Assessment of Malvolio in Twelfth Night

Published: 2021-07-16 18:40:05
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Category: Twelfth Night

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When he speaks to Cereals (aka Viola) he says "And one more thing that you never be so hardy to come here again. " This shows us that although he strives to be as "Puritanical" as possible, there are some things that he does have special feelings for and, In turn, these help us relate to him and understand his actions during the play. However, that fact can be interpreted rather differently and reveal a darker side to Million.
Moreover, far from being the loyal and protective servant he can be seen as a sycophantic, lustful person who acts solely out of greed and his desire for power. An example of this Is "Her madam at your service", as this shows his sycophantic nature and his craving to be closer to Olav. As you advance through the play this begins to become more dominant and leads to Maillot's lecherous behavior. This is exploited by Maria's letter, which plays on Maillot's imagination. He is overheard visualizing various fantasies such as "l come from a day bed, where I left Olav sleeping"
This leads him to developing an overindulged ego and he becomes "too big for his own boots". Consequently he does not know his place and has a superiority complex. This makes him unpopular with both his masters and fellow servants. When the trick is played on him by Maria he is "blinded by self love" and is foolhardy and so he is an easy target for the prank. Another one of his bad qualities Is his tendency to take the smallest thing too far and make it a million times worse. This trait seems to take root in the fact that the can be over zealous in his duties for Olivia.

An example of this is when he tells Toby to stop ranking and get to bed when it is really none of his business. This results in Toby, Maria and Fabian formulating a plan for revenge (the prank), which leads to Maillot's demise. Mad") and quite cynical ("till the pains of death take him") towards others. I think that Shakespeare chooses to exaggerate Maillot's actions and emotions in order to make us laugh at him swell as suggesting to the reader that many Puritans are die-hard killjoys. This is due to the fact that they want to close playhouses, which, as Shakespeare was a playwright, was his life and source of income.
However, at the same time, he shows us that although Puritans try to appear almost inhuman, there is a different side to them, which is shown to us through Million. The side in question regards the fact that they can have fun and that they do have feelings for other people around them. They are human and they can do all the things we can do like feel pain, sorrow, regret and humiliation as well as love, hope and affection. The evidence for this is presented when Sir Topaz mentally traumatized and humiliates Million. He does this by making Million believe that he is mad and doubt his own sanity.
This leaves Million distraught and in a wretched state, as would anybody else who was subjected to what Million was brought to believe. For Million these emotions continue to escalate until eventually they reach a climax during the ending scene of Twelfth Night when he is sent away dejected and unwanted by Olivia. This scene raises our sympathy towards Million, which ultimately results in increased dislike when instead of accepting Toby, Maria and Fabian apologies he vows revenge on them all. Through out Twelfth Night our view and feelings for Million are constantly changing due to the complex plot and character interactions.
At times we can feel sympathetic towards him, but before the effect of these new born feelings can sink in, he has done something bad and our views change once again. This makes it hard to Judge Maillot's character. However, overall, I think he is a villain. This is because he has chances to forgive and forget but drags little things on and makes them worse. This is reflected in the ending as it ends with Million leaving Olive's Mansion Vowing revenge on all who inhabit it. Although I think he is punished rather severely I think ultimately he gets what deserves in the form of humbling humiliation. By Curran Doyle

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