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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: September ::
Re: Her C's . . .
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1850  Friday, 6 September 2002

[1]     From:   Ted Dykstra <
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        Date:   Thursday, 5 Sep 2002 13:27:17 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1839 Re: Her C's . . .

[2]     From:   D Bloom <
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        Date:   Thursday, 5 Sep 2002 14:10:22 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1839 Re: Her C's . . .

[3]     From:   Anna Kamaralli <
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        Date:   Friday, 06 Sep 2002 12:22:32 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1839 Re: Her C's . . .


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ted Dykstra <
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Date:           Thursday, 5 Sep 2002 13:27:17 EDT
Subject: 13.1839 Re: Her C's . . .
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1839 Re: Her C's . . .

Actually, Malvolio is only believable onstage when he is completely
loves Olivia with all his heart. He is EXTREMELY ambitious - witness his
ludicrous fantasies of power. But his love is greater than his ambition,
and I think this makes his story very moving, ultimately. If one does
not feel just a little sorrow for him as he exits for the last time, the
actor has not done his job.

Ted Dykstra

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           D Bloom <
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Date:           Thursday, 5 Sep 2002 14:10:22 -0500
Subject: 13.1839 Re: Her C's . . .
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1839 Re: Her C's . . .

Regards to Michael Shurgot and *his* courteous repose (and apologies for
dragging this out through one more letter).

I don't, however, think he's being fair to Olivia. Yes, she is being
excessive in at least proposing to mourn seven years for her dead
brother. But she hasn't been going that long yet, and neither the
impetuous lover nor the drunken roisterer should be trusted to give wise
judgments on how much is too much.

As to Feste's word-game, while it exposes a certain inconsistency in
Olivia's thought, it hardly proves her stupid or even very foolish.
Devout Christians, even when certain that the dear departed is in bliss,
mourn because they are really mourning for themselves, for their loss.
Something valuable has been taken out of their lives, and they revert to
the response of the child that has lost or broken a favorite toy.

And God help those that don't. There may be a few highly developed
spiritual types that don't mourn the deaths of others, but the vast
majority of those like that will be psychopathic types.

To me Fest proves nothing except that Olivia is completely human. The
consolation of Christian hope is not enough -- at least at this stage --
to overcome her personal loss. A fault, perhaps, but a very normal one.

Cheers,
don

p.s. Has anyone commented on the fact that Olivia is guilty of the same
"fault" as Hamlet??

p.p.s.: Is there anything besides the mere fact of it to explain why she
mourns so intensely for her brother rather than her father? The normal
case would be the opposite.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Anna Kamaralli <
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Date:           Friday, 06 Sep 2002 12:22:32 +1000
Subject: 13.1839 Re: Her C's . . .
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1839 Re: Her C's . . .

  Michael Shurgot wrote:

>As for Olivia's being stupid, we have Feste's logical proof that she is
>a fool for pining for her brother's soul, which Feste gets her to argue
>is in heaven! If the guy is dead and his soul is in heaven, rather than
>the other place where Hamlet suggests Claudius look for Polonius, why
>shut oneself up in a broom closet for x # of years? Who could admire
>such a woman?

I'm, frankly, a bit alarmed to hear that grief over your brother's death
makes you "stupid" and "ridiculous". If anything happened to my sister,
I could give no guarantees of being over it in a time frame designated
as sufficient by outsiders. This doesn't make it wrong of Feste to try
to coax Olivia out of it, but praising the superiority of his logic over
her emotion doesn't suggest much of an understanding of humanity.

Perhaps, though, there is something else going on here. Sebastian
observes what a competent manager of her estate Olivia is. If she
marries, her husband becomes the boss. If a woman whose father and
brother are dead finds her independence appealing and also finds that,
far from being stupid, she is actually quite good at running things, why
on earth would she leave herself open to vexatious courtships from men
she doesn't fancy, by declaring her mourning period over? By remaining
in mourning, she has the freedom to see only those people she chooses,
and to wait to find a man she can fall in love with. It worked for
Penelope.

She sounds pretty clever to me.

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