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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: February ::
Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0355  Tuesday, 22 February 2005

[1]     From:   Bob Grumman <
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        Date:   Monday, 21 Feb 2005 09:25:15 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0340 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle

[2]     From:   John W. Kennedy <
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        Date:   Monday, 21 Feb 2005 11:24:09 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0340 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle

[3]     From:   JD Markel <
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        Date:   Monday, 21 Feb 2005 13:36:32 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0340 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bob Grumman <
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Date:           Monday, 21 Feb 2005 09:25:15 -0500
Subject: 16.0340 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0340 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle

 >A late entry on the M.O.A.I. riddle-solving question:
 >
 >I agree with several who argued that the main reason for "M.O.A.I." (all
 >letters in Malvolio's name but requiring him to "crush" them to fit) is
 >to show his foolishness and egotism.
 >
 >But I remember reading a paper a few years ago that presented another
 >plausible explanation.  It argued that the letters could be taken as a
 >version of the French word "moi" as pronounced by the English in
 >Shakespeare's time.  I believe handbooks for learning French were
 >offered as evidence.  This explanation may work-along with the other
 >one-if Malvolio tries to sound the letters out as a word.  If memory
 >serves, I've seen that done on stage and maybe on screen too.
 >
 >I don't remember the title or author of the paper.  It had been
 >submitted for publication, and I saw it in manuscript form; I don't know
 >if it was in fact ever published.
 >
 >Bruce Young

Makes sense to me.  A actor optimally should work through several
possible pronunciations and interpretations--say, am oh--am zero? a one?
  Something mathematical?  Etc.

--Bob G.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John W. Kennedy <
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Date:           Monday, 21 Feb 2005 11:24:09 -0500
Subject: 16.0340 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0340 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle

I confess I have always heard "Amo. Ai!"

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           JD Markel <
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Date:           Monday, 21 Feb 2005 13:36:32 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 16.0340 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0340 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle

It's a cipher so how about a common format - backwards.

I.A.O.M. - "I am Olivia Malvolio"

Textual support from the play?

"MALVOLIO:
And then I comes behind.

FABIAN
Ay, an you had any eye behind you, you might see more
detraction at your heels than fortunes before you."

Also, I've learned here at SHAKSPER that Sheikh Zubair was either Arab
or Jewish which would  help explain an inclination for right-to-left
scrivening.  ;-)

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