some words about the Comic Character Malvolio in Twelfth Night

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some words about the Comic Character Malvolio in Twelfth Night

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Jun. 30, 2011, 1:32am

After watching the movie or read the play twelfth night, you must remember a funny character-- Malvolio, who made you have a laugh when you were watching or reading. It seems like he is not connect with the main characters and main plots, the two couples’ love stories, closely. However, he did make a deep impression on film-goers and readers.
Let’s look at Malvolio and see which role this character really plays in this play.
In the play, Malvolio is revenged on by the uncle of female leading role Olivia because of his arrogantness and rudeness. He is encouraged to believe that Olivia loves him and to court Olivia fearlessly by a fake letter. According to the letter, Malvolio usually wear disgusting yellow socks and crossing shoelace, and even say a lot of crazy words in the present of Olivia.
First of all, reader laugh at that he is so overconfident to think a beautiful young lady fall in love with him and he is so desperate to the status and wealth which the imaging marriage can bring to him. Then his funny and strange dressing—yellow socks and crossing shoelace also make people laugh. Finally, his crazy behaviors make others believe that he is insane and close him in a dark room. The miserable ending is totally different with what he imagined before. What a funny man! However, it is this character contributing most to make this comedy more comedic.
Joseph Hunter said that he thought Shakespeare make Malvolio as a representative of puritans to satirize because of his personal emotion which is against puritans and he even put some worst characteristic on Malvolio intending to make reader hate puritans like he do. Even it is a fact that puritans and dramatists can not get along with each other at that time, Malvolio is only a decoration in this play. Satire to puritans is only the main idea that Shakespeare want to present to the eyes of readers.
This character decorates this play successfully. It is a character can not exist in the story but must exist in the comedy twelfth night.

I'll be grateful for Any comment!

Jun. 30, 2011, 3:35am

It's been a few years since I've read Twelfth Night, but I do remember the things mentioned. Although, I'm having difficulty remembering the nuances of his role. I've been considering rereading sometime soon, as it is one of my favorite Shakespeare works.

I did, however, just re-watch (literally just finished about 10 minutes ago) She's the Man (movie, starring Amanda Bynes), that is loosely based on TN. It amuses me that Malvolio's role in the film is a tarantula XD

Jun. 30, 2011, 9:37am

I always find Malvolio a tragi-comic character, someone who tries to change who he is to try and win approval and love, with disastrous results.