At first it seems that Malvolio is her lowly servant. However, when we read his role in the “Persons of the Play” we see that he is the steward of Olivia, which is someone who is in charge of the person’s finances. So right away we see the personality of Malvolio coming through with his low self-esteem and acting like a lowly servant, when in reality he is in a decent middle-class position. Later in the play we see that he is very interested in Olivia, not particularly because of her good looks, but more for the wealth that she holds.
This pursuit of love for all the wrong reasons is one of the reasons Malvolio is set up to be made a fool of at the end. In act two, scene two; we see how loyal Malvolio is, to Olivia, when he is talking to the disguised Viola. He is taking care of some of her most private affairs, and will not take no for an answer. However, this loyalty is what gets Malvolio into trouble. In act two, scene three; Malvolio is talking to Sir Toby and Feste when he says: “Sir Toby, I must be round with you.
My Lady bade me tell you that though she harbours you as her kinsman she’s nothing allied to your disorders. If you can separate yourself and your misdemeanours you are welcome to the house. If not, an it would please you to take leave of her she is very willing to bid you farewell” (1784).
With this arrogant attitude towards Sir Toby’s unresponsiveness of Olivia he gets set up by Sir Toby and Feste for the big practical joke of the play. Malvolio’s persistence with Sir Toby in act two, scene five, causes him to fall right into Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and Fabian’s joke.
... and in love with Cesa rio but Sir Toby wants ... He also helps in the design of the plight against Malvolio, assisting Belch in making the steward into a complete mockery. ... type of foolery occurs in Act 3, Scene 2. In this scene Sir Andrew is beginning to realize that Olivia is out of his reach ...
This is where we really see Malvolio become the complete fool. Despite references to Malvolio being a fool by Feste (who is the fool), earlier in the play, Shakespeare really makes Malvolio the fool of the play when he has him falling into this ploy of humiliation. Shakespeare does this both through the action of him falling for the men’s plan and the contrast from the beginning of the play where Olivia says to Feste, “You’re a dry fool” (1775), to the end of the play when Olivia says, “Alas, poor fool, how have they baffled thee” (1820), to Malvolio.
The three men convince Malvolio that Olivia likes him by giving him a letter that says that he must win her heart by wearing one of the most ridiculous outfits of all time. The three men tell him to dress in the exact opposite style of Olivia’s taste in the letter that they had Maria forge. Then when Malvolio goes to woo Olivia, his world comes crashing down and the joke has been played. Everyone has a good laugh at Malvolio’s expense, and he goes off swearing his revenge for this trickery. There are many ways to read Malvolio’s true nature and what his real role in the play is.
Some would argue that Malvolio is a snobby, uptight man that is always putting Sir Toby and Sir Andrew down, and that he is obsessed with trying to show them that he is the better man. They would say that he got what was coming to him for being such a wound-up person. They would also say that this is why Feste gets the last word. They would say that this whole thing is a competition of who can one up the other, and that in the end Feste gets the best of Malvolio and that is why he gets his final word in and Malvolio runs off crying for revenge.
However, Shakespeare makes us feel somewhat sorry for Malvolio. If you really get to know Malvolio, he is just a love-sick little puppy who has a very low self-esteem and just wants to make the most out of life that he can. The situation that he is put in when he tries to impress Olivia with his ridiculous outfit is really him finally exposing himself and trying to express himself. Shakespeare is really making Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, Feste, and Fabian out to be guys with a horrible sense of humor and the villains of the mini-story of the play.
Although we feel a little sorry for Malvolio because he was embarrassed in front of a lady he was attempting to court, our sorrow is short lived. We come to the realization of how silly Malvolio is because he spends his life with this woman, pretty much working as a slave, and yet he doesn’t have any idea what her taste in men are? This man grovels to Olivia’s every need and yet he does not know that she hates every piece of clothing he was told to wear when he met her. This exposed idiocy makes us lose all sorrow for Malvolio, and makes us pity his arrogant and greedy mind.
Character Makes the Man One of the questions Thomas Hardy poses in his masterwork novel, The Mayor of Caster bridge, is the relationship between character and chance in destiny. Destiny in this novel most closely relates to the idea of destiny put forth in Robert Frost s poem The Road Not Taken, where chance defines the paths for a person to take, but it is the person s character itself, which ...
This is where Shakespeare makes one of his morals in this play. Shakespeare is well known for being favorable to the middle-class and this play demonstrates his power to use his connection with this socio-economic group to drive home a point. Malvolio is essentially the role model of what not to be as a middle-class citizen. Shakespeare uses Malvolio’s desire to gain power and money through wedding a woman he knows nothing about but has the step to a higher class ranking as a clear message. Malvolio’s fall shows us that being worried about money and your socio-economic class is something that will make you the biggest fool in town.