Certainly Malvolio has many of the characteristics of the Puritans, those representatives of the rising middle-class who were so hateful to aristocratic merrymakers like Sir Toby and Sir Andrew, so looked-down-upon by true aristocrats like Olivia, and so disliked by carefree artists like Feste, or even Shakespeare himself. But despite his priggishness and his self-righteous complaints about Sir Toby’s boisterous behavior, Malvolio is not purely a Puritan at all. As Maria, again, notes, he’s basically an “affection’d [affected] ass” – and Olivia, too, sees that he is “sick of [with] self-love.” This egotistical self-love, as well as his vain ambition, makes him very willing to cast off his severe, Puritannical ways at the slightest hint that more raucous behavior might give him a good chance to become Olivia’s lover. Even before he receives the “anonymous” letter Maria plants, Malvolio is deep in luxuriously un-Puritanical daydreams of being married to his mistress; after he finds the letter, of course, he goes off the deep end entirely, crazily cross-gartering his legs, smiling and kissing his hand at the astonished Olivia, in the “mad” belief that he might be a suitable suitor for her. Indeed, in this sense Malvolio’s “madness” is no joke-for such extravagant egotism, even more than his earlier, Puritanical pomposity, is truly a form of madness.
We learn little about Fabian in Twelfth Night, beyond the fact that he’s a quick-witted, good-natured servant, as fond as Toby and Maria of a good joke but rather more restrained in his pursuit of such pleasures. He’s introduced into the action rather late, and for the most part he comments on the plots which others have set in motion, rather than directly participating. He does try to quiet Toby’s and Andrew’s out-of-bounds behavior in the garden scene, however, and he obviously enjoys tormenting poor “Cesario” in the duel scene. In the end, he bravely and responsibly takes much of the blame for the Malvolio plot onto himself-yet we can be sure that Olivia, knowing Toby’s tendencies as a plotter, will not blame the basically innocent Fabian too harshly at all.
All we know of the Sea Captain who rescued Viola is that he was kind and friendly, introducing the girl as a page to Orsino, and keeping both her secret and her clothes for the length of her stay at court as “Cesario.” As for Orsino’s gentlemen, Curio and Valentine, they are the usual courtly servants, elegant, polite and ever anxious for their ruler’s best advantage in the world, as well as for the slightest marks of personal favor from him to themselves.