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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: April ::
We men may say more, swear more, but indeed...
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0900  Tuesday, 20 April 2004

From:           Douglas Galbi <
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Date:           Monday, 19 Apr 2004 12:49:38 -0400
Subject:        We men may say more, swear more, but indeed...

In Twelfth Night, Act 2/Scene 5, Viola (disguised as Cesario) says:

We men may say more, swear more, but indeed
Our shows are more than will; for still we prove
Much in our vows but little in our love.

How do you understand here "Our shows are more than will"?

Consider the possibility of an error in textual transmission.  My work
(see "Sense in Communication," Section IV.C, pp. 101-112, at
www.galbithink.org) suggests to me that the limits of "will" is a key
theme of Twelfth Night, or What you Will.  The variant "Our shows are
n'ore than will" is easier to interpret, both in immediate context and
in the play as a whole.  In writing, "n'ore" is very close to "more,"
while in meaning "n'ore" ("not more") provides counterpoint to the use
of "more" in the previous line.  On the other hand, "n'ore" is not
printed anywhere in the First Folio.

How would you evaluate this alternative reading?

Douglas Galbi

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