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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: June ::
Toby Belch: Redemptive or Not?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0607  Wednesday, 28 June 2006

[1] 	From: 	Carol Morley <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 27 Jun 2006 16:21:13 +0000
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 17.0602 Toby Belch: Redemptive or Not?

[2] 	From: 	Robin Hamilton <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 27 Jun 2006 17:21:39 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0602 Toby Belch: Redemptive or Not?

[3] 	From: 	Nicholas Clary <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 27 Jun 2006 12:35:11 -0400
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 17.0602 Toby Belch: Redemptive or Not?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Carol Morley <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 27 Jun 2006 16:21:13 +0000
Subject: 17.0602 Toby Belch: Redemptive or Not?
Comment: 	RE: SHK 17.0602 Toby Belch: Redemptive or Not?

 >One question that comes to mind... is there another buffoon type
 >character that Shakespeare redeems?

Don Armado for my money, and I think I could make an argument for 
ex-King Lear if you gave me long enough!

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Robin Hamilton <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 27 Jun 2006 17:21:39 +0100
Subject: 17.0602 Toby Belch: Redemptive or Not?
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0602 Toby Belch: Redemptive or Not?

Mike Shapiro <
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 >

 >One question that comes to mind... is there another buffoon type
 >character that Shakespeare redeems?

Parolles in All's Well.

Robin Hamilton

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Nicholas Clary <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 27 Jun 2006 12:35:11 -0400
Subject: 17.0602 Toby Belch: Redemptive or Not?
Comment: 	RE: SHK 17.0602 Toby Belch: Redemptive or Not?

Even before today's contribution to the question about Sir Toby, a 
friend of mine (Dick Reynolds, UConn) sent me the following remarks:

As you know, I consider Toby much brighter than his surname suggests. 
But I cannot imagine a softening in this man so well played by Robert 
Hardy. No more than in the defiant Iago. Toby's chief joy in life, 
besides canary, is riding herd on Sir Andrew, (who doesn't feel the 
needle-switching metaphors), and it makes no sense to me that Toby would 
turn his raillery on himself. He has had several rewards: the 
humiliation of Malvolio and the affection of Maria, encouraging him to 
continue as is. He has also had his comeuppance in the fight with 
Sebastian and is embarrassed on that account, especially so as Aguecheek 
has observed it and seems to feel that now they are equals.  But Toby 
will bluster his way through it. Sir Andrew may be privately amused at 
seeing the bully-boy brought down a notch, but he will stick around 
because he enjoys Toby's attentions, even if he pays for them.  What 
else has he to do?

As I now have momentum, I will go a bit further: Toby's embarrassment 
seems tiny compared to the complete humiliation of Parolles in AWW-he is 
found out not only a coward but a traitor, whereas Toby is neither; he 
only fought and lost. But does Parolles soften? No, he says "I'll get 
along somehow-hire myself out as a drum or something." Ancient Pistol, 
too, grits his teeth after being forced by Fluellen to eat the leek and 
goes on: "I'll steal to England, and there I'll steal..." Comedy wants 
no mea culpa breakdown, no Richard II regrets..... Vive Sir Toby! Vive 
consanguinity!

I think he makes a good point.

Nick Clary

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