Tuesday, January 5, 2010

11th Grade Gabe on Twelfth Night During his Disciplinary Probation

Gabe Llanas

English 11

Ms. Stewart


Malvolio Got Did Wrong

Ms. Stewart, after reading this you’ll see that Malvolio got did wrong up in this play. He was a dedicated and hard-working servant to the Countess Olivia, and when he dared to dream that she might be in love with him, he gets it all shoved back in his face and embarrassed and even PUNISHED for expressing his harmless little crush. Brutal.

You got these spoiled bullies Sir Andrew Aguecheek and Sir Toby Belch raising a ruckus while Malvolio’s mistress, the lovely Olivia, is trying to mourn. And Malvolio comes in to quiet these fools down:

My masters are you mad? ... Do you make an alehouse of my lady’s house, that you squeak out your coziers’ catches without any mitigation or remorse of voice? Is there no respect of place, persons nor time in you? (2:3)

And what happens to the dedicated servant? Maria, Olivia’s waiting woman, decides to play a prank on loyal Malvolio by convincing him that Olivia is in love with him.

I will drop in his way some obscure epistles of love ... I can write very like my lady your niece (2:3)

Observe him, for the love of mockery, for I know this letter will make a contemplative idiot of him. (2:5)

So they drop this note, and Malvolio, already smitten and dreaming of his lady’s love (“To be Count Malvolio.” [2:5]) is swept up in the dream of it all. The letter says that Olivia loves to see him cross-gartered in yellow stockings and always smiling.

Jove, I thank thee! I will smile. I will do everything that thou wilt have me. (2:5)

Malvolio tries so desperately to impress her that she thinks he’s crazy and has him locked up for a madman!

Now let’s say hypothetically, that maybe someone who was of a lesser rank than you, Ms. Stewart, perceived some “epistles of love” in the way you smiled at him or her, and caressed his or her arm when you congratulated him or her on a well-written essay. And this innocent, hormone-laden gentleperson then expressed their harmless admiration of you in a cross-gartered essay (which he worked very hard on) then say he or she was oh, I don’t know… DORMED for two weekends by the Dean of Students, now that wouldn’t be right, would it?

I mean, if life is a romantic comedy, then some people are the Violas and everyone falls in love with them. And some people are the Orsino’s and they pine and then wind up happy because of dumb luck. And some people are the Sir Tobies who drink and make merry and find love in a lighthearted companion. But some of us are Malvolios and even though we long to fit in, we’re just a little different. A little weird. We take quiet hours in the dorm a little too seriously and we don’t have the money to fill our wardrobe with clothes from the Gap so we wear shirts and ties that our mom bought us at Wal-Mart. Some people come to Illyria on scholarship and are looking fool-heartedly for anyway to join the party in a permanent fashion.

So, I’m just saying, before one goes turning people in to the Dean for a little wishful and borderline inappropriate thinking, maybe one should consider that the play is called: Twelfth Night OR What You Will and in Shakespeare’s day, the word “will” meant “wish.” And every other character in the play gets what they wish for: Viola gets Orsino, Sebastian gets to find out that his sister is still alive, Olivia gets to marry someone who looks like Cesario… why should Malvolio not get his wishes fulfilled too?

Rejection hurts. Some sexy, gorgeous English teachers probably don’t ever have to experience that, but the Fool seems to understand it, when he sings to Orsino:

Fly away, fly away, breath,

I am slain by a fair cruel maid. (2:4)

I know Malvolio can't take a joke and declares his intention to get revenge on everyone in the sequel, Thirteenth Night, but some Malvolios are more rational and learn the hard lesson about un-reciprocated love from Olivia:

Love sought is good, but given unsought is better. (3:1)

No more soughting love for me. Besides, Dr. Wheeler told me I’d get suspended if I wrote another inappropriate reading response and that could screw my chances of getting into Yale.

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