Ans, Is the character of Malvolio intended as a satire against puritanism? Some critics say that Shakespeare wanted to satire the gross defects of Puritanism, like some of his contemporary dramatists. Character of Malvolio in twelfth night
Others maintain that through Shakespeare could not have been a stranger to the traditional feeling of hostility against puritans, especially their dislike for festivity, amusements, theatres, etc, the dramatist was not opposed to Puritanism as a religion or any party or profession at all. “Had Shakespeare intended to satirize Puritanism, he would have expressed himself unequivocally as he does when in other plays he good-naturedly laughs at the affected phraseology of Euphuists. Character of Malvolio in twelfth night
The fact is that even though he lived in an age of political and religious heat, yet there is in his works no sectarian character of politics or religion. He is always the philosopher and the moralist impartial. He is of age, no religion, no party, no profession, but of all. The allusions to Puritans in other plays afford no grounds for imparting hostility to Shakespeare! Character of Malvolio in twelfth night
Malvolio twelfth night
Although the dramatist,s view cannot be identified with those of his character (Maria can hardly be regarded as his mouthpiece), her remark seems to apply well to Malvolio who has the following Puritanical elements in his character:-He is indeed a person “not moved to cheerfulness by any innocent est; he casts a malign look on every person and everything around him”. He seeks to get Fabian into disgrace for bear-baiting. He has every contempt far Feste’s criticism.
Sir Toby is dead against him for banishing “cakes and ale, which is by the Puritan objection to the celebration of Twelfth Night and other feast days by making cakes as a superstitious relic of property. These are some of the reasons which lead certain critics to conclude in Malvolio’s general character that, Shakespeare intended to make the Puritans. odious.” Against this view, we have to note the true implication of Maria’s statement. “Sometimes he is a kind manner at times.
Besides, she also corrects herself by saying-“The devil a Puritan that he is or anything constantly but a time-pleasure.” It has also to be remembered that Malvolio is duped by Maria and her party not for his so-called puritanism but for his being on affectioned ass-a time pleaser, who interfered with the jollity of the underworld. Character of Malvolio in twelfth night
character of Malvolio in twelfth night
Contemporary dramatists ridiculed Puritans for their religious hypocrisy and there is no evidence in Twelfth Night that Shakespeare was hostile to Puritanism in the religious sense of the word. Even if we think that Malvolio has in him all the characteristics of a Puritan, we have to note that he is made ridiculous but scarcely odious, “What Shakespeare satirized was the Puritan who used his grim morality as a leader to self-advancement.” Character of Malvolio in twelfth night