Posts Tagged ‘Malvolio’

Twelfth Night – Act Three Scene Two

Sir Andrew is upset because Olivia is showing more attention to Cesario than him. He is leaving for home

Sir Toby and Fabian persuade him to stay


She did show favour to the youth in your sight only
to exasperate you, to awake your dormouse valour, to
put fire in your heart and brimstone in your liver.
You should then have accosted her; and with some
excellent jests, fire-new from the mint, you should
have banged the youth into dumbness. This was
looked for at your hand, and this was balked: the
double gilt of this opportunity you let time wash
off, and you are now sailed into the north of my
lady’s opinion; where you will hang like an icicle
on a Dutchman’s beard, unless you do redeem it by
some laudable attempt either of valour or policy.

Sir Toby suggests writing a challenge to Cesario to prove his valour


Go, write it in a martial hand; be curst and brief;
it is no matter how witty, so it be eloquent and fun
of invention: taunt him with the licence of ink:
if thou thou’st him some thrice, it shall not be
amiss; and as many lies as will lie in thy sheet of
paper, although the sheet were big enough for the
bed of Ware in England, set ’em down: go, about it.
Let there be gall enough in thy ink, though thou
write with a goose-pen, no matter: about it.

When Sir Andrew leaves to write this letter we see the real Sir Toby. He means to continue this jest to it’s conclusion, as he will with Malvolio


. For Andrew, if he were
opened, and you find so much blood in his liver as
will clog the foot of a flea, I’ll eat the rest of
the anatomy.

Maria enters in haste as Malvolio is coming dressed in yellow stockings. They go to laugh at him


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Twelfth Night – Act Two Scene Five

The trap is laid for Malvolio and Toby, Andrew and Fabian hide in a box tree to witness


Get ye all three into the box-tree: Malvolio’s
coming down this walk: he has been yonder i’ the
sun practising behavior to his own shadow this half
hour: observe him, for the love of mockery; for I
know this letter will make a contemplative idiot of
him. Close, in the name of jesting! Lie thou there,

Throws down a letter

for here comes the trout that must be caught with tickling.

Malvolio, believing himself alone fantasises about being married to Olivia and chastising Sir Toby Belch for his drunkenness.


Saying, ‘Cousin Toby, my fortunes having cast me on
your niece give me this prerogative of speech,’–


What, what?


‘You must amend your drunkenness.’


Out, scab!


Nay, patience, or we break the sinews of our plot.


‘Besides, you waste the treasure of your time with
a foolish knight,’–


That’s me, I warrant you.


‘One Sir Andrew,’–


I knew ’twas I; for many do call me fool.


What employment have we here?

Taking up the letter

The trap is sprung


By my life, this is my lady’s hand these be her
very C’s, her U’s and her T’s and thus makes she her
great P’s. It is, in contempt of question, her hand.


Her C’s, her U’s and her T’s: why that?

Why indeed?. Arden edition believe that “CUT” is slang for vagina, and making her P’s is urinating.

What follows is a riddle designed by Maria to play on Malvoilio’s vainness .

I’ve taken out the interjections from the hidden trio and just left Malvolio talking to himself


I may command where I adore;
But silence, like a Lucrece knife,
With bloodless stroke my heart doth gore:
M, O, A, I, doth sway my life.

‘M, O, A, I, doth sway my life.’ Nay, but first, let
me see, let me see, let me see.

‘I may command where I adore.’ Why, she may command
me: I serve her; she is my lady. Why, this is
evident to any formal capacity; there is no
obstruction in this: and the end,–what should
that alphabetical position portend? If I could make
that resemble something in me,–Softly! M, O, A,

M,–Malvolio; M,–why, that begins my name.

M,–but then there is no consonancy in the sequel;
that suffers under probation A should follow but O does

And then I comes behind.

M, O, A, I; this simulation is not as the former: and
yet, to crush this a little, it would bow to me, for
every one of these letters are in my name. Soft!
here follows prose.


‘If this fall into thy hand, revolve. In my stars I
am above thee; but be not afraid of greatness: some
are born great, some achieve greatness, and some
have greatness thrust upon ’em. Thy Fates open
their hands; let thy blood and spirit embrace them;
and, to inure thyself to what thou art like to be,
cast thy humble slough and appear fresh. Be
opposite with a kinsman, surly with servants; let
thy tongue tang arguments of state; put thyself into
the trick of singularity: she thus advises thee
that sighs for thee. Remember who commended thy
yellow stockings, and wished to see thee ever
cross-gartered: I say, remember. Go to, thou art
made, if thou desirest to be so; if not, let me see
thee a steward still, the fellow of servants, and
not worthy to touch Fortune’s fingers. Farewell.
She that would alter services with thee,
Daylight and champaign discovers not more: this is
open. I will be proud, I will read politic authors,
I will baffle Sir Toby, I will wash off gross
acquaintance, I will be point-devise the very man.
I do not now fool myself, to let imagination jade
me; for every reason excites to this, that my lady
loves me. She did commend my yellow stockings of
late, she did praise my leg being cross-gartered;
and in this she manifests herself to my love, and
with a kind of injunction drives me to these habits
of her liking. I thank my stars I am happy. I will
be strange, stout, in yellow stockings, and
cross-gartered, even with the swiftness of putting
on. Jove and my stars be praised! Here is yet a


‘Thou canst not choose but know who I am. If thou
entertainest my love, let it appear in thy smiling;
thy smiles become thee well; therefore in my
presence still smile, dear my sweet, I prithee.’
Jove, I thank thee: I will smile; I will do
everything that thou wilt have me.

Malvolio exits and Maria enters and they will see the fruits of this jest


If you will then see the fruits of the sport, mark
his first approach before my lady: he will come to
her in yellow stockings, and ’tis a colour she
abhors, and cross-gartered, a fashion she detests;
and he will smile upon her, which will now be so
unsuitable to her disposition, being addicted to a
melancholy as she is, that it cannot but turn him
into a notable contempt. If you will see it, follow

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Twelfth Night – Act Two Scene Three
A great comic scene with Toby Belch and Andrew Aguecheek

Nay, my troth, I know not: but I know, to be up
late is to be up late.
A false conclusion: I hate it as an unfilled can.
To be up after midnight and to go to bed then, is
early: so that to go to bed after midnight is to go
to bed betimes.

They are drunk and when the clown, Feste enters they have a song and a dance. Much to the annoyance to everyone else in the house

What a caterwauling do you keep here! If my lady
have not called up her steward Malvolio and bid him
turn you out of doors, never trust me.


My masters, are you mad? or what are you? Have ye
no wit, manners, nor honesty, but to gabble like
tinkers at this time of night? Do ye make an
alehouse of my lady’s house, that ye squeak out your
coziers’ catches without any mitigation or remorse
of voice? Is there no respect of place, persons, nor
time in you?

Maria has a plan to trick Malvolio

Sweet Sir Toby, be patient for tonight: since the
youth of the count’s was today with thy lady, she is
much out of quiet. For Monsieur Malvolio, let me
alone with him: if I do not gull him into a
nayword, and make him a common recreation, do not
think I have wit enough to lie straight in my bed:
I know I can do it.
Possess us, possess us; tell us something of him.
Marry, sir, sometimes he is a kind of puritan.
O, if I thought that I’ld beat him like a dog!
What, for being a puritan? thy exquisite reason,
dear knight?
I have no exquisite reason for’t, but I have reason
good enough.

Maria will write a note to Malvolio in the style of Olivia

What wilt thou do?
I will drop in his way some obscure epistles of
love; wherein, by the colour of his beard, the shape
of his leg, the manner of his gait, the expressure
of his eye, forehead, and complexion, he shall find
himself most feelingly personated. I can write very
like my lady your niece: on a forgotten matter we
can hardly make distinction of our hands.

Sir Toby and Sir Andrew decide it’s too late to go to bed so carry on drinking and eating


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Twelfth Night – Act Two Scene Two

Enter Viola followed by Malvolio who returns the ring to Viola

She returns this ring to you, sir: you might have
saved me my pains, to have taken it away yourself.

Viola is confused as she gave no Ring to Olivia

She took the ring of me: I’ll none of it.
Come, sir, you peevishly threw it to her; and her
will is, it should be so returned: if it be worth
stooping for, there it lies in your eye; if not, be
it his that finds it.

Next comes Viola’s famous monologue

I left no ring with her: what means this lady?
Fortune forbid my outside have not charm’d her!
She made good view of me; indeed, so much,
That sure methought her eyes had lost her tongue,
For she did speak in starts distractedly.
She loves me, sure; the cunning of her passion
Invites me in this churlish messenger.
None of my lord’s ring! why, he sent her none.
I am the man: if it be so, as ’tis,
Poor lady, she were better love a dream.
Disguise, I see, thou art a wickedness,
Wherein the pregnant enemy does much.
How easy is it for the proper-false
In women’s waxen hearts to set their forms!
Alas, our frailty is the cause, not we!
For such as we are made of, such we be.
How will this fadge? my master loves her dearly;
And I, poor monster, fond as much on him;
And she, mistaken, seems to dote on me.
What will become of this? As I am man,
My state is desperate for my master’s love;
As I am woman,–now alas the day!–
What thriftless sighs shall poor Olivia breathe!
O time! thou must untangle this, not I;
It is too hard a knot for me to untie!


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 Starting Twelfth Night now

This is a play I have seen Three times.

  • Once at Chichester – with Patrick Stewart as Malvolio
  • Once at RSC – Stratford – with Richard Wilson and James Fleet
  • And in my local Theatre – Basingstoke Haymarket – (Cast of 7 so lots of doubling up)

Previous blogs see Archive page

So, let’s go to Illyria…

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