William Shakespeare – Twelfth Night (ctd.)

Sir Toby, Maria and Fabian continue to pretend that they believe Malvolio to be possessed and advise him to pray. When he responds angrily, they interpret it as one more sign of Malvolio’s possession. Malvolio stomps off and the gang laugh their heads off, hoping to have Malvolio eventually officially committed. Nasty as Malvolio is, it seems rather cruel to me. But now another object of their sport, Sir Andrew Aguecheek enters with his letter of challenge to Cesario. He reads it out and it is very poorly worded, every sentence containing some error of phrasing which makes it mean something completely different from what Andrew means. He gives the letter to Sir Toby, and he advises Andrew to confront Cesario, who is right now with Olivia, in person. When Andrew is gone, he admits he does not intend to give his letter to Cesario, since the boy is smart and on reading Andrew’s letter he would immediately realize what a fool he is. Instead his plan is something along the lines of M.A.D. – he is going to tell Cesario what a dreadful opponent Andrew is and do the vice versa for Andrew, so both will be scared enough of each other never to attack. The gang leaves and they are replaced by Olivia and Cesario treading the same old ground: Olivia deploring the fact that she throws herself on this boy, but not being able to help it, Cesario pointing out that Orsino feels the same about Olivia as Olivia feels about him. Olivia asks Cesario to accept a jewel, probably a locket with her portrait.

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