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

Malvolio's Identity In the play Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare

Extracts from this document...


Michel Figot January 16 2003 Block B Malvolio's Identity In the play Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare creates a plot in which the relations are sabotaged by the characters and their disguises. Question of identity prevail in the most of the main characters in the play, like viola/Cesario, who work to achieve their goals. This gives place to a romantic tangled up comedy, where love blossoms and a structured ending occurs. The misunderstanding trickery leads to love between people who naturally are not supposed to be together i.e. Viola/Olivia unrequited love. The malice of some characters leads to the downfall of others. This produces a great deal of chaos with the emotions and social standings of characters like Maria, Olivia and Viola. For example, Malvolio an efficient, hardworking steward, who fantasizes with the idea of becoming a nobleman by marrying his mistress, Olivia. ...read more.


In fact, they dislike and ridicule him terribly by reminding him that he is just a steward. They all see him as a "Puritan," "egoist," and "hypocrite". (All this adjectives are spread throughout the play, showing that his offensive personality is in fact true). Finally "the whole pack" (V, I, 377) plays a practical joke on him to put him in his place where he belongs: a servant. Malvolio demonstrates his loyalty towards Olivia. The idea of marrying her, being a count and being very wealthy was just a dream that he never reacted to because it seemed very far from his grasp. When he finds the letter, he is completely overwhelmed and convinces himself that this is a very important piece of evidence of his Olivia's love. He gets carried away with his dreams, and starts to take action. This gives place to very humorous dilemmas. ...read more.


He is locked in a dark room and tiring to convince him of being "mad". His dignity is removed away in this sinister way of treating him while captive, and Malvolio becomes desperate while still denying being "mad." After some time in prison, his personality changes he speaks to Feste as an equal. "Good-Fool...I'll requite in the highest degree I prithee. " (IV, ii, 123.) He leaves in the final scene wanting revenge from the kinsmen and servants that played the joke on him. "I'll be reveng'd on the whole pack of you!" (V, I, 377) In this play the problem of social ambition and misplaced love are resolved. Nevertheless Malvolio's aspirations of becoming noble are more unreasonable than Sir Toby's of marring Maria who is socially unworthy. Malvolio finally faces the truth, and realizes that he is socially undeserving of his noble mistress, and departure. The happy "socially justifiable" couples come together and achieve happiness. The social hierarchy that was trued upside down during the play it is set back onto its feet. . 2 ...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. Marked by a teacher

    Mistaken Identity in Twelfth Night.

    3 star(s)

    opinion it is the most important one: it complicates and adds twists to the plot throughout the play, not to mention the humour it brings. Malvolio and Olivia (II, v) A rather amusing case of mistaken identity began in Olivia's garden.

  2. Examine the ways in which Shakespeare creates comedy for the audience in Act 3 ...

    The theme of confusion is carried on through this comic device because often characters with low status act above their rank, or higher characters lower themselves. This heightens the comedy because in the Elizabethan era status was very important; it was unseemly for someone with a low status to act above their rank and vice versa.


    In another production we saw however, Malvolio is pictured as rather different. He is quite a fat character. - A huge contrast to the skinny one we previously saw. He is a rather bumbling, rather dim character, which would fir in with when he discovered the letter form Maria/ Olivia

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

    The reader should say this speech slowly and steadily with a sonorous effect. The speech also has to have long vowels to keep the rhythm going and to add to the effect. Also in this speech he is showing off with his high class words and the gestures that I imagine he will be using while saying this speech.

  1. How does Shakespeare manipulate the audience to dislike Malvolio towards the beginning of the ...

    He goes on to attack his Puritanical side by saying 'Dost thou think because thou art virtuous there shall be no more cakes and ale? The Puritanical element being the word 'virtuous' which means morally excellent and religious. This Puritan side to Malvolio is more relevant to an Elizabethan audience

  2. The Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

    There are many examples of her feelings for Orsino throughout the play. The first when she talks in soliloquy declaring her surprised but definite feelings for him: "Yet a barful strife! Whoe'er I woo, myself would be his wife." This is extremely ironic and the idea that Viola is in

  1. To what extent does Shakespeare provide his audience with a satisfying ending to twelfth ...

    and confusion, gets her happy ending. Violas final problem arises when Olivia announces her love for Cessario. 'Love sought is good, but giv'n unsought is better.' (A3S1L141) Viola has a hard time rejecting Olivia without revealing her true identity. More confusion is added when, having met and married Sebastian, Olivia calls Cessario 'husband'.

  2. A joyful fantasy full of impossibilities. To what extent is this a true description ...

    The dialogue between Viola and the Captain is in verse, suggesting respect and that they are important characters in the play. In this scene, the gentle and hopeful side of Viola is shown, as although she fears she has lost her brother, she has hope for him, therefore she tries her best not to succumb to grief.

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