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Does Malvolio deserve his fate?

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  • Essay length: 1902 words
  • Submitted: 11/07/2002
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AS and A Level Twelfth Night

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Georgia Smith 11V October 2001

Does Malvolio deserve his fate?

Malvolio's character and the misfortunes he encounters though out Twelfth Night provide a lot of the play's comedy scenes. His haughty and pretentious demeanour makes him easy to dislike, yet the treatment he receives is at times a little undeserved and leads to the issue of whether or not Malvolio deserves his fate.

In Act 1 of Twelfth Night the audience is immediately presented with Malvolio as a pompous and arrogant man who is 'sick of self-love.' He is shown as selfish and disillusioned with self-importance when unwilling to carry out menial tasks like delivering a ring; 'you might have saved me pains' even though it is part of his job. Blindly, he simultaneously criticises Feste's lack of funniness and Olivia for laughing at it; 'your ladyship takes delight in such a barren rascal,' he arrogantly lectures his superiors showing that he thinks he is above them.

This negative representation of Malvolio is continued into Act 2 where the audience gets a glimpse of Malvolio as a puritanical killjoy. Before Malvolio even enters to bring an end to Sir Toby's fun,

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