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

In Twelfth Night, what are your Impressions of Malvolio and do you think he is treated too harshly?

Extracts from this document...


In Twelfth Night, what are your Impressions of Malvolio and do you think he is treated too harshly? Malvolio initially seems to be a minor character, and his humiliation seems to be a little more amusing than the Viola- Olivio- Orsino- love triangle, but he becomes more interesting as the play progresses and I see him as one of the most complex and fascinating characters in Twelfth Night. When I first met Malvolio, he seemed to be a simple type, a puritan, and a stiff and proper servant who liked nothing better than to spoil other people's fun. He behaves like an egoistic killjoy who thinks he's above the rest although he is only a steward, for we readily recall the early scene where he attempts to end the noisy, drunken revelry of Sir Toby Belch, Sir Andrew Aguecheek and Feste: "My masters, are you mad? Or what are you? Have you no wit, manners nor honesty but to gabble like tinkers at this time of the night? ...read more.


The reason why I refer to Malvolio as a puritan is because in the days when Twelfth Night was first written, Puritans were a strict religious group: they did not like merrymaking in any form; they disliked drinking, they despised theatre and entertainment, they were often associated with merchants and were sometimes thought to be self-seeking, they condemned anything bawdy, they disliked all sports and they dressed very plainly. Similarly, Malvolio dresses very plainly, and does everything with perfection. He is very strict with those around him, especially with those like Sir Toby Belch (even though Malvolio has no authority over Belch, as we have seen above). The situation in which Malvolio carries out the errand of telling Sir Toby and his associates to stop their immature behaviour provokes Maria, Toby and Andrew who hatch the plot in which Malvolio is duped by the forged love letter "from Olivia" saying that she loves him. This very action changes Malvolio; he enjoys the delusion of being head of the house, a kind of social promotion, which leads him to believe he can finally get rid of Toby and boss the household servants about. ...read more.


He is not only the errand boy and a general manager but also a "household policeman" whose duty is to keep the house in order and fulfil his Countess's wishes. If he imagines himself to be loved by Olivia, it is totally harmless and he is not the only one to feel this way; Orsino and Sir Andrew feel exactly the same way as they both have similar delusions. Anyone who doesn't believe that Malvolio was treated far too harshly is evil. To watch a man break down in front of you is quite sad. My opinion is clearly recognised in the text. As "Sir Topas" baits his victim, Sir Toby says: "I would we were well rid of this knavery. If he may be conveniently delivered, I would he were, for I am now so far in offence with my niece that I cannot pursue with any safety sport the upshot." But Toby is too late. Malvolio has finally cracked and leaves the play with the final words: "I'll be revenged on the whole pack of you!" Malvolio is a totally broken man. Nadine Harris 4M; English Coursework; Twelfth Night Mr Dougall Page 1 of 3 ...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. Examine the ways in which Shakespeare creates comedy for the audience in Act 3 ...

    higher rank to marry one with a low rank was socially unacceptable. The fact that Sir Toby takes part in the mockery of Malvolio in Act 3 Scene 4 when he pretends that he thinks Malvolio is possessed by saying "what, man, defy the devil!".


    They lock him up in a small, dark room all alone, & not only convince everyone else, but, also try & convince Malvolio that he is completely mad. Feste even appears to him as a priest. Back in the 15th or 16th century, the audience would have just laughed at

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

    And we see that Maria constantly uses sexual innuendo and puns. One of those examples was 1:3 lines 67-68. These metaphors involve sexual innuendo and word play. Act 1, scence3, line 70 also means that Sir Andrew is sexually impotent.

  2. What is your personal opinion of Malvolio and the way he is treated?

    (Lines 8-10) Malvolio is then rude and selfish to Viola/Cesario because he obviously feels that he is more important than him. Instead of handing Viola/Cesario the ring, he throws it onto the floor. In the next scene, Act II Scene 3 Sir Toby and Sir Andrew are drinking, they persuade

  1. Imagine that you are The manager of a small travelling theatre group who are ...

    for "Cesario" who is really Viola and Viola in turn has fallen for her master Count Orsino. Then to complicate matters even more Sebastian, Viola's brother who was thought to be dead arrives in Illyria and he is mistaken for "Cesario" on numerous occasions.

  2. Twelfth Night - We may laugh at Malvolio but to what extent does he ...

    grounds of faith that all those who look upon him love him; and on that vice in him will my revenge find notable cause to work." This is confirmed even before he reads the letter as we find him revelling in a pretence that he is married to Olivia, his

  1. Twelfth Night Coursework

    Maria cleverly decides to write a letter, addressed to Malvolio, that would lead him to believe Olivia, his lady, was attracted to him: 'By the colour of his beard, the shape of his leg, the manner of his gait, the expressure of his eye, forehead and complexion, he would find

  2. "He hath been most notoriously abused" How far do you agree with Olivia that ...

    There is a bitter unpleasantness to him. However we can still tell there is a certain amount of respect they have for each other as she still asks his opinion about Feste she says "what think you of this fool, Malvolio" , this means she values his opinions.

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