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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: January ::
Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0196  Monday, 31 January 2005

[1]     From:   Todd Pettigrew <
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        Date:   Friday, 28 Jan 2005 15:49:13 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0179 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle

[2]     From:   Arthur Lindley <
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        Date:   Saturday, 29 Jan 2005 09:39:10 +0800
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0179 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle

[3]     From:   Jeffrey Myers <
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        Date:   Saturday, 29 Jan 2005 07:47:37 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0179 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle

[4]     From:   James Doyle <
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        Date:   Monday, 31 Jan 2005 13:33:56 -0000
        Subj:   Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Todd Pettigrew <
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Date:           Friday, 28 Jan 2005 15:49:13 -0400
Subject: 16.0179 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0179 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle

I take a position similar to that of Bob Grumman.

The point of the letter is both to expose and exploit Malvolio's ego. As
Maria says:

the best persuaded of himself, so
crammed, as he thinks, with excellencies, that it is
his grounds of faith that all that look on him love
him; and on that vice in him will my revenge find
notable cause to work

MOAI, then, is clearly NOT "Malvolio" but close enough that Malvolio can
"crush it" and persuade himself that it is.

t.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Arthur Lindley <
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Date:           Saturday, 29 Jan 2005 09:39:10 +0800
Subject: 16.0179 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0179 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle

 >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 Grumman is right, of course.  There is simply no reason for assuming
any hidden meaning.  The device is a trap for Malvolio's vanity: four
letters from his own name in the wrong order.  Somewhere among the
cutlery, we seem to have misplaced Occam's Razor.

Arthur Lindley

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jeffrey Myers <
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Date:           Saturday, 29 Jan 2005 07:47:37 -0500
Subject: 16.0179 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0179 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle

Malvolio Omnem Amorem Intendo

Jeff Myers

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           James Doyle <
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Date:           Monday, 31 Jan 2005 13:33:56 -0000
Subject:        Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle

I wondered when I first read the play if M.O.A.I. could be read as 'Amo
Ei' - which would mean 'I love to him/her', I think. It's not good
Latin, but then we're told WS wasn't much of a Latin scholar.

James Doyle

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