Topics: Garter, Stocking, Tragedy Pages: 4 (1724 words) Published: April 9, 2013
“Ultimately, Malvolio is a comic character.” To what extent do you agree with this statement? Arguably, in Twelfth Night, Malvolio is essentially displayed as a tragic character to a great extent. However, it may be argued that due to Malvolio’s personality which illustrates a sense of harshness, holiness and mannerism, the wearing of yellow stockings highlights a stark contrast to what the audience believes what Malvolio should be like to what he does. This therefore presents his character as comical. On the other hand, Malvolio is seen to be more of a tragic character due to the comedic convention of cruelty being used against him in many circumstances such as the maltreatment of him being locked in the dark and made to believe he is insane and the trick played against him which led him to be humiliated in the yellow stockings. The humiliation Malvolio goes through, ultimately leads him to being a vengeful character despite the manners, morals and honourable qualities he had once possessed. Hence it is absolute that Malvolio himself is a tragic character and not a comic one. Malvolio is seen as a comic character when he is associated with unfortunate situations and their consequences. The prominent instance when this is reflected is when Malvolio is dressed in “yellow stockings and cross gartered” (II.V.165). This is due to the fact Malvolio despite being initially presented as such a strict character, is seen to be manipulated and tricked into wearing what Olivia supposedly wanted him to wear. Therefore the fact that such a pious person such as himself is placed in such an awkward situation is comical. The appearance of Malvolio in the ‘yellow garters’, is visually comical for the audience. The dramatic irony of the audience knowing Malvolio has been tricked into wearing this attire however Malvolio being so sure he is to wear it, mocks his arrogant nature and also allows the audience to feel superior. Were Shakespeare to stage direct Malvolio as...
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