The Role Of Malvolio In — страница 3

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conclusion, the role of Malvolio in the play “Twelfth Night” is difficult to define for today’s audience, but for the Elizabethan audience, whom the play was written for, the role of Malvolio referred to Puritanism. Many of the Puritans in Shakespeare’s time were connected to the merchant classes and were considered to be self-serving hypocrites. Malvolio thus embodies all the attributes which the pleasure-seeking Elizabethan audience was predisposed to hate. There is no explicit sympathy for him in the play whatsoever for the 17th century audience but for today’s public, now that the Puritan movement has all but disappeared, the audience will feel sympathetic while Malvolio is locked in the cell. I do not think that Shakespeare intended for the audience to feel

sympathy for Malvolio, but in today’s more accepting culture, this cannot be helped. Malvolio helps to add emotional and intellectual depth to the play and I think that the other characters would not be as clearly understood if Malvolio had not been as all-encompassing as he is. The standard that the stellar character gives the spectators help the play run more smoothly, and leaves nothing to be desired in terms of cleanliness and clarity. Toby’s tricks on Malvolio and Malvolio’s awkwardly worded speech add comedy, while the more elaborate side of Malvolio makes the audience try to understand what is going on inside his head. Every line of reference upheld by Malvolio urges the audience to get more involved in the play. Malvolio modifies the dangerously self-absorbed side

of each character, and also adds an extra element of ridicule to the play. Finally, I don’t think that Malvolio is a character that today’s audience can accurately relate to because his Puritanical views are hardly ever witnessed in today’s open society, but, as I mentioned earlier, in the Elizabethan audience, a majority of the public knew of a local Puritan group or individual and Malvolio typifies a hated minority in 17th century culture.