Audience's Perceptions of Malvolio Essay

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Audience's Perceptions of Malvolio

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
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Malvolio begins by rudely shouting at the group. He shows respect by using ‘my masters’ but then quickly turns this around by shouting and insulting them. He asks many questions but waits for no answers, he carries on,

‘Do ye make an alehouse of my lady’s house, that ye squeak out your coziers’ catches without any mitigation or remorse of voice? Is there no respect of place, persons, nor time in you?’ Act 2 Scene 3 Lines 77-79

Malvolio then continues to abuse the group. He uses his puritanical outlook on life, contrasting to that of the others in the room and wants to run the household strictly & under routine. He completely objects to the troop singing and dancing around in a house he is trying to control. Throughout the play we never see a smile on his face. This nonetheless, is merely a disguise that he assumes, that allows him to pass judgment on others. Sir Toby mocks Malvolio, who threatens them all with reprisals and leaves. Maria has had enough of Malvolios rude behaviour so she decides to get revenge by writing love letters to Malvolio in Olivia’s handwriting. The letter written by Maria in 'Olivia's' hand refers subliminally to each of Malvolio's character weaknesses and consequently ensures that he is fooled by its
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