The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1806  Tuesday, 26 August 2002

From:           Don Bloom <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 26 Aug 2002 16:16:34 -0500
Subject: 13.1781 Re: Her Cs . . .
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1781 Re: Her Cs . . .

Michael B. Luskin writes>

> I believe Shakespeare knew exactly what he was doing with the C's and
> great P's.  Plain old bawdy humor.  We should take it as such and enjoy
> it.  Why not?

Because - to my mind -- it runs badly counter to the tone, mood, and
meaning of that part of the play. One the one hand, Malvolio is supposed
to be the object of this send-up because he a self-righteous,
pretentious prig, and he is going to make and public fool of himself as
result. Dumping in a lot of bawdy humor at this point may get you some
cheap laughs but it distracts from the much more delicious humor of his

On the other hand, it make no clear sense. Where is he getting these
letters from? What do they have to do with anything that Maria might
have written to imitate the countess? If it weren't out of fashion, I
would suspect an Alien Hand at work.


p.s. Sorry to be so late on this but I've been away from my office
computer most of the summer -- and, admittedly, not missing anything
except the List.

p.p.s. I find it instructive that we are supposed to admire Malvolio, as
also Claudius, Iago, Caliban, and Angelo (among many others), while
despising Hamlet, Cordelia, Isabella, and Prince Hal  (ditto).
Interesting set of values here.

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