Malvolio the Fool

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Malvolio the Fool

In Shakespeare’s works many characters stand out among the rest. However, in his play, Twelfth Night, or What You Will, while our attention is focused on the interesting relationship between Orsino, Olivia and Viola, there is a curious character sulking around in the background. Making his first appearance in the play in scene five of act one, Malvolio is a man only seeking the love of a woman, but becomes the butt of everyone’s jokes.

When we first see Malvolio he is right by Olivia’s side. He does everything that she asks of him. At first it seems that Malvolio is her lowly servant. However, when we read his role in the “Persons of the Play” we see that he is the steward of Olivia, which is someone who is in charge of the person’s finances. So right away we see the personality of Malvolio coming through with his low self-esteem and acting like a lowly servant, when in reality he is in a decent middle-class position. Later in the play we see that he is very interested in Olivia, not particularly because of her good looks, but more for the wealth that she holds. This pursuit of love for all the wrong reasons is one of the reasons Malvolio is set up to be made a fool of at the end.

In act two, scene two; we see how loyal Malvolio is, to Olivia, when he is talking to the disguised Viola. He is taking care of some of her most private affairs, and will not take no for an answer. However, this loyalty is what gets Malvolio into trouble. In act two, scene three; Malvolio is talking to Sir Toby and Feste when he says: “Sir Toby, I must be round with you. My Lady bade me tell you that though she harbours you as her kinsman she’s nothing allied to your disorders. If you can separate yourself and your misdemeanours you are welcome to the house. If not, an it would please you to take leave of her she is very willing to bid you farewell” (1784).

With this arrogant attitude towards Sir Toby’s unresponsiveness of Olivia he gets set up by Sir...
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