The Love Letter Act 2 Scene 5



Act 2 scene 5 opens with the familiar faces of Sir Toby Belch and Sir Andrew, as well as a new character, Fabian. We learn that other people throughout the town endure the rath of Malvolio as well. Malvolio got Fabian in trouble with his wife for hosting bear- baiting events. As the scene progresses we learn about the plan that Maria had devised in Act 1. Maria's handwriting is strikingly similar to that of Olivia's. Maria used this talent to forge a false love letter addressed to Malvolio signed "the Fortunate Unhappy." Because of the resemblance to Olivia's hand, and little clues left in the letter, Malvolio thinks that Olivia loves him, which is exactly the goal of the plan. As Malvolio reads the letter aloud and fantasizes about what life would be like as Olivia's husband, Toby, Andrew, and Fabian watch and chuckle from their hiding place. Malvolio's ignorance leads him directly into the "trap" and makes him behave akin to a "turkeycock" (2.5.30).

This scene is vital for the upcoming events in the play. Malvolio follows the orders in the letter and wears yellow cross-guarded stockings, even though Olivia hates them, and is extremely rude to everyone, particularly Toby Belch. This leads Olivia to believe that Malvolio is insane and decides that he must be left in solitary confinement (Act 3, Scene 4). Act 2, Scene 5 serves as an integral part, moving the plot foward and putting Malvoio in his place. The entire scene funtions as the main point in the play. Although it is a smaller part it enhances the element of comedy in many occasions. In act 2 scene 5 the side conversations that Sir. Toby, Andrew, and Fabion share are part of this comedic element. Also, in Act 4 Scene 2 when Malvoio is in confinement, the fool makes jokes about the Catholic church saying, in regard to his disguise as a priest, "Well i'll put it on, and I will dissemble myself in 't, and I would I were the first that ever dissembled in such a gown," (2.5.4-7), somewhat saying priests are liars. Without the actions in this scene, comedic points in future scenes would be impossible. This scene resolves plans in previous scenes, establishes comedy, leads to further plot development, and is necessary for the play as a whole.

Because, this scene is responsible for furthering the plot, enhancing character development, and providing a significant portion of what makes "Twelfth Night" an elizabethan comedy, it was important to be judicious with what was cut from the scene. On an overall scale, information consequential to the rest of the play was left in, as well as a majority of the jokes that exemplifies Shakespeare's comedic ability. The general cuts that were made were: lines that were repeated, perviously stated ideas, or lines that did not contribute to the plot or comedy of "Twelfth Night."

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"The trout must be caught with tickling" (2.5.21).

Lines 1-21 ...The Plan...

In lines 1 through 21, the reader must come away with an introduction to Fabian as well as why he hates Malvolio. For this reason, Fabian's quote on lines 6-7, "You know he brought me out o' favor with my lady about a bearbaiting here," must be left in. With this being said, it is not necessary to include Toby's and Fabian's comments on wanting to embarress Malvolio; the reader has enough information to know this already. This section is also responsible for informing the reader that Malvolio is approaching and the other characters must hide while Maria drops the letter. Maria's line, "Get you all three into the boxtree" (2.5.14), is unnecessary because she later tells them to hide when she says, "lie than there" (12.5.9-20). The cuts in this section took out repetitive ideas.

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"Contemplation makes a rare turkeycock out of him" (2.5.29-30).

Lines 22-42 ...The Laughing Stock...

Lines 22 through 42 introduce Malvolio's ideas of wooing Olivia, as well as Toby, Andrew, and Fabian spying on him and mocking him. It is important that the reader understands both these events are occuring; therefore, Malvolio's idea that "should [my lady] fancy, it should be one of my complexion" (2.5.24-25) remains. He continues on, however, to give superfluous examples that, in his mind, justify this idea. Some of these examples are removed. Also left in are lines exemplifying Andrew's anger at Malvolio, such as, "Pistol him, pistol him" (2.5.36) and Fabian attempting to quiet him down so they do not give away their location. Because this back and forth repeats continuously throughout the scene, one person always continuing the same pattern of mocking Malvolio followed by another of the three quieting him, a number of these asides are removed. They become repetitive, and the reader understands, from this section and future sections, the effect of the asides even with less of them. For example, Toby does not need to exclaim, "Peace, peace!" (2.5.37) when Fabian says, "Oh Peace" (2.5.41) only four lines later.



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"You must amend your drunkenness" (2.5.73).


Lines 43-82 ...The Dreamer...

Lines 43 through 82 serve to show Malvolio's imagination about being a count, as well as to provide comedy from the onlookers. Because of this, it is necessary to maintain lines that show Malvolio bossing Toby around. He imagines that his "fortunes, having cast [him] on [Toby's] neice, give [him] the perogative of speech" (2.5.69-71), and uses that perogative to tell him to stop wasting "the treasure of [his] time with a foolish knight"(2.5.77-78). This line sets up a joke for Andrew. From hiding he says, "That's me, I warrant you [...] for many do call me a fool" (2.5.79-82). Jokes like these, where Andrew embarrases himself or the three men make fun of Malvolio, are important aspects for characterizing Shakespeare's comedy. Lines in this section that were removed as in the previous sections, were repetitive asides that all accomplished the same tasks of mocking Malvolio or quieting each other. In a few places, Malvolio's description of his counthood is removed, for it is more superfluous information.




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"'M' - Malvolio. 'M' -why, that begins my name!" (2.5.129-130).

Lines 83-146 ...The 'Rationale'...

In lines 83 through 146, Malvolio finds "Olivia's" letter, assumes that it is hers, begins to read it, and comes up with round-a-bout logic as to why it is refering to himself. Fabian, Toby, and Andrew continue to mock him from hiding. It is important to keep in some of Malvolio's rationale about why his lady wrote it and why he is the subject, such as" the impressure Lucrece, with which she uses to seal-"tis my lady!" (2.5.95-96) And where the letter says, "M.A.O.I." he believes it refers to him because "'M'- Malvolio. 'M'- why, that begins my name!" (2.5.129-130). He continues to rationalize throughtout the whole section; however, so some of it becomes unnecessary. An example includes lines 89-90 when he exclaims, "These be her very C's her U's, and her T's." Because this line is removed, Andrew;s next aside, "Her C's, her U's and her T's. Why that?" (2.5.92) needs to also be removed or it would not make sense in context. The portions of the letter that are read in this section all remain so the reader can understand the joke being played on Malvolio, and the references Malvolio makes to the letter.





Lines 147-183 ...The Letter...

In lines 147 through 183, Malvolio continues to read "Olivia's" letter and then expresses his jubilant thoughts about it. Most of this section is left intact for the simple reason that it is very consequential to the remainder of the plot. As previously discussed, the actions this letter provoke Malvolio to take prompt Olivia to think him insane and lock him up. The few lines removed from the letter are ones that do not directly influence Malvolio's actions, such as "thy fates open their hands. Let thy blood and spirit embrace them" (2.5.150-151). This line is more fancy language than any real direction from the letter. The majority of his response remains as well, because it shows the reader that he will do all that is dictated in the letter. For example, he "will smile. [He] will do everything that [Olivia] wilt have [him]" (2.5.182-183).
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"I do not fool myself ... for every reason excites me to this, that my lady loves me" (2.5.167-169).



Lines 184-212 ...The End...

Lines 184 to 211 conclude the scene. The scene comes to a close with Fabian, Toby, and Andrew discussing how much they enjoyed this joke played on Malvolio, as well as Maria approaching and telling the group about what a fool Malvolio will prove to be in front of Olivia. Toby and Andrew both confess that they could marry Maria for the wonderful joke she concocted. The main aspect of this section that was removed was Andrew's repetition of Toby confessing that he would marry Maria. Andrew echoes almost everything he says by saying "So could I, too" (2.5.187) or "I'll make one, too" (2.5.212). Although amusing, this characterization of Andrew as a goof comes up throughout the scene and the play and is not consequential to this portion of "Twelfth Night." It was important to leave Toby's lines, however, because he will later marry Maria, meaning this confession is necesssary for the remainder of the plot. Most of Maria's lines are left as well so the reader will see how the joke will continue to play out in the future. She tells the others that Malvolio "will come to [Olivia] in yellow stockings, and 'tis a color she abhors" (2.5.202-204). Although a significant portion of lines were removed, the reader can still enjoy the jokes within the scene as well as receive pivitol information for the rest of the play. Character development still continues, and the indescribable element that makes "Twelfth Night" uniquely Shakespeare can still be found within the scene.