Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare | Act 2, Scene 5 | Summary and Q&A

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September 27, 2019
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Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare | Act 2, Scene 5

TL;DR

A group of characters plot to humiliate a pompous steward named Malvolio in Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night.

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Key Insights

  • πŸ˜’ Act 2, Scene 5 in Twelfth Night showcases Shakespeare's use of characters eavesdropping on others.
  • ✊ Malvolio's daydreams reveal his desire for power and control, as he imagines himself as a count married to Olivia.
  • πŸ˜€ The letter's request for Malvolio to dress in yellow stockings and smile serves as a means of humiliation, highlighting his lack of self-awareness.
  • ✌️ The repetition of the word "peace" emphasizes the need for secrecy while the characters observe Malvolio.
  • 😡 The choice of cross-gartered stockings may have been outdated or fashionable for young men in Shakespeare's time.
  • πŸ’Œ Malvolio's adherence to the letter's instructions shows his eagerness to make it about himself.
  • 🌱 Maria's plan to embarrass Malvolio is meant to be mischievous, rather than causing serious harm.

Transcript

in act 2 scene 5 of Twelfth Night sir Toby Maria and Sir Andrew are all ready to play their trick on Malvolio they have also invited Fabian one of Olivia's servants who has reasons to resent Malvolio to get in on the plot they dropped the letter in the garden where Malvolio will most probably see it and they hide to observe him Malvolio soon enters... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How do the characters plan to humiliate Malvolio?

Sir Toby, Maria, and Sir Andrew drop a letter for Malvolio to find, instructing him to dress in yellow stockings and cross-gartered, and to smile in the presence of Olivia.

Q: What does Malvolio think of the letter?

Malvolio immediately believes the letter is from Olivia and interprets it to be about himself, eagerly embracing the fantasy of being married to her and exerting control over others.

Q: What is the significance of the repeated word "peace"?

The constant repetition of "peace" reflects the song sung by the characters in a previous scene, which caused trouble with Malvolio. The word serves as a reminder for them to be quiet while eavesdropping.

Q: Why does Maria ask Malvolio to dress in bright yellow stockings and cross-gartered?

Maria wants to embarrass Malvolio, but not cause any permanent damage. By asking him to dress inappropriately, she aims to make Olivia laugh at him and hurt his pride.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Sir Toby, Maria, and Sir Andrew plan to play a trick on Malvolio by dropping a letter for him to find.

  • Malvolio enters the garden, daydreaming about being married to Olivia and controlling those around him.

  • The letter instructs Malvolio to dress in inappropriate clothing and smile, setting him up for humiliation.

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