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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: January ::
Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0179  Friday, 28 January 2005

[1]     From:   Alan J. Sanders <
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        Date:   Thursday, 27 Jan 2005 07:41:02 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0163 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle

[2]     From:   Fran Barasch <
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        Date:   Thursday, 27 Jan 2005 08:34:16 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0163 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle

[3]     From:   Bob Grumman <
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        Date:   Thursday, 27 Jan 2005 08:38:20 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0163 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle

[4]     From:   Rainbow Saari <
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        Date:   Friday, 28 Jan 2005 02:47:55 +1300
        Subj:   Re; solving the M.O.A.I riddle

[5]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Thursday, 27 Jan 2005 14:04:45 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0163 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle

[6]     From:   William Godshalk <
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        Date:   Thursday, 27 Jan 2005 20:18:43 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0163 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Alan J. Sanders <
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Date:           Thursday, 27 Jan 2005 07:41:02 -0500
Subject: 16.0163 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0163 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle

Seeking an answer to this puzzle is always a bit of a fun mental
exercise and by going back to the play, I wonder if Will was just
playing around with the spelling of Malvolio.  If we follow a pattern
that says, take the first letter in the name then the last letter, we
get M and O.  Now, assuming Will erased those letters from Malvolio's
name (he likely had a scratch pad and was playing around to make this
riddle work in the context of the play), the remaining letters are:
alvoli.  So, he followed the same pattern and pulled the first letter
and the last letter and now we have the A and the I.  I suppose, he may
have initially went through the exercise a third time and would have
added L and L.  MOAILL.  Looking at it, Will probably thought that it
looked just plain silly and dropped the double L's in favor of just the
first four letters.  After all, he had a few more scenes left to finish!

At least, that's one hypothetical response.   :-)

Alan

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Fran Barasch <
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Date:           Thursday, 27 Jan 2005 08:34:16 EST
Subject: 16.0163 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0163 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle

A wild guess that O is for "or", as in "the fashion or Italian
appearance".  Interesting question.

Fran Barasch

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bob Grumman <
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Date:           Thursday, 27 Jan 2005 08:38:20 -0500
Subject: 16.0163 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0163 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle

 >Dear Friends,
 >
 >I wonder if those who have Italian (or those who do not) would care to
 >join in trying to solve the riddle of the meaning of M.O.A.I. in TN?

Hate to be dull-witted about it, but for me the letters are just four
letters from Malvolio's name rearranged to allow us to watch Malvolio's
slow mind at work figuring out what name they might mean.  "M. A. I. O."
would, I think, seem too easy, even for Malvoio; hence the
rearrangement.  Your solution seems strained, something I can't imagine
many spectators trying to find, much less coming up with.  And a joking
riddle for the immensely sophisticated here would compete with what
seems to me the focus of the scene--Malovolio's discovery that Olivia is
in love with him.

--Bob G.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rainbow Saari <
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Date:           Friday, 28 Jan 2005 02:47:55 +1300
Subject:        Re; solving the M.O.A.I riddle

What an interesting idea. My guess would be ' Occidentale' as used by
Florio ( quoted from the EMEDD:
(Florio 1598 @ 3471891)

Occidentale, westerly, of the West, of the west part

though a grammatically correct version  of  'Occastro, a wild goose'
(also Florio) tempts me as a second option. I'd certainly hunt in
Florio's dictionaries for your term, Steve.

Cheers,
Ms Rainbow Saari

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Thursday, 27 Jan 2005 14:04:45 -0500
Subject: 16.0163 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0163 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle

How about "Occidentale"; or maybe, in the opposite sense, "Ottomani."

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Godshalk <
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Date:           Thursday, 27 Jan 2005 20:18:43 -0500
Subject: 16.0163 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0163 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle

How about M[aria] [+] O[livia] A[re] I? Malvolio is being warned that
the writing style which appears to be Olivia's is really Maria's, and
that they are in a sense one. Earlier in the play Maria plays Olivia.

It is interesting that Olivia, Viola, Malvolio, and Maria share so many
letters. If you cross out all the shared letters, duplicates included,
there's not much left.

Steve may be right about the Italian connection, but my Italian is short
and unacceptable in scholarly company.

Bill

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