Homework Help

For Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, I need to write about how Maria makes a mockery of...

user profile pic

juribeiro | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 29, 2010 at 6:04 AM via web

dislike 1 like

For Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, I need to write about how Maria makes a mockery of love.

* I already wrote about her thinking that love is shallow and it only exists to make other people look like fools with the example of her tricking Mavolio with the fake letter. I also already wrote about her falling for the "trick" of love herself and fooling her own beliefs when she marries Sir Toby. I need to find a third idea and maybe an example.

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

shakespeareguru | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted November 29, 2010 at 8:30 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

You might want to look at Act I scene v, when Viola enters (as Cesario) into Olivia's presence.  Some of the mockery here is a bit inferred and indicated by action rather than text, but I believe that this scene could also be useful.

Just before Viola enters, Olivia says to Maria:

Give me my veil.  Come throw it o'er my face.

Well once again hear Orsino's embassy.

This line is important when considering mockery in this scene, since it shows that Olivia has covered her face when receiving suitors sent from Orsino in the past.  Are they preparing a ruse that they have enacted upon past emissaries sent from Orsino before?  This idea that they are, once again, creating a ruse, or playing a trick, can be inferred upon Viola's opening line:

The honourable lady of the house, which is she?

With this line, Viola exposes that she is confused by which of the women is which.  Why does she confuse a waiting woman and her maid? Does Maria also throw a veil over her head to appear to be the same as Olivia?  It is often played this way in performance.  And if so, doesn't this mean that she is mocking Orsino and his "love" for Olivia?

Maria has only one line in the scene, "Will you hoist sail, sir?  Here lies your way."  When Viola answers this with "Some mollification for your giant, sweet lady!"  She indicates that Maria is either trying to bodily throw her out, or is at least threatening to do so, and Viola is appealing to Olivia for help.  Again, an indication that Maria is mocking Orsino and the messenger he sends.

I tend to agree with you, that it is difficult to find support for Maria's making a mockery of love.  But looking at the subtlties of certain moments, as I have above, can give you more support for creating such an agrument.  Good luck!

 

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes