Twelfth Knight Essay

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Explore the different ways that Sir Toby and Malvolio contribute to Shakespeare’s dramatic comedy Twelfth Night. Malvolio and Sir Toby contribute to Twelfth Night’s dramatic comedy in a number of different ways. At the very start in Act One Scene Five we are introduced to Olivia’s servant Malvolio and straight away we can see how he represents the idea of human folly. Olivia is very critical over Malvolio, immediately picking out and criticizing his self-love “O, you are sick of self-love”. Subsequently later in Act Two Scene Five Maria describes Malvolio as “the trout that must be caught by tickling” this suggests how they plan to almost reel him in by flattering, exploiting his high opinion of himself. Shakespeare makes it clear that even before the trick has been started it is already clear that Malvolio self-love is high “calling my officers about me, in my branched velvet gown, having come from a day bed, where I have left Olivia sleeping” in Act Two Scene Five. Malvolio fantasies are extended to the point of him imagining having intimate sexual relations with Olivia. Malvolio adds to the more visual humour of Twelfth Night in comparison to some of the other characters. When Malvolio found the forged letter of which he considers to be from Olivia it becomes clear the almost transparent change in his personality. He changes from a highly self-obsessed man, into an exceedingly self-deluded individual. This is due to the realisation of his self-built ambitions to be with Olivia “Count Malvolio”. In Act Three Scene Four we are introduced to Malvolio’s more passionate mirage of love towards his Mistress Olivia, even though she has absolutely no idea what is actually going on. Malvolio enters this scene wearing the ‘yellow stockings’ and ‘cross garters’ that Maria and Sir Toby foolishly stated that Olivia liked and would like to see Malvolio wearing. Olivia

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