Next up is the power that Malvolio was given by Olivia. After Malvolio attempted to break up Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and Maria’s fun, they began to plot against him. Malvolio however, was simply trying to keep order in Olivia’s house. Olivia has given Malvolio a position of some power in her house. Judging from different parts of the story and by Olivia’s position as a countess it is safe to assume that being in charge of the affairs of Olivia’s household was no small task. She was obviously wealthy and had a large house with many servants and for Olivia to try and manage all of those things on her own would be a very difficult task, but also a task that she couldn’t trust to just anyone. She obviously trusted Malvolio with running the affairs of her house. Sean Benson touches on this point and argues that, “As Olivia’s steward, Malvolio is in control of the domestic affairs of her household; if he were as inept as […] others have thought, how has he risen to this important managerial
Malvolio is deeply in love with Olivia, whom he is a servant to. He has often received negative signals from her, but he does not pay attention to them. Malvolio receives a note that Maria left for him as a trick and Malvolio quickly believes that it is from Olivia to him. Malvolio is so content with the idea of Olivia finally showing her affection for him that he doesn't question why, in the note, she asks him to act so oddly or hear the snickering of the pranksters watching him.
While some may think that Malvolio is essentially a moral and just person, this can be disproved by shedding more light on his less-honourable practices, like his abuse of power. Essentially, like it is pointed out even by her mistress (INSERT QUOTE), Malvolio is just an extensively pompous person. Personality-wise, his narcistic and patronizing ways are made to recall those of a nobleman. These traits fit in easily with his character, as he obviously aspires to be part Illyria’s nobility one day (INSERT QUOTE). The essence of Malvolio’s personality is ascertained by Maria when she describes him as a Puritan (INSERT QUOTE). In the Elizabethan era, Puritans were stereotypically associated with being kill-joys and an excessive hatred of theatre.
For instance, when he finds the love letter that is supposedly written by Olivia, confessing her love for him, and telling him to smile, wear yellow stockings and go cross-gartered, he says, “I will smile, I will do every thing that thou wilt have me.” (2, 5, 165-6). He thinks the letter is from countess Olivia, who he is in love with, and believes that the greatness of being her husband is about to be given to him. Before finding the letter, he wanders around in Olivia’s garden and dreams about himself “To be Count Malvolio!” (2, 5, 32). He imagines how the other characters of the play would serve him, which again shows that Malvolio thinks he stands above everyone. In addition, when Malvolio is hailed by Olivia, he arrives smiling, wearing yellow stockings and cross-gartered, which makes Olivia think he has gone insane: “Why, this is very midsummer madness.” (3, 4, 51). Consequently, in this part of the play Malvolio’s inside does not match his outside. Throughout the play he is a grave character, that detests other persons having fun, so his actions of smiling and wearing strange dress make him look like a madman, which is why he gets locked up in Olivia’s basement. Towards the end, he returns to his initial manner, and declares that he will “be reveng’d on the whole pack of you!”, referring to the characters that tricked him into believing that the letter was
Malvolio is a deceptive social climber who stated how he would like to marry Olivia for her wealth and live a lavish live of luxary. Sharp-tongued Maria says, “Obverse him, for the love of mockery, for I / know this letter will make a contemplative idiot of him.” Maria writes a fake letter in a handwriting like that of Olivia’s to disguise herself and convince Malvolio that Olivia is writing the letter. When people catfish today they will use pictures of someone to create a fake profile in hopes of luring people in; in this case, the letter is the bait. Maria and the others have become extremely fed up with Malvlio’s behavior and acted out in ways of deception. The events after Malvolio finds the letter on the ground is an episode of self-validation and justification. In the letter written by Maria she writes in Olivia 's handwriting saying, “”M.O.A.I” This simulation is not as the former, and / yet to crush this a little, it would bow to me…” Malvolio believes that this vague acronym is about him and begins the snowball effect of catfishing. During this scene, Sir Toby Belch and Sir Andrew are hiding in the hedges and laughing at Malvolio’s foolishness. The letter goes on to say how “Olivia” has feelings for Malvolio but cannot act on them because of her status. She requires him to dress and act a certain to confirm his love for her too. Perhaps
Malvolio is treading the ground of criminal offense against a lord, who is also the cousin of his Lady. Beyond the offense upon the higher strata of society, Malvolio is also demonstrating his dour temperament in this scene which is also problematic. The importance of mirth and joviality is affirmed throughout the play, and for some characters, their greatest virtue is the ability to enjoy and be passionate for life. Malvolio stands in opposition to this with his protests and derision, and in the play he is the only character that takes offense to other characters enjoying their lives. The hostile environment he creates is important to note because it gives the other characters an impetus to deal with his troublesome personality in order to enjoy their own pleasures and pursuits. The last encounter where Malvolio extends his grievances is the second encounter with Sir Toby. Their encounter takes place after Malvolio’s pride is incensed by the false note of Olivia, so his actions go even further in displaying his own ego and lack of regard for his superiors. Not only does he instruct Sir Toby and Maria to, “go hang yourselves,” (III.iv.120) but he also claims that he is no longer of their, “element” (III.iv.121). The implication is that he has ascended beyond Sir Toby and Maria, but that is merely the delusion of his ego. In this scene he
In Twelfth Night there are many characters that are greatly disliked by others, many would say Malvolio is the most disliked due to his profound attributes. Twelfth Night is a well-known romantic comedy written by William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night is also an admirably well-written romantic comedy. Malvolio, Lady Olivia’s steward, is not a character many would like to be compared to as his ego, gullibility and sternness cause him to be mistreated and greatly disliked. Malvolio’s egotism is portrayed throughout the play because it is a trait that affects him constantly. His gullibility is mostly seen during the major prank that is played on him in scene two act five. We see Malvolio’s sternness throughout the whole entire play as well, because it is another trait that is always with him. Malvolio’s egotistical, gullible and stern personality cause him to be justly abused and easily disliked by others.
Maria and the conspirators decide to mislead Malvolio into thinking that Olivia is in love with him. Maria decides to lead him on by writing a letter, but means to be from Olivia. This love letter is meant to instruct Malvolio to do actions that Olivia despises. Maria is able to mislead Malvolio because she has the same print and seal as Olivia. Shakespeare is able to trick the characters and create many portrayals of them.
Then with impatience he exclaimed, “Enough of this! I will have your precious bells prepared by the next morning, your red cloth in two days’ time and if this is not fast enough to please your worthy Captain tell him that the 'Santa Maria' may be worthy of fast service but that the 'Maria Galante' might have more personal service,” a sly grin found its way to his wrinkled face, “for any man who might pay her naughty
Another example is the way in which Olivia adopts the pretence of mourning and the puritanical Malvolio is tricked into the role of Olivia's suitor and becomes a smiling courtier.
Malvolio’s lack of self-criticism or self-awareness makes him vulnerable to Maria's plan to ridicule him.
Meanwhile Olivia's drunkard uncle, Sir Toby; his pawn in the story Sir Andrew Aguecheek, are trying in his hopeless way to court Olivia with Sir Andrew. When Sir Toby takes offense at Malvolio's, the houses Stewart, constant efforts to spoil their fun, Maria engineers a practical joke to make Malvolio think that Olivia is in love with him. She forges a letter, supposedly from Olivia, addressed to her beloved, telling him that if he wants to earn her favor, he should dress in yellow stockings and crossed garters, act haughtily, smile constantly, and refuse to explain himself to anyone. Malvolio finds the letter, assumes that it is addressed to him, and, filled with dreams of marrying Olivia and in hopes of becoming noble he, happily follows its commands. He behaves so strangely that
Mr. Loisel was obviously excited the day that The Chancellor of Education had invited them to an exquisite dinner. Surely he thought that this was finally a way that he could provide an outlet for Mathilde's deepest desires. Unfortunately, instead of being thrilled as he had predicted, Mathilde acted like a spoiled child, throwing the invitation on the table. "She had no decent dresses, no jewels, nothing. And she loved nothing but these; she believed herself born only for these" (5). She couldn't have been more manipulative than when she began to cry about not having anything to wear. Of course Mr. Loisel suddenly fell into her trap and suddenly decided to give her all of the money in his savings account to buy her a new dress. Most would assume that she'd be satisfied at this point; her husband has just made a huge financial sacrifice for her. However, as time drew near to the night of the party, she became insecure and restless because she thought she would look poor if she didn't have any fancy jewels to wear; she thought she'd look like a beggar. `I'd almost rather not go to the party (30)", she said.
Shakespeare presents Orsino as furious and irritated at Olivia’s constant refusal of his love and starts noticing how Olivia is not the perfect woman he claims she is while discreetly implying a shift of his romantic feelings for someone else (Cesario/Viola).