The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0039 Wednesday, 17 January 2008
From: Robert Projansky <
Date: Thursday, 17 Jan 2008 18:59:26 -0800
Subject: 19.0019 Malvolio and the Captain
Comment: Re: SHK 19.0019 Malvolio and the Captain
Cary Barney writes of "the mysterious fifth act revelation that the
Captain is being held under arrest at Malvolio's instigation."
Doubtless there is a midden for a scholarly dig here, but in performance
-- why bother? Nobody onstage can tell why the Captain is locked up and
why doesn't really matter, so why pluck something non-Shakespearean out
of thin air to explain the inexplicable to the audience? Dramatically,
his imprisonment obviously tends to subdue sympathy for the ill-treated
Malvolio and why elaborate on it?
While we have no reason to believe the Captain must be kept offstage at
the end of the play, he is another example of a Shakespeare character,
often one playable by an older actor, who appears early or in just the
first couple of acts and then disappears. Such roles include Duncan,
Gaunt, Adam, Voltumand and Cornelius, the Soothsayer, the Porter, and
Brabantio. Was Shakespeare giving work to -- but making it easy on --
some older actor(s)?
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