The steward in charge of the servants at Olivia's house. A stuck-up killjoy, Malvolio annoys the other members of the household by constantly condescending to and scolding them. In revenge, Maria, Sir Toby, and others play a prank on Malvolio that adds comic relief to Twelfth Night, but also reveals Malvolio's ambition, arrogance, and self-love. The play provides a happy ending for all of the characters except Malvolio, reminding the audience that not all love is fulfilled.
Malvolio Quotes in Twelfth Night
The Twelfth Night quotes below are all either spoken by Malvolio or refer to Malvolio. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of Twelfth Night published in 2004.
Act 1, scene 5
He is very well-favored and he speaks very shrewishly; one would think his mother's milk were scarce out of him.
Related Characters:Malvolio (speaker), Viola (Cesario)
Page Number and Citation:
Explanation and Analysis:
Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Twelfth Night quote.
The timeline below shows where the character Malvolio appears in Twelfth Night. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, scene 5
Olivia enters, wearing mourning clothes and attended by her steward, Malvolio. Olivia first instructs her attendants to send Feste away, but he teases her into better...
Malvolio returns and informs Olivia that the young man outside will not leave. Olivia asks what...
...thy face, thy limbs" (1.5.269) —and describes them as a "blazon." Thinking fast, Olivia summons Malvolio and gives him a ring, which, she lies, Cesario left behind on Orsino's behalf. She...
Act 2, scene 2
Malvolio catches up with Cesario. He gives Cesario the ring from Olivia and explains that Olivia...
Act 2, scene 3
...when Maria shows up. Maria warns them that if they aren't quiet, Olivia will have Malvolio throw them out of the house. Sir Toby responds that he is Olivia's relative and...
Malvolio enters and berates the group for treating his "lady's house" like an "ale-house" (2.3.83-4). Sir...
Maria then says she has a great idea for a prank on Malvolio. She boasts that she can imitate Olivia's handwriting perfectly, and will drop in Malvolio's way...
Act 2, scene 5
Malvolio enters, talking to himself. As it happens, he already believes that Olivia fancies him. Hiding...
...thinking up this prank. Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and Maria then rush off to watch Malvolio make a fool of himself.
Act 3, scene 2
Maria arrives, and tells Sir Toby and Fabian that Malvolio is doing everything instructed in Maria's letter, and making himself entirely ridiculous in the process....
Act 3, scene 4
...woo Cesario, who has agreed to come back yet again. She asks Maria to bring Malvolio to advise her, as his melancholy mood will better match her own. Maria replies that...
Malvolio enters wearing yellow cross-gartered stockings, smiling idiotically. Olivia scolds him for this behavior. However, he...
Maria enters with Sir Toby and Fabian. All three pretend to be worried about Malvolio. Maria implies to Malvolio that he is acting crazily and reminds him that Olivia wanted...
Act 4, scene 2
Back at Olivia's house, Maria and Toby have locked Malvolio in a dark chamber to cure his "madness." Outside the chamber, Maria instructs Feste to...
"Sir Topas" goes to the door of Malvolio's cell. Malvolio tries desperately to enlist him as an ally; Sir Topas parries his every...
Sir Toby, amused, mocks Malvolio's desperate cries. But he confides in Maria that they must find a way out of...
Back in his clown personality, Feste returns to Malvolio's cell. Malvolio begs Feste to bring him a candle, pen, ink, and paper, so that...
Act 5, scene 1
...detail—which reminds her that, distracted by her own "frenzy," (5.1.273), she has completely forgotten about Malvolio. At this moment, Feste enters, holding Malvolio's letter. The letter warns Olivia that Malvolio will...
Malvolio enters with Fabian. Fuming, he presents Olivia with Maria's trick letter. After a quick examination,...
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Weigel, Moira. "Twelfth Night Characters: Malvolio." LitCharts. LitCharts LLC, 22 Jul 2013. Web. 22 Mar 2018.
Weigel, Moira. "Twelfth Night Characters: Malvolio." LitCharts LLC, July 22, 2013. Retrieved March 22, 2018. http://www.litcharts.com/lit/twelfth-night/characters/malvolio.