Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: September ::
Re: Malvolio's "madness"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0861  Friday, 18 September 1998.

[1]     From:   Ed Taft <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 17 Sep 1998 10:38:35 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: Malvolio SHK 9.0848

[2]     From:   Roy Flannagan <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 17 Sep 1998 11:23:13 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0856  Re: Malvolio's "madness"

[3]     From:   Richard Bovard <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 17 Sep 1998 11:17:13 -0500
        Subj:   Malvolio's madness


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Taft <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 17 Sep 1998 10:38:35 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: SHK 9.0848
Comment:        Re: Malvolio SHK 9.0848

Louis Swilley's observation that there are loose ends at the conclusion
of *Twelfth Night* is certainly correct. Maybe Malvolio will be
entreated to a peace, but it is more likely that he will take out his
frustrations on the wholly innocent captain, who is in jail, and whom
Shakespeare takes pains to establish (in 1.2) as a good guy. Antonio is
certainly left out of the happy ending too and it looks like he will be
forever the victim of unrequited love.  Olivia is none too happy with
the antics of Sir Toby and Feste, and Maria's plot to social climb looks
like it will unravel, etc., etc.

In this sense, the ending of *TN* resembles that of *MV,* where Shylock
and Antonio (possibly) seem like outcasts at the end. Why would
Shake-speare do this?  One classic answer (by Anne Barton) is that
Shakespeare recognized the limits of comedy as a genre. A happy marraige
or two doesn't solve all the world's woes. Another possible answer might
be that Shake-speare does not yet believe "there's place and means for
every man alive." That is, he still thinks that some people must be left
out of the social order for it to function effectively.  I think he
changes his mind about that in *All's Well,* which follows almost
immediately after *TN.*

The funny thing, for me anyway, is that in production I hardly notice
the problems at the end of *TN.* But when I read the play, they jump out
at me and just about spoil the ending.

Ed Taft

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Roy Flannagan <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 17 Sep 1998 11:23:13 -0400
Subject: 9.0856  Re: Malvolio's "madness"
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0856  Re: Malvolio's "madness"

I should correct myself: Malvolio is called mad, and imprisoned, but he
denies he is mad, much as the old man in Monty Python and the Holy Grail
(plague scene) keeps saying "But I'm not dead yet."  He is certainly mad
(angry) at his departure, unrepentantly vowing revenge in his last
words.

Roy Flannagan

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Bovard <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 17 Sep 1998 11:17:13 -0500
Subject:        Malvolio's madness

Malvolio is sick of self-love, as I recall.  As others have mentioned,
this may simply be a matter of pride, narcissistic delusion.  However,
other characters in   the play suffer from the same malady (Orsino, for
example).

And since Malvolio threatens revenge at the end of the play, he is
obviously not cured of self-centeredness (i.e., wounded pride).  But,
then, such a cure may not be available to others either.  After all,
Orsino embraces Viola as his fancy's queen.
 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.