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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: October ::
Re: Sir Toby
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2303  Monday, 8 October 2001

[1]     From:   Geralyn Horton <
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        Date:   Friday, 05 Oct 2001 12:14:25 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2295 Re: Sir Toby

[2]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Friday, 05 Oct 2001 12:38:35 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2295 Re: Sir Toby

[3]     From:   Don Bloom <
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        Date:   Friday, 05 Oct 2001 16:01:52 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2286 Re: Sir Toby

[4]     From:   John Ramsay <
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        Date:   Saturday, 06 Oct 2001 11:21:07 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2295 Re: Sir Toby


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Geralyn Horton <
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Date:           Friday, 05 Oct 2001 12:14:25 -0400
Subject: 12.2295 Re: Sir Toby
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2295 Re: Sir Toby

I've played Maria, so Sir Toby's "usage" was once for me a matter of
intense personal interest.

> On the question of the relationship between Maria and Sir Toby at the
> beginning of the play
> If they
> were having an affair, Sir Toby, at least, would be likely to use the
> more intimate 'thou', especially as he is of higher social status.

A gentleman reveal that he has been intimate with a respectable woman
who is neither his wife nor his betrothed?  This would be very bad
manners -- declaring Maria a strumpet openly, far beyond the hints and
jests that fly over the head of dull clean minded Sir Andrew.

> His
> change of attitude to her after she sets up the plot against Malvolio is
> signalled by an immediate change to 'thou':'Wilt thou set thy foot o' my
> neck'etc.

I take that as a declaration of his intent to make an honest woman of
her.

> Pronouns can tell you a lot!

I agree.  But what they tell is still an open question, I think.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Friday, 05 Oct 2001 12:38:35 -0400
Subject: 12.2295 Re: Sir Toby
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2295 Re: Sir Toby

> The marriages of the four main pairs of romantic characters come about
> in the end of LLL--but delayed for what seems to me the humor of forcing
> the four men to wait in chaste austerity--the way, ironically, they more
> or less started the play supposedly wanting to do.

I rather think that these marriages take place at the end of the lost
sequel -- Love's Labours Won

> > By the way, did Don Armado marry beneath himself?
>
> Hard to tell, but I think so, and so did Touchstone.

Don Armado, for all his having come upon hard times, was still a
knight.  Touchstone, for all his pretensions, was not a courtier but
only a fool.  It is hard to say that a fool marries beneath himself when
he marries a rustic clown.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Bloom <
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Date:           Friday, 05 Oct 2001 16:01:52 -0500
Subject: 12.2286 Re: Sir Toby
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2286 Re: Sir Toby

 Edmund Taft opines:

>Well, yes, but the point is that Sir Toby will not marry her -- at least
>not until she plays her trick on Malvolio. That his fall is the occasion
>of her rise seems undisputed. Maria is concerned about Sir Toby, but
>then again, Malvolio is just as concerned about Olivia. Or, if you want
>to say that he only SEEMS concerned to cover his own self-interest, the
>same can be said about Maria.  The parallelism is clear, it seems to me.
>Moreover, I've always wondered why people are so quick to condemn
>Malvolio's wish to better himself, when others (Sebastian and Viola, for
>example) are not so criticized.

Sometimes I wonder if we're reading the same play. I just don't find
most of this in the text. Where is there any indication that Sir Toby
"will not marry her," as if she had been angling for him for some time?
Where do we find his "fall"? Where is the parallel between what we see
of Malvolio (that is, the matchless 2, 5) and what we see of Maria?

As to the condemnation of Malvolio, I'm not sure which people condemn
him for wishing to "better himself." There are two major areas that
deserve and receive condemnation. He is a mean-spirited and vindictive
kill-joy. And he is a self-admiring fool.

If Olivia loved him (not to mention if he loved her, rather than her
title, wealth, and body), and if he weren't such a delightful
combination of rat, toady, and bozo, he could be quite sympathetic. As
it is . . .

Finally concerning Viola and Sebastian: both marry as a result of true
love; both of are of high rank, wealth and good education though
evidently not titled nobility. My impression is that this was (at least
thought to be) perfectly acceptable in Italy. WS uses the parallel case
of County Paris going out of his way to petition directly for Juliet.
Nobody seems to think this is a misalliance, and Capulet does not grovel
before Paris. On the contrary, he is confident enough to put off a
decision -- at least until the death of Tybalt changes his mind.

Don't wish to be mean-spirited and certainly not vindictive, but I just
don't find either that Maria or that Malvolio in the text.

Cheers,
don b

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Ramsay <
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Date:           Saturday, 06 Oct 2001 11:21:07 -0400
Subject: 12.2295 Re: Sir Toby
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2295 Re: Sir Toby

> LADY ASTOR (I think...) "I married beneath myself. All women do."
>
> Dana Shilling

Fortunately she didn't marry Winston Churchill.

Astor: If I were your wife I'd poison your coffee.
Churchill: If I were your husband I'd drink it.

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