Why does Malvolio want to marry Olivia in Twelfth Night?

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Malvolio is Olivia's steward, which places him in service to her. In any case, Malvolio certainly harbors aspirations to ascend far above his current station, as one can see in his lines from act 2, scene 5. He longs for the respect and status that the title of count would provide him. "To be Count Malvolio," we hear him say, and he imagines himself "calling my officers about me, in my branched velvet gown; / having come from a day bed, where I l have left Olivia speaking," and so it goes on.

At the same time, though, it's worth questioning whether he really knows Olivia as well as he probably ought to know her (given that he's been in close service for, one can assume, a significant span of time). At some point, you would have expected Olivia's own infatuation with the disguised Viola would have become somewhat self-apparent. Furthermore, consider the kind of traps which Maria has set for him, traps which Marvolio willfully falls into: instructing him to dress and present himself in a...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 674 words.)

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