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A character study of malovlio in the story twelfth night

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Did he deserve the punishment that he received? The character Malvolio meaning literally "I mean ill will is immediately affected by the implications of his name. His personage is implied directly to be one of negative and somewhat disagreeable nature, which is continued and supported throughout the play, leading to his downfall and mockery which both initially seem to be thoroughly deserved, due to his numerous defects of personality.

Through doing this he shows himself to be man who condescends to those that he believes to be lower than him in any way, by acting on his own personal belief of superiority, and this later becomes a major player in his downfall.

He shows himself to be a strict puritan and this is also suggested by the opinion of Maria "The devil a puritan that he is". He denies himself indulgences and pleasure whilst at the same time begrudging these things of others. He makes a point of taking the moral high ground over Maria, Feste and more importantly, his social superior Sir Toby, when he scorns them for their revelries and "disorders".

  1. The one that is damned is generally the only one which would put us to discomfort to practise.
  2. There is no humor in seeing Malvolio fall so easily a prey to their device. A further hypocrisy of Malvolio and yet another vice opposing his puritan philosophy, is his extreme vanity.
  3. Through doing this he shows himself to be man who condescends to those that he believes to be lower than him in any way, by acting on his own personal belief of superiority, and this later becomes a major player in his downfall. He has heard that word of some great man, and now applies it to a fool.
  4. Although he is a man of supposed purity and self-denial in practise, his aspirations are such that he becomes hypocritical.

Twelfth Night — Character Study: Malvolio We have so large base of authors that we can prepare a unique summary of any book. How fast would you like to get it? We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails. This in turn adds to their desire to avenge him and bring him from his level of false authority, back to his true social class of a mere steward at which he is unable to give out orders, but only to receive them.

Although he is a man of supposed purity and self-denial in practise, his aspirations are such that he becomes hypocritical. In turn he makes his character one of further malevolence. He secretly longs for the life of a man higher in social status and fancies that through the love of Olivia, he could become such a person "having come from my day bed, where I have left Olivia sleeping ".

At the same time he has great, worldly ambitions which are strictly against the puritan philosophy. This longing for new superiority and strong belief that he will gain it, causes him to be open for trickery and thus provides the starting point of the punishment and humiliation through which he later suffers.

In order to try at pleasing Olivia and through doing so attempting at gaining her admiration and love, he carries out deeds at the expense of others. Malvolio is in many ways a "time pleaser" and he shows this when in the ways of a sycophant, he reports to Olivia the "misdemeanours" of his superior Sir Toby "this uncivil rule; she shall know of it by this hand".

Thus he does well in conjuring up further resentment from Sir Toby and the servants, while making his punishment both more justified and more craved by those that he wrongs.

Twelfth Night Characters

A further hypocrisy of Malvolio and yet another vice opposing his puritan philosophy, is his extreme vanity. He places himself on a pedestal above all but Olivia, through purposely using language above his station, seemingly memorised from books "an affectioned ass, who cons state without book and utters it in great swarthes".

He also makes an effort to pride himself on his physical appearance "should she fancy, it should be one of my complexion" which he seems to assume is one to be admired.

He is generally proud about all aspects of himself, to such an extent that he is greatly bordering on superciliousness. Overall, with taking into consideration the negative and truly objectionable aspects of Malvolio, it can be seen that he does in fact need to be taught a lesson about the downfalls of his disdainful ways. His vanity and value of appearance are both fed by the order to wear "yellow stockings?

Simply through succumbing to such a prank and carrying out the orders of the letter, Malvolio is being punished to an appropriate extent. Through believing and acting on them he shows himself to be obtuse, gullible and ironically, lacking in the superiority of mind that he so adamantly believes he possesses. Thus he lets the servants and Sir Toby achieve their aim. The conspiracy, having accomplished its purpose in secretly humiliating Malvolio, should have then been revealed to him and brought to an end.

Twelfth Night – Character Study : Malvolio

However it seems that out of sheer cruelty and selfish fun, the pranksters continue the mockery. At the same time they attempt to convince him of this through imprisoning him and twisting his words into those of a lunatic, "you speak ill of the devil?

The extremity of their prank reaches its peak when Malvolio, locked in a prison begs for the aid of the priest "sir Topaz" an impersonation by Feste.

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  • His personage is implied directly to be one of negative and somewhat disagreeable nature, which is continued and supported throughout the play, leading to his downfall and mockery which both initially seem to be thoroughly deserved, due to his numerous defects of personality;
  • The pretence of it is a warning to us to expect mischief, a notice put up, "This is a private way; dangerous passing;
  • He makes a point of taking the moral high ground over Maria, Feste and more importantly, his social superior Sir Toby, when he scorns them for their revelries and "disorders";
  • Malvolio is in many ways a "time pleaser" and he shows this when in the ways of a sycophant, he reports to Olivia the "misdemeanours" of his superior Sir Toby "this uncivil rule; she shall know of it by this hand";
  • He has heard that word of some great man, and now applies it to a fool.

Get Help From Professional Writer At this point Malvolio has lost all sense of human dignity and basic pride while at the hands of such malignant torment, and it is clear that the joke has lost its mere foolery, becoming something more sinister and torturous.

Sir Toby himself has this realisation, that such maltreatment of a person is beyond mere revelry, "I cannot pursue with any safety this sport to the upshot". Malvolio suffers a great injustice at the hands of his tormentors and is "notoriously abused" beyond the brink of mere teasing. He does not deserve his latter treatment, as his only crime is his undesirable character and the fact that he wronged his peers with words alone.

Ironically, after having been released from his cell it becomes clear that his ways have not improved in the slightest and that he is now filled with resentment for his abusers, as well as for Olivia.

  1. Sir Toby, to borrow money of him, fosters the notion, and flatters his poor tricks. He is generally proud about all aspects of himself, to such an extent that he is greatly bordering on superciliousness.
  2. In order to try at pleasing Olivia and through doing so attempting at gaining her admiration and love, he carries out deeds at the expense of others.
  3. He is in love and is in a whimsical, romantic mood, lu The Guinness Book of Records lists 410 feature-length film and TV versions of William Shakespeare's plays as having been produced, making Shakespeare the most filmed. Malvolio suffers a great injustice at the hands of his tormentors and is "notoriously abused" beyond the brink of mere teasing.

He departs at the end, promising to be "revenged on the whole pack of [them]". No rewards are gained and no lessons learnt from his great, unnecessary suffering.