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Disguised as a young man, Viola joins the court of Duke Orsino, falls in love with him, and becomes his favorite.Orsino loves the lady Olivia, who refuses his attentions because she still mourns her dead brother.
When he does his bit, Olivia casually mentions that perhaps he is put upon, but this is the only sympathetic gesture he deserves.
He is the force that threatens to destroy the celebration of all that is good and refined and joyful in Elizabethan society. The main plot, written mostly in blank verse, shows the nobility in pursuit of love.
” Malvolio suffers within a joyous world; it is against his will that he becomes part of the fun when he is duped and made to appear ridiculous.
As a character, he represents a historical group, then growing in power, whose earnestness threatens to take the joy out of life (and, incidentally, to close England’s theaters).
Malvolio is ridiculous, but so are the cavaliers who surround him.
The absurd Sir Andrew Aguecheek and the usually drunken Sir Toby Belch are the representatives, on the political level, of the old order that Malvolio’s counterparts in the real world are soon to topple.
He cannot celebrate; he is too pious and self-involved.
Nothing is left for him but to be the butt of a joke—his role in the celebration.
The glittering plot is reinforced by some of Shakespeare’s best and most delicate dramatic poetry.
Moreover, the drama is suffused with bittersweet music, and the idyllic setting in Illyria blends with language and imagery to create a most delightful atmosphere wholly appropriate to the celebration of love and to the enjoyment of this world.