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How does the clown harass Malvolio as Sir Topas in act 4 scene 2?  

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batista | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted May 15, 2009 at 7:02 PM via web

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How does the clown harass Malvolio as Sir Topas in act 4 scene 2?

 

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kc4u | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted May 15, 2009 at 10:18 PM (Answer #1)

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In Act 4 sc.2, Maria asks Feste, the clown, to wear a priestly gown & a beard to meet the steward, Malvolio, confined in a dark chamber, impersonating himself as the curate, Sir Topas. Maria, who masterminded the gulling of Malvolio, wants to make the business more delicious. The clown then accompany Sir Toby & Maria to the dark chamber in which Malvolio is confined. The clown uses his gift of voice-modulation to speak as the curate from outside:'What, ho, I say! peace in this prison!' Malvolio responds from within as Feste calls himself Sir Topas, having come to visit 'Malvolio the lunatic'. As Malvolio desparately asks the curate to bring the matter to Lady Olivia's notice, Feste makes a fool of him by calling him names--'hyperbolical fiend', 'dishonest Satan' and the like. Pretending to be the curate, the clown goes on irritating & remonstrating Malvolio, teasingly forcing upon him the impression that he has gone mad and, what is worse, he is possessed by some evil spirit. When Malvolio complaints that the house is dark as hell, the clown dismisses the idea jokingly:'Why, it hath bay-windows transparent as barricadoes, and the clear-stories toward the south-north are as lustrous as ebony; and yet complainest thou of obstruction?' He further tells Malvolio that his sense of being imprisoned in darkness is due to his ignorance, and he is more confused than 'the Egyptians in their fog'. The clown enjoying the opportunity of being mistaken for a learned clergyman, further harasses the much-befooled steward with a reference to Pythagoras and his famous theory of transmigration of souls:

Clown:What is the opinion of Pythagoras concerning

wildfowl?

Malvolio:That the soul of our grandam might haply

inhabit a bird.

Clown:What thinkest thou of his opinion?

Malvolio:I think nobly of the soul, and no way

approve his opinion.

Clown:Fare thee well.Remain thou still in darkness:

thou shalt hold the opinion of Pythagoras ere

I will of thy wits.


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