Twelfth Night. To what extent is Malvolio portrayed as the anti-comedic figure in Twelfth Night? A Throughout history criterions of traditional comedic secret plans and characters have seldom been subverted or questioned. However, Shakespeare can be seen to show a character that to an extent subverts the conventional behavior of a comedic ‘villain ‘ through the character of Malvolio. This concept contributes to the comedic value of the drama in conformity to genre, yet can besides be found toA entice great calamity through a darker, more nefarious character. Therefore by researching the ways in which Shakespeare has presented this character in relation to the demands of the genre and relation to modern and contextual audiences, Malvolio may be perceived in different lights.A
The primary nexus to a nefarious character is through Shakespeare ‘s usage of name, Malvolio is a direct interlingual rendition from Italian intending “ ailment will ” , instantly touching to his “ distempered appetency ” and cold, austere character. To reenforce the negativeness environing Malvolio, he is frequently juxtaposed with more blithe characters such as Sir Toby or Sir Andrew to make contrasts between values, attitudes and linguistic communication used by the contradicting characters. Through this seeable theatrical device, Shakespeare is widening this contrast on to his apposition of conventional, about ludicrous comedic characters with the unconventional puritanical behavior of Malvolio. “ Is there no regard of topographic point, individuals nor clip in you? ” Malvolio asks. “ We did maintain clip, sir, in our gimmicks. Sneck up! ” comments Toby. In Act 2 Scene 3 the apposition of opposing characters is clearly seen through Malvolio ‘s derogatory tone, and Sir Toby ‘s infantile comments.
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Malvolio is “ A sort of Puritan ” this quotation mark in itself shows how opposed he is to celebration, laughter and most significantly, comedy. Shakespeare conveyed his feelings about Puritanism through the character of Malvolio, foregrounding the worst features of the Puritans within him. The Puritans were a group of English Protestants in the sixteenth century who wanted to return the religion to its purest province and this included no revelry of any kind including laughter, music and theater. Puritanism was a modern-day societal motion in this clip, and the bulk of his audience would likely hold with Shakespeare ‘s review of the Puritans. In Twelfth Night many of the characters seem to be set against everything the Puritans stood for as they drink, sing and dance, despite merely being a steward to Olivia, Malvolio is discourteous and clannish toward anyone of higher position than him. This “ Holier than 1000 ” attitude mirrors the common position of Puritans during Shakespeare ‘s clip. Malvolio ‘s anti-comedic behavior surfaces when he tries to command the harmless revelers Sir Toby and Sir Andrew. “ Are you huffy or what are you? Have you no humor, manners nor honestness but to chatter like tinkers at this clip of dark? ” ( Act 2 Scene 3 ) . Malvolio is so grandiloquent and “ Sick of ego love ” that he believes he can talk to work forces of higher societal position in this manner ; it would look that because they are intoxicated, ( which goes against Puritan regulations ) Malvolio thinks himself better and more righteous than Sir Toby and Sir Andrew. Malvolio so goes on to endanger Maria because she provides the work forces with more vino. In Malvolio we can see the worst characteristics of puritanical nature, the egoistic, holier-than-thou, stiffly moral and enormously grandiloquent attitude that Shakespeare describes at length in Malvolio ‘s dark character. He challenges the really spirit of comedy and this is his downfall.A
Anti comedic figures are necessary mechanics to comedy, “ The River of comedy must be impeded before it reaches the sea, the happy stoping. “ – Dr Robert Spearwood. This seems to keep true for Malvolio in Twelfth Night, without Malvolio the drama would lose its elements of hazard and danger, Malvolio ‘s character has undertones of tragic potency which adds the important flirting between comedy and calamity. The critical writer Charles Lamb besides saw Malvolio as a tragic, anti-comedic character. “ Malvolio is non basically farcical. He becomes amusing by accident. He is cold, austere, driving ; but dignified, consistent, and, for what appears, instead of an over-stretched morality. ” Lamb put forward the thought that Malvolio is chiefly a tragic character and a comedic character to a lesser extent.
Another tool employed by Shakespeare to uncover Malvolio is through his linguistic communication. In Act 2 Scene 5 Malvolio repeatedly uses personal pronouns which farther highlight Malvolio ‘s hubris. “ Naming my officers about me, in my bifurcate velvet gown… to inquire for my kinsman Toby. ” This shows Malvolio ‘s supremely high sentiment of himself and could farther portray Malvolio as the anti-comedic character. Additionally after being taken to the “ dark house ” and presumed insane in Act 4 Scene 2, he is profoundly humiliated as he begs Feste to assist him “ Good Sir Topas! Do non believe I am huffy. They have laid me here in horrid darkness… at that place ne’er was a adult male therefore abused ” Malvolio ‘s imprisonment is a metaphor for his ain linguistic communication and behavior as he continually alienates himself from the other characters of Twelfth Night with his usage of personal pronouns and his clannish behavior. Alternatively nevertheless this quotation mark could portray Malvolio as the tragic character in Twelfth Night as the audience could be sympathetic with him being “ kept in a dark house ” holding fallen for Feste ‘s cunning trap.A This leaves the audience extremely conflicted as Malvolio is the adversary yet his quandary forces the audience to sympathize with him.
But while Malvolio may hold no usage for Feste ‘s comedy, comedy has apt usage for Malvolio. Depending on reading one could happen Malvolio ‘s autumn from grace extremely entertaining and humourous, such as Act 2 Scene 5 in which Malvolio is betrayed into practising his amusing behavior on phase which -depending on production- could give rise to much laughter. Additionally When Malvolio falls into Maria ‘s trap and Dons xanthous cross-garters, the first apparently serious, stiff adult male appears wholly pathetic as his purposes “ to be Count Malvolio. ” Become progressively crystalline. However, to be a Count is non the lone purpose of Malvolio as he urgently wishes to bed Lady Olivia. He even dreams of “ holding come from a day-bed, where I have left Olivia sleeping. ” His desires so go even clearer when he outright jumps to decisions with Lady Olivia. “ Wilt 1000 go to bed, Malvolio? ” Lady Olivia asks. “ To bed? Ay, sweet bosom, and I ‘ll come to thee! ” this confusion and incongruousness makes for great temper and comedy. Supporting this Michael Ratcliffe reviewed Anthony Sher ‘s Malvolio in the Observer ( 1987 ) and said “ A mad sanctum adult male on the tally, a corseted hysteric with gobstopper eyes ” this shows how of import reading and production is to whether Malvolio is considered Anti-comedic, Comedic, or a tragic character.A A
Alternatively Trevor Nunn ‘s movie adaptation of Twelfth Night depicts Malvolio as a tragic character, emphasized by his flight from the “ dark house ” whereby he is brought before all the chief characters of the drama bedraggled, dishevelled and unwashed merely to be farther humiliated when Feste uses his ain words against him. “ Why, some are born great, some achieve illustriousness and some have illustriousness push upon them. ” Nunn is found to successfully light sympathyA within the audience which may besides be recognised in Shakespeare ‘s original book. The drama ‘s decision shows a profoundly broken Malvolio as he so vows in his last haunting, memorable, resonating line. “ I ‘ll be reveng ‘d on the whole battalion of you! ” Some Shakespeare critics believe that he has good ground to express this. Although Malvolio is a Puritan by nature who systematically impedes the revelry of the likes of Sir Toby, Toby himself is non guiltless by any agencies either. Malvolio is a really complicated character who deserves both our derision and our understandings as well.A
Audiences may differ in their sentiment toward Malvolio as production has a prodigious consequence on whether Malvolio is a tragic, comedic or anti-comedic figure. It is undeniable that some of the greatest temper in the drama is brought from Malvolio ‘s pathetic scenes but it is every bit true that some of Twelfth Night ‘s great calamity is brought away by Malvolio ‘s autumn from grace, nevertheless Malvolio leaves behind a puritan menace to the comedic community and that is why in my position he is surely the anti-comedic scoundrel of the drama, condemned to be excluded from concluding harmoniousness after the community unites to chase away the character that threatens comedy itself.A