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Is The Character Of Malvolio From Shakepreares Twelfth Night 'notoriously Abused'? This Was My Courswork For As Level English Literature And I Achieved 81 Out Of 90 Which Is An A

2518 words - 11 pages

Twelfth Night is one of Shakespeare's most famous comedies, involving complex plots, which result in hilarious culminations. The main plot of Twelfth Night tells of Count Orsino's efforts to woo the Lady Olivia who does not return his affection. Instead, Olivia is smitten with Orsino's servant Cesario, unaware of his true identity. Cesario is actually a shipwrecked Viola who, believing her brother has drowned, dresses up as a man to work for Orsino. Viola consequently falls in love with Orsino who believes her to be Cesario. In addition, Shakespeare has created an equally confusing subplot involving Olivia's servant Malvolio and the other members of Olivia's household. The main plot and ...view middle of the document...

' (Act 1, scene 5, line 67) Olivia recognises Malvolio's snobbery, telling him 'O, you are sick of self-love, Malvolio, and taste with a distempered appetite.' (Act 1, scene 5, line 73) Malvolio proceeds to offend the other members of the household as well as further annoying Feste in Act 2 scene 3 after finding Maria, Olivia's maid, Sir Toby Belch, a relative of Olivia, his friend, Sir Andrew Aqueccheek and Feste drinking and singing noisily late into the night. Malvolio is blamed for spoiling their fun after he exclaims 'My masters, are you mad? Or what are you? Have you no wit, manners, nor honesty, but to gabble like tinkers at this time of night?' (Act 2, scene 3, line 75-77) Malvolio who tells him 'My lady bade me to tell you that, though she harbours you as her kinsman, she's nothing allied to your disorders' reprimands Sir Toby. (Act 2, scene 3, line 81-83) Sir Toby does not take Malvolio seriously and asks Maria for more wine who is then accused of wrong doings by Malvolio who tells her '... If you prized my lady's favour at anything more than contempt, you would not give means for this uncivil rule.' (Act 2, scene 3, line 103-104) Malvolio has therefor managed to offend Feste, Sir Toby and Maria, who concoct a plan for revenge. There is the argument, however, that Malvolio was perfectly reasonably to rebuke the revellers who were thoughtlessly making a lot of noise late at night, Maria even tried to quieten them before Malvolio arrived. Malvolio is also an employee, who is obeying orders. Sir Toby humiliates Malvolio, by commenting 'Art any more than a steward?' (Act 2, scene 3, line 97) which is snobbish as it is not Malvolio's fault he must work for a living. Malvolio may not personally have a problem with the other members of the household's behaviour, but is carrying out Olivia's demands. Sir Toby and Feste also sing a song to purposely annoy Malvolio, so his behaviour is understandable. This argument is countered by the fact Malvolio seems to be unnecessarily severe when trying to quieten the noisy group. And although Sir Toby's remark is snobbish, Malvolio is guilty of the same crime by calling Feste a 'barren rascal' earlier in the play, displaying the same attitude.Apart from being a humorous interlude, act 2, scene 5 is important because it is key in the development of the subplot and character of Malvolio. This scene looks at the treatment of Malvolio by the members of Olivia's household and contributes to whether it is concluded that he is 'notoriously abused' (Act 5, scene 1, line 356). It also demonstrates an upheaval of social order and develops the audience's knowledge of character relations. The members of Olivia's household are now seeking revenge on Malvolio, the arrogant and bombastic servant of Olivia because of his wrong doings towards them. As a result of these incidents and Malvolio's general attitude of self-importance, conceit and pedantry, the members of Olivia's household have planned to play a trick on...

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