In Twelfth Night, does Malvolio get what he deserves?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Mal literally means "bad" and I think it is an interesting choice for a name.  While he is a punk, I do think that he is at least partly a victim of circumstances.  Wrong place, wrong time, or at least wrong employer.  His reaction, of course, was his own and...

See
This Answer Now

Start your subscription to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your Subscription

Mal literally means "bad" and I think it is an interesting choice for a name.  While he is a punk, I do think that he is at least partly a victim of circumstances.  Wrong place, wrong time, or at least wrong employer.  His reaction, of course, was his own and he is responsible for that.  However, he was definitely manipulated.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Put into the context of British history, one may feel that Malvolio deserves the treatment given him from Maria and Toby. Critics feel that in the deception of Malvolio by the others, Shakespeare comes closest to Jonsonian comedy, which is surprisingly satiric. So, in the ridiculing of Malvolio, Shakespeare unmasks the pretentions of the Puritan. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team