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In Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, why is Malvolio punished while Maria is not?

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hyousef | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 29, 2009 at 6:01 AM via web

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In Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, why is Malvolio punished while Maria is not?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 28, 2010 at 9:56 AM (Answer #1)

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Malvolio is certainly mistreated by Maria, Sir Toby, Feste, the clown who play a prank on him and have locked up in a dark room for madness.  It was Maria who devised the scheme of giving Malvolio a letter supposedly written by Olivia to make Malvolio believe that Olivia is in love with and asking him to dress and act like a lunatic.  Olivia sees Malvolio acting quite foolishly and Maria and the others have Malvolio locked up as punishment for his madness.  However, while the play doesn’t carry out far enough to show us, at the end Olivia agrees with Malvolio that he has been very wronged by Maria and the others and promises that they will be punished for their wrong-doings

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