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Malvolio is the steward of Olivia's household in William Shakespeare's comedy, Twelfth Night, or What You Will.


Malvolio's ethical values are commonly used to define his appearance.

In the play, Malvolio is defined as a "kind of" Puritan. He despises all manner of fun and games, and wishes his world to be completely free of human sin, yet he behaves very foolishly against his stoic nature when he believes that Olivia loves him. This leads to major conflicts with characters such as Toby Belch, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, and Maria, mistress of the household.Much of the play's humour comes from Maria, Feste, Toby Belch, and Andrew Aguecheek tormenting Malvolio with drinking, joking, and singing. Later on in the play Maria devises a way to have revenge upon Malvolio, and proposes it to Sir Toby, Sir Andrew and Feste. Maria composes a letter in Olivia's handwriting, and leaves it so Malvolio will find it. The letter convinces Malvolio that Olivia loves him, and leads Malvolio to think that Olivia wishes him to smile, wear yellow stockings and cross garters. Olivia is in mourning for her brother's death, and finds smiling offensive, and yellow is "a colour she abhors, and cross garters a fashion she detests". When Malvolio is imprisoned for being a supposed lunatic after acting out the instructions in the letter, Feste visits him both as himself and in the guise of "Sir Topas the curate," and torments Malvolio by making him swear to heretical...
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