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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: September ::
Re: Her C's . . .
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1930  Friday, 20 September 2002

[1]     From:   D. Bloom <
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        Date:   Thursday, 19 Sep 2002 08:41:51 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1916 Re: Her C's . . .

[2]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Thursday, 19 Sep 2002 22:38:28 +0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1922 Re: Her C's . . .


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           D. Bloom <
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Date:           Thursday, 19 Sep 2002 08:41:51 -0500
Subject: 13.1916 Re: Her C's . . .
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1916 Re: Her C's . . .

Michael Shurgot writes,

>I mean not to alarm, only to engage. What happens to the seven year plan
>once Olivia is smitten, and why does she accept the substitution of
>Sebastian for Cesario at the end with no other remark other than "Most
>Wonderful"? etc.

There are a number of different orders of questions here. For example,
the seven year mourning period (which has, remember, only been going on
for about eleven months so far) is an excess of a good thing, but not
fantastical. It ends so abruptly, as we all know, because the romantic
love for "Cesario" supplants it. Very human. Utterly realistic.

On the other hand, the acceptance of Cesario is clearly too facile to be
believable -- except in the context of what Shurgot has already called a
"fairy tale." But the idea that Viola could pass herself off as a male
in the context of the Duke's household is even more outlandish than that
the mature Olivia would fall madly in love with a boy of twelve or
thirteen -- not to mention Sebastian's acceptance of the marriage
proposal from a woman of say 18-25 (and thus half a dozen to a dozen
years older) that he's never seen before. In this situation, what
difference does it make if Olivia's acceptance of Sebastian as the
"Cesario" she fell in love with has a degree of implausibility?

You may find this cynical. I find it an innocent romp.

(I know (and probably those who read these postings know it even more)
that there is an optimistic quality to my reading of Shakespeare that
verges on that of Polyanna (not to say Pangloss). The degree to which
this lessens my ability to read and appreciate those plays of his that
involve life's grief, horror, bitterness, cruelty and defeat I cannot
say -- I hope not too much.  It does prevent me from seeing things many
others do, and causes me to feel things in ways that seem dreadfully out
of date. I admire Prince Hal and Hamlet as brilliant Renaissance
princes; I despise Shylock as greedy and vicious; my enjoyment Falstaff
is severely checked by my sense that the man loves nothing except
himself and values nothing except his own pleasure; I pity Isabella and
have nothing but contempt for her brother. In the case of 12N, I love
Viola as a survivor, I feel compassion for Olivia in her absurd but
quite real (to me) plight, and I enjoy Sir Toby and Maria. As to the
vicious and malevolent Malvolio, I get a kick out of his come-uppance.)

Cheers,
don

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Thursday, 19 Sep 2002 22:38:28 +0800
Subject: 13.1922 Re: Her C's . . .
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1922 Re: Her C's . . .

Cliff Ronan asks,

>is there any
>proof that references to "cut"/"count" would carry a negativity
>appropriate to satire on Malvolio?

Probably not.  The first use of the word to refer to a whole person in
the OED is from a novel set in the first world war which, curiously
enough, has two titles, both of them Shakespearean:  _The Middle Parts
of Fortune_ and _Her Privates We_.

Cheers,
Sean.

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