Twelfth Night: Malvolio I Is Miss Understood Essay

1749 words - 7 pages

“Twelfth night” was the name given to the last day of the Elizabethan Christmas festivities; they were celebrated everywhere at the time. In the Christian calendar, “Twelfth Night” is known as feast of Epiphany. It is the remembrance of the three kings that came to the stable in Bethlehem with their gifts of gold and other valuables for the birth of Jesus. “Twelfth Night” was sometimes given the title “Malvolio” when it was performed or “what you will”. This is because Shakespeare had turned a character into a memorable individual. The Elizabethan audience at the tame was interested in the depiction of Malvolio as a Puritan. The puritans were a religious group who hated theatres and other forms of entertainment that made people happy. The reason as to why Puritans hated these things is because they thought it corrupted people. The puritans believed they contained sex and violence, the causes of sin. This is why Puritans at the time didn’t drink and were strict on how other people around them should behave (this is mostly seen when Malvolio speaks to Sir Toby and the others.) Thus he has all the characteristics which the Elizabethan audience would hate at the time. There is little sympathy for him in the play, even when cruel things are being done to him, as he much deserved it. At the end of the play, Malvolio makes a final threat of “revenge”; this could be a reference to how the puritans closed down the theatres in 1642. I will explore the character of Malvolio before ending to conclude my thoughts on the question.
The character Malvolio is always negative and has a disagreeable nature which carries on throughout the play leading to his downfall and mockery which, in my opinion was deserved due to his defects of personality. The first piece of evidence that Malvolio gives us, is when he first appears in the play during which he insults Feste “I marvel your ladyship takes delight in such a barren rascal” in doing so, we realise that Malvolio thinks of himself as a superior person; anyone lower than him is treated in a harsh and cruel way, only because of his self belief of superiority. Olivia seems to pick up on Malvolio as she replies, “Oh you are sick of self love, Malvolio”; this quote suggests Olivia finds Malvolio to be a vain person and this accusation sums up the traditional view of Malvolio. This unique characteristic Malvolio possesses, is a key factor to his mockery later on in the play.
His negative personality is shown more in the play as he is revealed to be a strict puritan: Maria says in the play, “The devil a puritan that he is”. He restricts himself from all kinds of pleasure and alcohol whilst at the same time depriving other people of them too; the most obvious clue to his Puritanism is that he dresses in black and white. He tries very hard to act above Maria, Feste and more importantly Sir Toby, his social superior, by scorning them for their drinking habits and...

Find Another Essay On Twelfth Night: Malvolio iIs Miss-understood

Letter sent by Sir Toby to a friend in Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night', after the trick has been played on Malvolio but before the effects have been seen

632 words - 3 pages currently in temporary residence here, the old fool. Many a night have we had drinking and celebrating life's endless joys, frequently also in the company of a certain Miss Maria. Such a wonderful gal - across the entire globe there's no other gem like her. Why, only yesterday she executed the most ingenious, hilarious, skilful and masterly plan I have ever known one to come up with, as a little 'pay back', shall we say, to that dastardly evil cretin

Explore the ways in which Shakespeare presents the relationship between Olivia and Malvolio in Twelfth Night and compare it with how Bronte prese

1652 words - 7 pages Miss Ingram is similar to Malvolio since they both are more interested with the other person’s money and their status in society. Also Bronte told us that Rochester ‘was sent out to Jamaica, to espouse a bride already courted for me’. The reader found out that Rochester was forced to marry someone he didn’t know out of duty for his family. This shows that both Olivia and Rochester have secret which the other in their relationship doesn’t know of

Twelfth night 2

1278 words - 5 pages beholder of the play to better understand the tender side of Olivia. Consequently, it is obvious that Malvolio is interested in doing the things that he stands so firmly against, because none of the pranks would have had any effect on him unless he were interested in making love to Olivia.In conclusion, the other characters of Twelfth Night would not be as clearly understood if Mavolio and Sir Toby had not been as all-encompassing as they were

A Bully, a Prank, a Broken Spirit

1037 words - 5 pages The torture many people receive for a reason varying reasons. Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare presents a prank by five characters; Maria, Sir Toby Belch, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, Fabian and Feste, that easily twists into bullying Malvolio. “Shakespeare gives the latest strategy in anti-bulling in schools” by The Denver Post shows how much bullying relates to the real world and Twelfth Night. Malvolio, the steward of Olivia, the noble woman of

A Streetcar Named Desire and Twelfth Night: Comparative task

1336 words - 6 pages Blanche is Stella’s eccentric sister, she comes to Elysian Fields for help because she has gone through a traumatic period and is struggling with who she is. Malvolio is is a typical brown nose, he will do anything to gain favor of Countess Olivia. However those opposite characters explore the same themes.Through their roles in Twelfth Night and A Streetcar named Desire, Malvolio and Blanche both undergo unrequited love and downfall but because

William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night

699 words - 3 pages William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night In 'Twelfth Night' Olivia's trusted steward Malvolio, like Sir Andrew, is the 'butt of comedy'. His very name suggests 'ill-will', which echoes his role in the play. Malvolio is an egotistical, "overweening rogue", who is a straight laced, puritanical, social climbing rebuker of others for their anti-social and often sinful behaviour, or as he put it, "misdemeanours". Malvolio's

Twelfth Night - Analysis of Fools

1176 words - 5 pages Twelfth Night - Analysis of FoolsA fool can be defined in many meanings according to theOxford English Dictionary On Historical Principles. The wordcould mean "a silly person", or "one who professionallycounterfeits folly for the entertainment of others, a jester,clown" or "one who has little or no reason or intellect" or"one who is made to appear to be a fool" (word originated fromNorth Frisian). In english literature, the two main ways

Twelfth Night

1478 words - 6 pages marriage that Orsino and Olivia make in the dénouement. In ‘Twelfth Night’ serious social messages are conveyed through the character Malvolio. As Shakespeare is attacking the conservative, Malvolio is openly mocked since he is seen as a killjoy figure . Furthermore, Shakespeare punishes Malvolio in a way that he becomes dejected, but towards the end of the play in Act 4 Scene 2 the audience may show sympathy towards him as Feste (disguised as Sir

Jester, Clowns, Buffons, in Twelfh Night

1180 words - 5 pages imprisoned.This accompaniment was probably to assure Malvolio that the realSir Topaz is visiting him. Yet it is another make-believe schemeof Sir Toby.In Twelfth Night, the fools are the ones that control thecomedy and humor in the play. They assist in the make believegame and fool around with characters who 'evade reality or ratherrealize a dream'. In Twelfth Night, Feste, Maria and Sir Tobyare the fools that make the comedy work in many senses. Theycreate the confusion through humor and it all works out in theend to make William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night a really funnyElizabethan play.

Twelfth Night - Analysis of Fools

1171 words - 5 pages the foolshould be a prominent & attractive figure and make an importantcontribution to the action" in forming the confusion and thehumor in an Elizabethan drama. In Twelfth Night, the clown andthe fools are the ones who combine humor & wit to make the comedywork.Clowns, jesters, and Buffoons are usually regarded as fools.Their differences could be of how they dress, act or portrayed insociety. A clown for example, "was understood to be a

Twelfth Night

1498 words - 6 pages The character of Malvolio is treated too cruelly for Twelfth Night to be classed as a comedy. Malvolio is constantly humiliated and has some major elements of a tragic character. The revenge served to him is extremist and not an equal reaction to his behaviour. The treatment of Malvolio within the play dominates comedy and displays the harsh reality of revenge, retaliation and humiliation. Sir Toby and Maria show carelessness for his person

Similar Essays

Malvolio In William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night

684 words - 3 pages Malvolio in William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night The problem involving Malvolio in Twelfth Night has been known for a long time but still very difficult. The gist of it is this. A lot of modern readers or spectators feel that the way in which Malvolio is treated is extremely bad. We expect him to become the centre of humour; we know that in the business of comedy, a very puritanical and rather joyless figure is likely

Analysis Of Malvolio In The Twelfth Night By Shakespeare

1346 words - 5 pages The character of Malvolio is treated too cruelly for Twelfth Night to be classed as a comedy. Malvolio is constantly humiliated and has some of the major elements of a tragic character. The revenge served to him is extremist and is not an equal reaction to his behavior. Malvolio's puritan nature and extreme unwillingness to be social with his peers upsets certain characters more than others. Sir Toby and Maria show carelessness for his person

Twelfth Night, By William Shakespeare How Do Sir Toby And Malvolio Represent Two Opposing Principles In The Play 'twelfth Night'?

2601 words - 10 pages What do you find interesting about the way the characters Sir Toby and Malvolio represent two opposing principles in the play 'Twelfth Night'? Comment on the methods used by Shakespeare to present these ideasSuch characters as Sir Toby and Malvolio have a representative function in 'Twelfth Night'. While on one hand Shakespeare creates Sir Toby as the embodiment of the carnival spirit of excess and self-gratification, the self-righteous and

Malvolio And The Way He Is Treated In William Shakespeare's The Twelfth Night

1820 words - 7 pages Malvolio and the Way he is Treated in William Shakespeare's The Twelfth Night Malvolio is an extremely complicated and difficult character to study because of his mixed, complex personality. At times in the play he seems very reliable and loyal but sometimes he seems foolish and weak, and in many scenes in the play the audience are encouraged to laugh at him, his actions or his words. He is not portrayed as a lovable