Act 4, Scene 2 Notes from Twelfth Night

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Twelfth Night Act 4, Scene 2

Maria is dressing up the clown as a wise holy man called Sir Topas. Sir Toby comes in and agrees that the clown does a good impression of such a man. The clown goes to the imprisoned Malvolio, who implores him to go to Olivia and tell her he is not insane. He begs to be let out of his dark prison. The clown tells him that the cell he is locked in is not dark, then proceeds to speak in nonsensical gibberish. Malvolio says that Sir Topas can ask him any question--he will answer it rationally and prove he is not insane. Sir Topas acts like a madman himself in order to confuse and frustrate Malvolio. When the clown rejoins Maria and Toby outside, Toby says that he wants to end the joke now, because Olivia is already very angry with him and he doesn't want to upset her more. Toby and Maria leave the clown with Malvolio, who hears the clown singing and calls to him. He asks him for paper and pen. The clown asks Malvolio how he became insane, and Malvolio cries that he is completely sane: "I am as well in my wits, fool as thou art." Act 4, Scene 2, line 91 He says that the courtiers have locked him up and are trying to drive him insane. The clown, hidden from Malvolio, speaks as Sir Topas, and forbids the clown to speak to Malvolio. The clown then reverts to his own voice, saying that even though he was forbidden to speak to him by Sir Topas, he will get a pen and paper for him. The clown goes off singing teasingly.

Topic Tracking: Disguise 10

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