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MonkeyNotes-Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
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Act III, Scene 2

Sir Toby prepares a plan involving Sir Andrew and Viola even though Sir Andrew threatens to leave as he feels that Olivia shows greater consideration for Viola/Cesario than for him. Sir Toby states that she is doing this to arouse Sir Andrew's jealousy. The only way to regain Olivia's attention is to show some courage and challenge Viola. Sir Andrew leaves to write a letter, challenging Viola to a duel. Sir Toby knows that Viola will not be impressed by Sir Andrew's letter, and decides to challenge Viola personally on behalf of Sir Andrew. He and Fabian joke about watching the reactions of Sir Andrew and the Viola to the idea of a duel. Both of them are too weak in spirit to make a serious attempt at it. Just then, Maria enters to tell them that Malvolio has followed the instructions of the letter and is looking peculiair, "You have not seen such a thing as ‘tis."


Notes

Shakespeare introduces a new subplot in this scene. As with the first, Sir Toby is the main character involved and shows his clever scheming at the expense of people’s feelings. Rather than expose the truth, that Olivia has no interest in the foolish Sir Andrew and never will, Toby plans a new way for Andrew to win over Olivia . This time it will be in the form of a duel. Sir Andrew who is vain and cowardly to the core falls for Sir Toby's plan. The shrewd and pleasure-loving Sir Toby wants to enjoy watching Sir Andrew make a fool of himself. In fact, he creates his own entertainment through his machinations while cleverly finding ways to keep his liquor cabinet full. Like Malvolio, Sir Andrew is so full of himself that he does not pause for a second to wonder why someone as smart and savvy as Olivia would be interested in him. Malvolio is willing to make a fool out of himself in order to gain the love that he thinks he deserves. Again the theme of self-adoration comes into play here as the audience is exposed to two men who are duped by their own delusions.

This subplot is linked to the main plot as Antonio, mistaking Viola for Sebastian, tries to help her and the duel ends with an attack on Sebastian. Thus this secondary sub plot is directly involved in the resolution of the conflict in the main plot. The scene ends with the reader anticipating the changes in Malvolio's attire and behavior.

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