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Twelfth Night 2 Essay, Research Paper

The functions of Malvolio and Sir Toby in Twelfth Night

In Twelfth Night, the contrasting functions of Malvolio and Sir Toby Belch assist the drama develop to the fullest possible extent. In one regard, the two characters work as strictly comedic participants, conveying joy to the audience in the signifier of inebriation and buffooneries. But beyond the lighter surface of the drama lies a deeper significance: Toby and Malvolio have really different positions of life. The divergent visual aspect of these two figures gives the spectator of the drama a criterion by which to judge the other characters, and in so making makes the drama easier to follow. Malvolio embodies the complex side of an mean individual, while Sir Toby represents the simple, easy diverted side of humanity. Malvolio & # 8217 ; s function in this regard is more hard to grok ; he deceives himself into believing that Olivia is in love with him, thereby lending to his ain wretchedness. These facets of Shakespeare & # 8217 ; s Twelfth Night contribute to the realistic portraiture of each character, while at the same clip conveying out the drama & # 8217 ; s comedic overtones.

Malvolio brings a powerful presence to the drama when he is forced to play the sap. He who at one point defined the word Puritan now finds himself in a new function: that of a cross-gartered lover. In this manner, he shows himself to be a dissembler: he & # 8220 ; lowers himself & # 8221 ; to the degree of Toby when he becomes a participant himself. Maurice Charney describes the function of Malvolio rather good, stating: & # 8220 ; The most obvious consequence of this construction is to concentrate attending upon Malvolio and to do him a cardinal figure at every stage. & # 8221 ; ( Charney, 160 ) He tries to step into an wholly different kingdom, one of mastership over servantry. He is socially inferior to Olivia, doing his hopes to be looked at as mere givens. What Malvolio fails to see is that his matrimony to Olivia should be dismissed as nil more than a dream of power ( Malcolmson, 36 ) .

Sir Toby displays the features of a comedic function every bit good. In some instances, he livens up the drama with strictly sophomoric phrases. He professes features of what some may name & # 8220 ; dumb wit & # 8221 ; . C.L. Barber makes the point really clear when she says: & # 8220 ; Sir Toby is witty without being every bit qui vive as Sir John ; he does non necessitate to be: & # 8221 ; ( Barber, 24 )

Olivia: Cousin, cousin, how have you come so early by this lassitude?

Toby: Lechery? I defy lechery! There & # 8217 ; s one at the gate.

Olivia: Ay, marry, what is he?

Toby: Let him be the Satan if he will. I care non!

Give me faith, say I. Well, it & # 8217 ; s all one. ( I.v.131-137 )

Rocking in the same way, Toby tends to emphasize the & # 8220 ; lower & # 8221 ; facets of the organic structure instead than the & # 8220 ; higher & # 8221 ; 1s. He partakes in & # 8220 ; gentlemanly liberty & # 8221 ; ( Charney, 161 ) , populating the life that he experience will take to greater felicity now instead than subsequently. This doctrine brings a batch of absurd minutes to the drama ( Barber, 250 ) . Apart from this doctrine, Sir Toby begins to develop a gustatory sensation for the & # 8220 ; athletics & # 8221 ; of buffoonery playing. In one of the drama & # 8217 ; s most ironically amusive minutes, Olivia commisions Toby, one of the buffoonery & # 8217 ; s cardinal participants, to bring around Malvolio of his insanity. Toby decides to take his new found avocation to another degree by teasing Sir Andrew and Cesario into what may be slackly defined as a & # 8220 ; fight & # 8221 ; ( Ornstein, 165 ) . Like Malvolio & # 8217 ; s stance on life, Toby & # 8217 ; s attack to life brings yet another mercantile establishment for comedy to the drama. In their conflicting pursuits for power and comedy, though, Malvolio and Toby do more than do the drama good story. They besides modify other characters in respect to love and yearning.

In footings of love, the sentiments of Malvolio and Sir Toby violently oppose each other, and in that right assist the spectator of the drama to understand

the universe of Shakespeare’s fiction. In the words of Maurice Charney, “Shakespeare’s universe doubles or mirrors our ain world.” ( Charney, 161 ) In this regard, the figures of Malvolio and Sir Toby may stand for the different sides of love as seen through the eyes of assorted characters ; the huge grade of difference in positions between the two characters AIDSs in stressing the feelings and purposes of other characters. For illustration, Malvolio parallels Cesario because both are retainers that would give their all to be wed to their Masterss. Malvolio besides helps to modify Duke Orsino, because, as phrased best by Christina Malcolmson, “Both are self-involved work forces for whom command consists in the exercising of power at the disbursal of the consideration of others.” ( Malcolmson, 37-38 ) In the same manner, but on a really different degree, the size of Sir Toby’s intestine coexists on the same plane as the Duke’s expansive desire for love ( Bloom, 142 ) . Such is the instance in the play’s gap words, when the Duke says:

If music be the nutrient of love, drama on,

Give me excess of it ; that surfeiting,

The appetency may disgust, and so die ( I.i.1-3 )

These relationships push the drama along, giving the spectator a degree on which to link with each of the participants. But while Sir Toby does play rather an of import function in the alteration of other characters, his character lacks the deep, involved wretchedness withheld by Malvolio.

Malvolio & # 8217 ; s mind plants otherwise from any other Shakespearean participant, engendering his ain wretchedness with its ain natural inclination to lead on itself. Bertrand Evans dexterously remarked on this in her book, Shakespeare & # 8217 ; s Comedies, authorship: & # 8220 ; Malvolio is self-deceived up until the minute when he picks up the missive, when his ain flashiness lights the fire of the prank. & # 8221 ; ( Evans, 131 ) In a mode of speech production, Malvolio is in a haze of his bad judgement ; if he were able to acknowledge his ain defects, he could go a better balanced adult male, but still he lies in his ain single-mindedness. In denying such junior-grade things as & # 8220 ; bars and ale & # 8221 ; , he is at the same clip closing out what Maurice Charney calls the & # 8220 ; 2nd unwritten universe of play & # 8221 ; which represents a ample portion of existent life ( Charney, 161 ) . Conceptually, this serves to give the spectator of the drama a ground to acquire emotionally involved on both sides of Sir Toby & # 8217 ; s buffooneries, as opposed to seeing merely the comedic side. Olivia stresses this point from her point of position in the 4th act, declaring:

I am every bit huffy as he ( Malvolio ) ,

If sad and gay lunacy equal be. ( IV.iv.15-16 )

Olivia knows how wounded Malvolio will be upon seeing that the whole of the state of affairs is a fraud, assisting the perceiver of the drama to better understand the stamp side of Olivia. Consequently, it is obvious that Malvolio is interested in making the things that he stands so steadfastly against, because none of the buffooneries would hold had any consequence on him unless he were interested in doing love to Olivia.

In decision, the other characters of Twelfth Night would non be as clearly understood if Mavolio and Sir Toby had non been every bit across-the-board as they were. Malvolio modifies the perilously self-involved side of each character, while Sir Toby modifies each participant & # 8217 ; s lighter, happier overtones. The criterion that the two leading characters give the witness helps the drama run more swimmingly, and leaves nil to be desired in footings of cleanliness and lucidity. Toby & # 8217 ; s fast ones and Malvolio & # 8217 ; s awkwardly worded speech add comedy, while the more luxuriant side of Malvolio makes the viewer attempt to understand what is traveling on inside his caput. Every frame of mention upheld by Toby and Malvolio urges the drama & # 8217 ; s witnesss to acquire more involved in the drama, and keeps them amused Toby & # 8217 ; s buffooneries and Malvolio & # 8217 ; s awkwardness.

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