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How does Malvolio connect to disguise and deceit in Act 2 Scene 5?

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10th October 2012 English Assessment- Twelfth night How does Malvolio connect to disguise and deceit in Act 2 Scene 5? In Act II Scene VI, we are exposed to seeing Malvolio in a different light. Firstly, we see he deceives himself, ultimately playing the role of the person he thinks he is capable of becoming. Then we see that Maria and her cohort are deceiving Malvolio, by playing a prank on him just so they can make a fool out of him for always being so bitter and serious; and lastly we see how they encourage this foolish act and what consequences it brings. To begin with, we can identify that the name ?Malvolio? consists of two elements ?Mal? and ?Volio? which are Italian words, with the meaning ?ill will? suggesting his disregard of others? pleasures. I believe that Shakespeare particularly gave this character this name, as it allows us to have a greater insight of the kind of character Malvolio is from the beginning of the play. At the beginning of Act II Scene VI we are see an intimate conversation between Sir Toby and Fabian, coming together to watch Malvolio and Maria?s prank. Sir Toby asks ?Wouldst thou not be glad to have the niggardly, rascally sheep-bitter come by some notable shame? ...read more.


In the beginning of this scene we see that Malvolio is playing a role in the same way Olivia and Orsino were earlier in the play. Therefore we can see that not only is Malvolio being deceived by others, but is also deceiving himself. Malvolio instantly exposes us to this role, saying ?Maria once told me she did affect me, and I have heard herself come thus near, that should she fancy it should be one of my complexion?. This portrays Malvolio?s outspoken confidence, as he is convinced Maria would like a man like himself, although we are aware that Malvolio?s fantasy is a pose without possibility. Sir Toby who is listening over Malvolio?s conversation calling him an ?overweening rogue? quickly supports this. Malvolio then shifts to the possibility of being ?Count Malvolio? for which Sir Toby and Fabian believe is an unrealistic desire for a servant so bitter and low in the society, responding within themselves ?Ah, rogue?. Although, Malvolio speaks of his strong belief in the possibility, referring to ?Lady Strachy? who married her wardrobe manager. This idea of Malvolio deceiving himself acts as entertainment for Sir Toby and Fabian who are simultaneously deceiving Malvolio. Both Sir Toby and Fabian show their great satisfaction saying ?O, peace! Now he?s deeply in. Look how imagination blows him? which once again reinforces how unrealistic Malvolio is and how he is playing a role. ...read more.


The letter specifically asks Malvolio to do everything he wouldn?t usually do, therefore it can be viewed as a disguise. Malvolio therefore disguises himself under the ?desired? appearance and personality Olivia tells him of in the letter, which easily convinces Malvolio that this will lead him to his desires. Focusing specifically on the letter, it tells Malvolio to be rude, to talk about politics and act free and independent, to also wear yellow stockings and crisscrossing laces up his legs, and to remember that a happy life is waiting for him, and if he doesn?t want it he should act like his old bitter self. Although this letter is deceiving Malvolio, its also Malvolio?s connection to disguise, as he begins to follow what the letter orders to please Olivia and because this isn?t the norm for Malvolio it can be interpreted as a form of disguise. Maria?s prank works because it plays off of Malvolio?s weaknesses, which is his self regard, his wish for a higher social rank and his delusions that Olivia might actually feel something for him. All of this is meant to teach Malvolio a lesson, and perhaps punish him for his bitterness and self-pride. It should outline his foolishness for even falling into the prank and potentially highlight to Malvolio some of his faults. Disguise and deception are closely linked in this scene, as one follows the other. Gabriela Toledo,- 12JW ...read more.

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