Maria is Olivia's lady-in-waiting and is a balancing character. She scolds Toby and Andrew for their drunkenness, but she also tolerates them and shows her own capacity for pranks by initiating the phony love letter ploy against her supervisor, Malvolio.
In I.iii, Maria draws our attention to Sir Toby Belch's habitual late nights and drunkenness when she warns him that his niece, Countess Olivia, has lost patience with his dissolute behavior. She also prepares us for the entrance shortly afterward of Sir Andrew Aguecheek by referring to him as "a foolish knight" whom Sir Toby...
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