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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: October ::
Re: Sir Toby et al.
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2369  Wednesday, 17 October 2001

[1]     From:   Dana Shilling <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Oct 2001 11:31:40 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2356 Re: Sir Toby et al.

[2]     From:   Michael Friedman <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Oct 2001 17:05:55 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2356 Re: Sir Toby et al.

[3]     From:   Paul E. Doniger <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Oct 2001 23:14:30 -0400
        Subj:   Re: Sir Toby et al.

[4]     From:   Graham Hall <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Oct 2001 07:57:09 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2356 Labour of Love


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dana Shilling <
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Date:           Tuesday, 16 Oct 2001 11:31:40 -0400
Subject: 12.2356 Re: Sir Toby et al.
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2356 Re: Sir Toby et al.

Don said:

> The question was whether we could take seriously the idea of Sebastian
> falling in love with a beautiful and well-born young woman who is
> clearly already in love with him. I merely wanted to point out that (a)
> we have been placed in an exotic locale that necessarily gives the whole
> play an aura of the magical; (b) people seem to fall in love quite
> suddenly at times even without that.

Then again, although Sebastian and Viola are well born and have some
money (Viola still has gold for "bounteous" payments even after the
shipwreck) Sebastian has seen Olivia's household and estate--they're
clearly worth marrying her for. Consider that Bassanio was willing to
have his protegeur borrow a ruinous amount of money just so Bassanio
could enter the "Marry the Lady Richly Left" sweepstakes with no
security of winning.  Sebastian can marry a wealthy woman with no effort
at all.

Dana Shilling

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Friedman <
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Date:           Tuesday, 16 Oct 2001 17:05:55 -0400
Subject: 12.2356 Re: Sir Toby et al.
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2356 Re: Sir Toby et al.

This is going to sound like a very naive question, but where does
Sebastian ever say that he's in love with Olivia?  I'm directing a
production of the play right now, and I can't recall any such
admission.  Even when he agrees to a betrothal ceremony, he merely says
that he will swear to be true to her.  Are we making the assumption that
because he agrees to marry her, he must love her?  I would have to
respond that there are a whole lot of reasons why people get married in
Shakespeare plays, and love isn't the only one.

Michael D. Friedman
University of Scranton

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[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul E. Doniger <
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Date:           Tuesday, 16 Oct 2001 23:14:30 -0400
Subject:        Re: Sir Toby et al.

Sir Toby's "parting shot at Sir Andrew" is not so cut and dried. First
of all, the First Folio has no punctuation between "helpe" and "an
Asse-head." The suggestion (though it may be very tenuous) is that Toby
is referring to himself as the ass-head ("Will you [Andrew] help an
ass-head [me]?").  Another look at the line could suggest that Toby is
expressing a sense of comeraderie as a member of "We three" from 2.3:
"An ass-head" = Sir Toby; "A coxcomb" = Feste; and "A knave: a
thin-faced knave, a gull" = Andrew. The wheel may be coming full circle,
and Toby has returned to himself and his friends after taking his
jest/revenge too far.

I find it difficult, personally, to accept an unrepentant Toby, at any
rate, and the often harsh treatment of Andrew that most interpretations
play seems out of keeping with the spirit of the play -- it is, after
all, a play about love. It seems only natural for Toby to reconcile
himself to his friendships with the foolish knight and the wise fool.

Paul E. Doniger

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Graham Hall <
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Date:           Wednesday, 17 Oct 2001 07:57:09 +0000
Subject: 12.2356 Labour of Love
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2356 Labour of Love

Don Bloom writes:

[...]The question was whether we could take seriously the idea of
Sebastian falling in love with a beautiful and well-born young woman who
is clearly already in love with him. [...]

A smitten one replies:

We could always suspend disbelief, I suppose.(a la dramatic convention
No1)

Moreover, as the Rolling Stones are wont to croon, "Love Comes at the
Speed of Light" (a la dramatic convention No2)

I was adored once, too y' know. (Altogether.....ah!) Enough, no more etc

Best wishes, Graham Hall

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