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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: October ::
Greenblatt
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1938  Monday, 25 October 2004

[1]     From:   Douglas Galbi <
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        Date:   Friday, 22 Oct 2004 09:34:01 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1915 Greenblatt

[2]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Friday, 22 Oct 2004 13:01:23 -0400
        Subj:   Conventional names


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Douglas Galbi <
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Date:           Friday, 22 Oct 2004 09:34:01 -0400
Subject: 15.1915 Greenblatt
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1915 Greenblatt

 >No characters named Mary in the plays, either, though Marias appear, in
 >TN, as noted, and in LLL.

Circa 1600, Mary, Maria, and Marie are names that all commonly had the
same referent, in the same way that Jim and James do today.  For
documentation and references, see Section IV.C, p. 105 of "Sense in
Communication," freely available at www.galbithink.org  Within TN, Maria
is referred to as Mary twice; see TN 1.5.10 and 2.3.111

 >For today I recommend reading the Malvolio-Maria-Sir Toby-Sir Andrew
 >part of *TN* as farce.  Farce is by definition heartless, and labeling
 >Maria as "viciously instrumental" (I don't know exactly what
 >"instrumental" is supposed to mean, here) for supplying us with much
 >amusement, or as a social climber because she makes a marriage that
 >will
 >allow her to move from genteel servitude to genteel independence, seems
 >to me generically inappropriate.

A character's entrances and exits provide a heightened opportunity to
challenge the natural human tendency to type-cast persons.  Consider
Maria's first lines in her first three entrances:

"By my troth, Sir Toby, you must come in earlier o' nights.  Your
cousin, my lady, takes great exceptions to your ill hours."

"Nay, either tell me where thou hast been, or I will not open my lips so
wide as a bristle may enter in way of thy excuse.  My lady will hang
thee for thy absence."

"What a caterwauling do you keep here? If my lady have not called up her
steward Malvolio and bid him turn you out of doors, never trust me.

In her last words in the play, Maria notes that the clown might have
tormented Malvolio without the curate's disguise that she urged upon
him, for "He sees thee not."

In the final act, Maria is absent. It seems to me that to see Maria just
as a generic amusing servant/social climber is not to see her fully.

Douglas Galbi

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Friday, 22 Oct 2004 13:01:23 -0400
Subject:        Conventional names

The apparent association of Mariana with bed tricks raises an intriguing
idea.  Did certain names have conventional significance, a la the stock
characters in Commedia dell' Arte?  For example, did "Antonio" and
"Sebastian:" signal "homosexual"?

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