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Explain how Shakespeare shows Malvolio in the play in Act 2.

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Introduction

Perlie Mong Explain how Shakespeare shows Malvolio in the play in Act 2. In Act 2, Malvolio appears to be arrogant, puritanical and malicious. In this scene, he tries to stop Sir Toby, Sir Andrew and Feste from being so noisy in the middle of the night. When Malvolio enters the stage in Act 2 Scene 3, the first thing he does is asking a series of five rhetorical questions. This is quite a powerful blaming technique, suggesting that he thinks highly of himself and believes that he has the right to tell Sir Toby, Sir Andrew and Feste off, even though the social status of Sir Toby is higher than his. ...read more.

Middle

The first rhetorical question he asks is, ?My masters, are you mad?? ?Mad? suggests that what they are doing is absolutely foolish and unacceptable, especially when his tone is so serious, but in fact, they are only singing and drinking, which are not really ?madness?, even though they are not behaving properly. He then describes their amusement as ?disorder? and ?misdemeanour?, which are exaggerations again, as they refer to serious misbehaviours. This shows that Malvolio is puritanical as puritans believe in a lifestyle without any indulgence at all and they see any wrongdoing ten times worse than it really is. Sir Toby rightly describes him as ?virtuous? in this scene, which in Elizabethan times, means strictly religious and narrow-minded. ...read more.

Conclusion

The fact that he speaks to Sir Toby as if he is representing Olivia again demonstrates his arrogant nature, seeing that he is only her servant while Sir Toby is her kinsman. After being insulted and humiliated by Sir Toby and Feste, Malvolio leaves in anger. Before he leaves, he leaves a thinly-veiled threat behind by telling them that he is going to tell Olivia what has happened. This again shows that he is malicious and he seeks revenge on people who do not treat him with respect. In conclusion, Malvolio is presented as an arrogant, puritanical and malicious character in this part of the play. ...read more.

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