Twelfth Night

Malvolio

Identity

In the play Twelfth Night, Malvolio is a servant to Olivia who believes he should keep along the path that is given, rather than adventure amongst a forest. He views himself as a decent individual who keeps a clean look. Although, he does seem to want more for himself. “Calling my officers about me, in my branched velvet gown, having come from a daybed, where I have left Olivia sleeping—“ (II.v.42-44). Pg.3. This is showing how Malvolio is already picturing the luxuries that’d come with marrying Lady Olivia. He is willing to do whatever it takes for him to get the life he aspires to live since he wants to marry Olivia only to show the servants how great of a man he deserves to be viewed as.

Gender

Perception

I believe that other characters in Twelfth Night see Malvolio as an annoying servant. They believe his ego is bigger than who he really is. Maria, Sir Toby, and Sir Andrew are so tired of hearing Malvolio talk so greatly about himself that they decide to write him a letter, making it seem like it is from Olivia. Then, he is convinced that Lady Olivia also believes he deserves more than what he has after picking up the letter from her garden. The letter basically orders him to treat his peers, in the same class, as if they are in a lower class and to act as if he is in a greater class. So he does this in order to win Olivia’s heart so that he can marry her for the luxurious lifestyle that will come from it. Therefore showing that he is selfish yet committed. “The devil a puritan that he is, or anything constantly, but a time-pleaser; an affectioned ass that cons state without book and utters it by great swarths; the best persuaded of himself, so crammed, as he thinks, with excellencies, that it is his grounds of faith that all that look on him love him. And on that vice in him will my revenge find notable cause to work” (II.iii.130-137). Pg.7. Maria is telling Sir Toby and Sir Andrew what she thinks about Malvolio. This differs from how he views himself because it shows how most people are bothered by his presence while he truly believes he is a great man.

Similarities and Differences