The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1839  Thursday, 5 September 2002

From:           Michael Shurgot <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 4 Sep 2002 13:40:08 -0700
Subject: 13.1822 Re: Her C's . . .
Comment:        RE: SHK 13.1822 Re: Her C's . . .

Dear Colleagues:

Mercy! I had no idea that my few remarks on Malvolio several weeks ago
could generate such heat! As this subject is well past its time, I shall
respond briefly.

I do thank Don Bloom for his forthright and courteous response to my
remarks; I admire those qualities in a scholarly debate. Perhaps my view
of Malvolio is idiosyncratic, but the best performances of the role
(e.g., Desmond Barrit in, I think, 1997 at RSC), have suggested to me
that Malvolio is believable on stage only if he knows that he is serving
fools and lacks ambition to better himself (or to try to better them!).
As for Olivia's being stupid, we have Feste's logical proof that she is
a fool for pining for her brother's soul, which Feste gets her to argue
is in heaven! If the guy is dead and his soul is in heaven, rather than
the other place where Hamlet suggests Claudius look for Polonius, why
shut oneself up in a broom closet for x # of years? Who could admire
such a woman?  When Malvolio falls, driven by the terrible ego we all
seem to agree he has, his fall is all the more deserved because, in my
view, he actually believes that this ridiculous woman could want him.
This is an ego blind to its own self-deception and self-humiliation.

Enough. Thanks for the comments; this has certainly been lively.


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