Did Malvolio Deserve His Punishment
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Malvolio is a very egotistical character; he is immune to enjoyment and affection. He plays a significant part in the story of Twelfth Night, as he is foolish but self-righteous at the same time. Shakespeare made Malvolio the character in the story that the reader would immediately lable as the baddy this is because Malvolio is a puritan and puritans were against the theatre. The theatre was what made Shakespeare therefore he sent subliminal messages throughout Twelfth Night to stay against the puritan cause. This was extremely clever. Malvolio links more and more into the story as it progresses; this is because he becomes similar to a 4th point in the love triangle. He is a pretentious, pompous, condescending fool in his actions and his thoughts. He thinks he is higher up the social ladder and house hierarchy when he is merely a steward who takes dislikes a little too far.
Malvolio may deserve his come-uppance, but there is an uncomfortable universality to his experience. Malvolio’s misfortune is a cautionary tale of ambition overcoming good sense, and the audience winces at the way he adapts every event—including Olivia’s confused assumption that he must be mad—to fit his rosy picture of his glorious future as a nobleman. Earlier, he embodies stiff joylessness; now he is joyful, but in pursuit of a dream that everyone, except him, knows is false. I feel that his punishment may have gone a bit too far as most people can see. There is a difference between making a fool of someone and locking him or her up for life. He may have been a spoil sport and intolerant towards Sir Toby’s, Sir Andrew’s and Maria’s fun but they took a bit too far. He was only doing his job.