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This essay will be exploring how Malvolio is a strong victim for humour, how Shakespeare shapes the audiences perception of Malvolio

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Malvolio is Olivia's administrator. He is the one and only character in this play who ever seems to be making a mindful effort to be 'honest' but also the only one of the household who shows no genuine like towards fellow workers and masters. This immediately tells us that people are going to dislike him and, in a way try to get back at him. On the other hand, he is the only effective and with no doubt devoted employee. As a steward his main job is to manage Olivia's household and arrange certain affairs. Malvolio's intentions are to run an orderly house and keep Olivia in happiness, this being out of common affection and of course duty to both. Although he is a very pompous man, he must be good at what he does, yet particularly frustrated by other characters intentions. This essay will be exploring how Malvolio is a strong victim for humour, how Shakespeare shapes the audiences perception of Malvolio and in what scenarios this has become apparent. I will be focusing mainly on Act 2 Scene 3, Act 3 Scene 4 and Act 4 Scene 2 as this is when Malvolio's character has been displayed most but of course will be referring to other scenes for further support to the argument. ...read more.


The other members of the household see through Malvolio's hypocritical nature, this being why the trick was guaranteed to work. Though others can see through him, Malvolio fools himself completely. Maria says, he believes that, 'all that look on him love him'. Act 2 Scene 3 Line 152. He is sure that it has just been an unlucky mistake that has caused a man as fine as him to be born a servant rather than a master. He believes that fortune, and his willpower will eventually correct that mistake. Maria's letter is only able to convince him that Olivia loves him because that's what he wants to believe, if he was a less modest, maybe slightly more intelligent, he would have seen straight past this joke instantly. Here we are shown his puritanical exterior is merely a cover, trying to hide powerful ambition. Malvolio's only dreams of being loved by Olivia and of rising in the world to become a nobleman-both of which seem to be fulfilled by the letter, he is ecstatic by the news. For the audience, this scene is tremendously comic, since we can easily anticipate that Malvolio will make a fool of himself when he follows the letter's instructions and puts on yellow stockings and crossed garters. ...read more.


and uses 'you' not 'ye' he is being a lot more respectful to him as he is very aware Sir Topas could be his key to freedom again. At the play's conclusion, a thoroughly humiliated Malvolio vows, "I'll be reveng'd on the whole pack of you" Act 5 Scene 1 Line 355 A large amount of people, even ones hugely against Malvolios antics believe he has good reasons to say this. Although Malvolio is a prude, a hypocrite, and completely changes his apparently 'puritanical lifestyle' for the love of Olivia, he does not deserve the cruel treatment that he receives from the trick started by Maria, Sir Toby, and Feste. Malvolio is a "joy-killer" by nature who consistently punctures the high spirits of Toby and his group, but Toby himself is not a complete innocent by any means. Moreover, Malvolio' inflated sense of self-importance is behind his behavior leading to the ploy working. Nonetheless, imprisoned for his lunacy, Malvolio is subjected to the definitely "unfunny" taunts of Feste, and even Sir Toby suggests maybe they should stop tormenting him. Malvolios character seems to be one that earns both our ridicule and, due to the severity of the abuse put upon him, our sympathies as well. ...read more.

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