Jove, I thank thee! I will smile.
I will do everything that thou wilt have me! " shows Malvolio's resolute decision to do what ever the letter says and, he will also Smile.The facial gestures on Malvolio's face are also comical parts as it is a laughter that appreciates the foolish instinct of love in man who presumes someone loves him. The serious and sombre Malvolio actually decides to smile at the end of the scene when he realises that his mistress actually loves him. We have never seen him smile in the previous scenes. And from that, it is rather apparent that he scarcely smiles and that he carries a long face with him all day long.
But in this scene, he actually decides to smile.Malvolio's smiles could be very fake too, since his smiles are not from his heart. He smiles for the mere sake of smiling as he thinks he would please his mistress this way. In fact, I do believe that Malvolio will smile rather horridly and exaggeratedly too, since he thinks that his mistress will like him even more.
This adds on to the comic element in this scene as audience who see him smile will perhaps scoff at this fatuousness and silliness. The second scene that I think is amusing is Act 3 Scene 4.Smiling foolishly, as he fulfils his prophecy in the previous comic scene, Malvolio enters. The change in the steward is dramatic - his dark clothes and dour appearances are gone and as Maria's forged letter had requested, he transmogrified himself and wore yellow stockings and cross-gartered, which Olivia detests and makes himself look like a total imbecile and laughing stock. He enters this scene in an extremely ridiculously flamboyant and smiles fantastically to Olivia upon his arrival.
In this modern and trendy era, one would find it a total shame even to wear yellow stockings.And hence, the strangely bizarre combination of yellow stockings and cross-gartered naturally makes Malvolio the subject of ridicule and humour in his conservative society. In his eccentric and folly behaviour, he makes his romantic overtures to Olivia, trying to hint to her that he has got hold of the love message she had prepared for him and that he accepts her love. His cheerfulness here is hilarious as it contrasts sharply with his usual stern behaviour and makes him look even more eccentric."To bed! Sweetheart, I'll come to thee! is another evidence to show how engrossed and self-delusive Malvolio is.
It is a real laughing stock to see how an used-to-be serious and sober man transmogrify himself into someone mushy and someone of a higher class - he throws in the fashionable word "sweet" and quotes fragments of popular and sophisticated sonnets, i. e. , "Please one, and please all". Malvolio constantly hints to Olivia by quoting from the forged letter.
It further shows how foolish he is since he even took the pains to memorise every single details of the whole letter.The fact that he follows things told in the letter makes him comical. Mainly because at this very moment, whilst he feels that he is merely following his paramour's fantasies, we, the audience are actually aware that he is just being manipulated by Maria, Sir Toby and Company, and is very much treated like an object. An object of ridicule, to be specific. In conclusion, I think that these two scenes are the funniest ones as they accentuate the foolishness and delusiveness of Malvolio, which marks the climax of the comedy scenes in the entire play.