William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night: Malvolio the Outcast...Sort Of

709 Words3 Pages
In William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Malvolio is considered an outcast by everyone else in the play except Olivia. He doesn’t act the same way that any of the other characters act, and he seems to be a real stickler for the rules, which upsets certain characters more than others. But it is this strict coherence to the rules that allows Malvolio to have such a high position in Olivia’s household. While Malvolio may be considered an outcast to most of the characters in the play, Olivia shows concern for Malvolio and his well-being.

One of the reasons that none of the characters seemed to get along with Malvolio was because of his strict adherence to the rules. For characters like Sir Toby and Maria, this was considered especially (outcast-like) behavior because of their blatant disregard for the rules. Nancy Lindheim supports this point in her article by stating, “Malvolio alone acts with a moral severity that angers most other members of the household and is inimical (not friendly) to comedy itself.” (Lindheim 700) In this quote she is stressing the fact that Malvolio tends to act more morally than the other characters. This is seen in act 2 scene 3 of the play. Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and Maria are all having a good time, drinking and speaking very loud when Malvolio comes in and informs them that they are not showing respect to Olivia by being so rowdy in her house this late at night. Sir Toby then tells Malvolio to go hang himself. From this example we can see that very early on in the play there are some characters that really do not like Malvolio at all. Things only get worse after this point in the play.

Maria and Sir Toby are spiteful towards Malvolio for spoiling their fun. Malvolio however, was simply trying to keep ...

... middle of paper ...

...-246. MLA International Bibliography. EBSCO. Web. 6 Nov. 2009.

Lindheim, Nancy "Rethinking Sexuality and Class in Twelfth Night." University of Toronto Quarterly: A Canadian Journal of the Humanities 76.2 (2007): 679-713. MLA International Bibliography. EBSCO. Web. 6 Nov. 2009.

Marciano, Lisa "The Serious Comedy of Twelfth Night: Dark Didacticism in Illyria." Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature 56.1 (2003): 3-19. MLA International Bibliography. EBSCO. Web. 6 Nov. 2009.

William, Shakespeare Twelfth Night. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume B. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2006. 1079-1139.

Winston, Jessica "A Mirror for Magistrates and Public Political Discourse in Elizabethan England." Studies in Philology 101 (2004): 381-400. MLA International Bibliography. EBSCO. Web. 6 Nov. 2009.
Open Document