At the play's conclusion, a thoroughly humiliated Malvolio vows "I'll be reveng'd on the whole pack of you" (V, i., l.378), and many Shakespeare critics maintain that he has good cause to utter this discordant oath. Over the centuries, scholars have pondered what has come to be called the "problem of Malvolio." By this they mean that although Malvolio is a prude, a hypocrite, and an upstart, he does not deserve the cruel treatment that he receives from the ruse perpetrated by Maria, Uncle Toby, and the clown Feste. True, Malvolio is a "joy-killer" by nature who consistently punctures the...
(The entire page is 200 words.)
Want to read the whole thing?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus, get access to:
- 30,000+ literature study guides
- Critical essays on more than 30,000 works of literature from Salem on Literature (exclusive to eNotes)
- An unparalleled literary criticism section. 40,000 full-length or excerpted essays.
- Content from leading academic publishers, all easily citable with our "Cite this page" button.
- 100% satisfaction guarantee READ MORE