Twelfth Night Essays Characters

Twelfth Night Essays Characters-14
Not a scene goes by involving these to where we can laugh and the slow wit of Sir Andrew and the awkward puns of Sir Toby.However, we find the names and foolish antics of these two rather amusing...

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At the time of writing "Twelfth Night" the Puritans disliked the easy-going, sophisticated attitudes of the nobility.

They also thought that the aristocrats were setting a bad example for the lower classes by promoting theatre and therefore became a threat to Shakespeare who it could be argued is poking fun at the puritan way of life when he ridicules Malvolio, much to the general public's delight.

You could also assume Shakespeare has characterised Malvolio this way to make the audience hate him and therefore laugh even more when he is humiliated further on in the play.

This would suggest that Malvolio doesn’t have to be capable of transformation to be funny.

Malvolio is often considered to be a puritan by audiences.

We first meet him in Act 1, scene 5 and notice he is dressed in dark, mostly black clothing, a feature of puritanical costume of that time.

There is the possibility that this is a real love for Olivia as throughout the play she is the only person he respects.

However there is the argument that he isn’t changing, just temporarily upholding his moral standings to behave like a "madman" in the chase of a higher social status.

At the time Shakespeare was writing this play, Puritans were accused of being power hungry and Malvolio’s ambitions link him with this character trait.

Due to his nature Malvolio doesn’t show much affection towards Olivia, she tells him, "O, you are sick of self-love, Malvolio, and taste with a distempered appetite." Yet when he discovers a love letter (written by Maria) without any names on it, he assumes it’s from Olivia to him.


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