• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

As the director of Twelfth Night, what guidance would you give the respective actors on how to perform their roles as Feste and Malvolio

Extracts from this document...


As the director of Twelfth Night, what guidance would you give the respective actors on how to perform their roles as Feste and Malvolio? The characters of Feste and Malvolio are central to the subplot of Twelfth Night. Malvolio's arrogance forms the basis of a plot, put in place by the other servants of Olivia's household, designed to ridicule and mock Malvolio. Around this, most of the play's comedy is centred, such as in II.5, in which Malvolio finds a letter supposedly from Olivia, but in fact put in place by Maria, Olivia's servant. As a director, it is essential to ensure that the actors playing Feste and Malvolio capture the essence of their character; otherwise the subplot will not be understood. A lot of information about how each character should be played can be found within their name, without even consulting the text. Malvolio is Italian and means 'ill-wishing' (the opposite of Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet). From this we can derive that Malvolio is perhaps a nonchalant and moody character, fairly abrupt with his friends and colleagues. From studying the text, we can make further judgements about Malvolio's personality. Olivia says in I.5, "O, you are sick of self-love, Malvolio", suggesting Malvolio is vain and slightly conceited. Other example of Malvolio's arrogance can be found in II.5. ...read more.


Malvolio's overall deportment should be quite stiff, to represent his lack of humour. He should be seen as quite ridiculous, not only in his un-fashionable speech (using words such as "element") but also is his dress. He should be seen as more of a psychological misfit rather than a social one. His vanity and arrogance make him immune to the animosity directed towards him by members of the household to a certain point, but at the end, all the negative aspects of his character must become clear, with perhaps a hunched posture, narrowed eyes and a low voice depicting his anger and desire for revenge. Maria's line, "The house will be the quieter", in III.4, show that he is a large presence within the house. The actor could represent this maybe playing him as melodramatic and with enunciated, clear speech. Feste should be played in stark contrast to Malvolio. His name, meaning Festival, also shows us how he should be played, in an excited and confident way. He is a very comical character, leading many of the play's comic scenes, such as in IV.2, where he visits Malvolio as a curate called Sir Topas. His role within the house, as a jester or fool, tells us about his personality as a confident showman. ...read more.


I believe all aspects of Feste's deportment on stage must be in contrast with that of Malvolio, due to their differing characters. I would direct Feste, to carry out all his movements in top-speed and all his speech at top-volume, to represent the 'showman' aspect of his life and his job. The audience should see him as a likeable, fun character, whose antics regarding Malvolio are humorous, not unjust. Although, the actor may move quickly around the stage, given Feste's self- confidence and assurance, when he does talk and argue with people he should be static, giving his opinion in a clear and eloquent way. His underlying distain of the others in his household could be represented by smirks or sneers while they are not looking. Overall, it is essential that the actors not only crate convincingly their character, but also represent clearly their status within the home. It is vital that the audience do not feel pity for Malvolio but do find Feste humorous otherwise the entire subplot is ineffective. Using the text to make judgements about each character, creating given circumstances and finding any information about appearance are all useful to an actor, trying to create a believable performance. By studying the text deeper, actors can also decide what idiosyncrasies to develop and how to interact with other actors on the stage. These are just a few ideas on how to play the complex characters of Feste and Malvolio. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Twelfth Night section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Twelfth Night essays

  1. Twelfth Night has been described as a play of contrast-light and darkness; humour and ...

    "I was adored once too". A strong heartfelt line by Sir Andrew, which makes the all the different social class audience feel sorry for him. This slow tone creates a very sympathetic atmosphere, towards Sir Andrew. "Once" is a fairytale word, which means his phrase can be interpreted two ways; he is lying, or no

  2. The most perceptive characters in Twelfth Night are the best at fooling others. How ...

    his role as the stiff, uptight butler, by forcing him to deny his personality - 'he does smile his face into more lines than is in the new map with the augmentation of the Indies' and 'will be strange, stout, in yellow stockings, and cross-gartered'.

  1. What are the contrasted attitudes to love in Twelfth Night and how are they ...

    Olivia is very practical and realistic like Viola since she quickly realizes that Cesario does not love her (Act 3 Scene 1 line 135) and gives up. She seems that she as changeable in loves as Orsino but we then know of her true feelings as she asks Cesario to


    If Feste was to be treated harshly, it would serve as a deterrent to any of the other servants who even considered neglecting their duties. It could well be argued that Malvolio is acting extremely responsibly. The next example where it has been argued that Malvolio acted out of his place could also be argued against.

  1. Twelfth Night character analysis

    Andrew to "Accost" Maria, meaning that he should approach her to have sex with him in a violent way. Not understanding what the word means, Sir. Andrew thinks that it is Maria's name. Also, Sir. Toby is a knight, who might be a kind of Lord of Misrule.

  2. To what extent can you feel sympathy for Malvolio

    it is totally unfair on Malvolio and he should shoot Sir Toby. As for Sir Toby backing out, I don't think he is backing out at all. He is basically advertising Malvolio for people to get their own back on him and I am surprised he is not charging Feste!

  1. Twelfth night - Feste says to Olivia, Maria and Malvolio 'better a witty fool ...

    whereas Feste is, in every way, against puritanical beliefs. He says that he takes 'pleasure in singing' and puritans believed that this was sinful. He also enjoyed the 'midnight revels' with Sir Toby and Sir Andrew, which was also seen as sinful, by the puritans. In my opinion, both characters are very interesting, and without them the play would lack a great deal of comedy and interest.

  2. I agree to a certain extent that twelfth night is a feminist play. What ...

    The women in this play are also sacrificial. A tremendously good example to proof this is the character Viola. Viola's love for Orsino is silent and concealed. She is the long-suffering woman and her sincerity is shown in her actions, sacrificing her happiness for Orsino's happiness. Her love for Orsino is also shown in her silence.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work