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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: October ::
Re: Sir Toby
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2312  Wednesday, 10 October 2001

[1]     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Monday, 08 Oct 2001 13:38:16 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2303 Re: Sir Toby

[2]     From:   Edmund Taft <
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        Date:   Monday, 08 Oct 2001 14:51:03 -0400
        Subj:   Sir Toby

[3]     From:   Bob Grumman <
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        Date:   Monday, 08 Oct 2001 16:13:49 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2303 Re: Sir Toby

[4]     From:   Penny Freedman <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 09 Oct 2001 10:46:11 +0100 (BST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2303 Re: Sir Toby

[5]     From:   Brian Willis <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 9 Oct 2001 10:36:55 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2303 Re: Sir Toby

[6]     From:   Sophie Masson <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Oct 2001 07:45:59 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2303 Re: Sir Toby


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Monday, 08 Oct 2001 13:38:16 -0400
Subject: 12.2303 Re: Sir Toby
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2303 Re: Sir Toby

Don Bloom writes:

>Finally concerning Viola and Sebastian: both marry as a result of true
>love;

Viola may be motivated by true love (if literary characters can be said
to truly love), but does Sebastian truly love Olivia?  He hardly knows
her, and she most assuredly does not know him.  Olivia thinks that she's
marrying Cesario.  And, of course, until the last scene, Orsino thinks
that Cesario is really a boy, a full eunuch perhaps.  So if he loves
Viola at play's end, his love is partially "man love."

Yours, Bill Godshalk

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edmund Taft <
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Date:           Monday, 08 Oct 2001 14:51:03 -0400
Subject:        Sir Toby

Don Bloom seems to have a hard time following my argument: it's not "in
the text," he writes. Don, no one's argument is in the text: it's in the
inferences one makes from the text, and obviously yours are not the same
as mine -- but that's nothing new.

What is new is your assertion that my argument is false if there is no
parallel between Malvolio in 2.5 and Maria elsewhere. Well, you are
right, but pointing to a parallel that does NOT exist hardly invalidates
parallels that DO exist. You should read 1.3 and 1.5 again: in both,
Maria tries to curb the excesses of Sir Toby and Feste, respectively.
She is the Malvolio figure trying to tone it down a bit before Malvolio
himself gets involved. Thus, the parallelism is established between both
characters, not by scenes you demand but by scenes Shakespeare actually
supplies.

In truth, Maria conjures up her device for two reasons: to get back at
Malvolio, who has belittled her, and to win Sir Toby's affections. She
adores Sir Toby (see 2.3.178ff), and this is her chance to teach
Malvolio a lesson AND get the man of her dreams.

Don writes:

If Olivia loved [Malvolio] (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

Don is partially wrong on both counts. First, Malvolio does become a
sympathetic character during the dark house scene. Sensitive readers
realize that the joke has gone too far, and Malvolio's insistence that
he is a gentleman takes on new meaning. Second, Sebastian does not marry
out of true love, but because he knows a good thing when he sees it. He
doesn't know Olivia at all, Don! He can't possibly love her, but, given
her money, position, good looks, etc., he will learn to love her (and
who wouldn't?).

I don't find your comments mean-spirited or vindictive, Don, but I do
find them narrow, doctrinaire, and wedded to outdated views of _TN_.

Cheers,
--Ed

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bob Grumman <
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Date:           Monday, 08 Oct 2001 16:13:49 -0400
Subject: 12.2303 Re: Sir Toby
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2303 Re: Sir Toby

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

Well, I don't think there was a true sequel.  It'd be in the First Folio
if there were.  I think Meres's Loves Labours Won was The Taming of the
Shrew.  In any case, I'm considering this one play.  Actually, the four
marriages at the end of a sequel would make my point, that LLL ended
with four marriages, except that they were postponed marriages.  So it
was a romantic comedy almost as much as end other romantic comedy in
which the principals vow to marry but the marriage is to come after the
events of the play.

> > > 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.

Not if you believe there are many ways to marry beneath
oneself--including from city down to country.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Penny Freedman <
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Date:           Tuesday, 09 Oct 2001 10:46:11 +0100 (BST)
Subject: 12.2303 Re: Sir Toby
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2303 Re: Sir Toby

I agree with Geralyn Horton that Sir Toby might not use 'thou' to Maria
in front of Olivia, for example, but when we first see him with Maria,
at the beginning of 1.3, they are alone together. My point is simply
that if Shakespeare had wanted to suggest an intimate relationship
between them, 'thou' was an indicator he could have used. Since Sir Toby
calls her 'wench', which would usually collocate with 'thou', the choice
of 'you' seems rather deliberate.

Penny Freedman

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Willis <
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Date:           Tuesday, 9 Oct 2001 10:36:55 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 12.2303 Re: Sir Toby
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2303 Re: Sir Toby

Don Bloom writes:

> 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?

Feste touches upon this in I.v. 24-6 : "If Sir Toby would leave drinking
thou wert as witty a piece of Eve's flesh as any in Illyria". The
ambiguous implication is that if Toby would just sober himself (in more
ways than one), he would realize the extent of Maria's qualities. She,
like Andrew, follows him like a spaniel dog and and is chastised by
Malvolio for standing by her man (II. iii.) Moreover, I've always felt
that Sir Toby is revealing something in the box tree scene when he says,
"I could marry this wench for this device" (II. v. 175). I think that
these lines, along with others and the imaginations of its readers and
audience, have led people to believe that their unexpected marriage at
the end is threaded throughout the play, from Maria's first scene
through the comedic subplot and announced in V. i. as another loose end
that is tied up.

Two-time Feste,
Brian Willis

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sophie Masson <
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Date:           Wednesday, 10 Oct 2001 07:45:59 +1000
Subject: 12.2303 Re: Sir Toby
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2303 Re: Sir Toby

A side issue--but is Sir Andrew really 'dull and clean-minded'? Dull,
yes, but not necessarily the other. Just dumb. And dumber.

Sophie Masson
Author site: http://www.northnet.com.au/~smasson

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