Twelfth Night Act 2, Scene 5
Toby and Andrew enter with Fabian, a member of Olivia's household. Fabian says he wouldn't miss the joke on Malvolio for the world: Malvolio, a pious Puritan, got Fabian into trouble with Olivia over bear-baiting. Maria comes in, and tells them to hide because Malvolio is coming down the path. Malvolio comes in, thinking about whether Olivia might not love him: she treats him differently from the rest of the servants, after all. He considers that other noblewomen have married servants like himself, and thinks about what it would be like to be her husband. Listening to this, Andrew, Fabian and Toby are so amazed and hysterical that they can hardly keep quiet. Malvolio imagines how wonderful it would be to treat Sir Toby as below him, instructing him to stop drinking, and Toby almost jumps out of hiding to attack him. Malvolio imagines himself able to forbid Toby from seeing Andrew anymore. Malvolio then sees the letter Maria has dropped there for him to find, and picks it up. The hidden men watch expectantly, and Fabian whispers, "Now is the woodcock near the gin" Act 2, Scene 5, line 84 Malvolio sees that the letter is written in handwriting similar to Olivia's, and he assumes the letter is from her. Amazed, he reads the beginning: "Jove knows I love; but who? Lips, do not move, No man must know." Act 2, Scene 5, line 98 Malvolio reads that the writer loves someone called "M.O.A.I," and to the delight of his hidden observers, begins to puzzle out what those letters might mean. He reasons that "M" is the first letter of his name, and the other letters, though out of order, are also in his name. Toby and his friends can hardly contain their laughter. The letter tells Malvolio to act better than those around him, and treat them rudely. He should also, it says, wear yellow stockings in the cross-gartered style. Overjoyed, Malvolio reads the end of the letter, which tells him to smile constantly. Malvolio runs off to change his stockings, and Sir Toby emerges with his friends, saying, "I could marry this wench [Maria] for this device." Act 2, Scene 5, line 182 Maria comes in, eager to know whether the trick worked. They tell her it went off perfectly, and she explains that Olivia hates yellow stockings, and since she is so depressed, she hates people who smile a lot. Malvolio will try to make her like him, and his actions will only make her dislike him.