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Choisya
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Re: TWELFTH NIGHT: Serious lessons here?

I thought that Laurel originally chose Twelfth Night because it wasn't serious and was suitable for this particular time of year? It has been said that it has 'little satire, and no spleen. It aims at the ludicrous rather than the ridiculous. It makes us laugh at the follies of mankind, not despise them, and still less bear any ill-will towards them.' (Hazlitt.) To this end it is a good play to study seriously at this time of Goodwill to all Men. Olivia's house happily holds such disparate characters as Malvolio, Maria, Sir Toby, and Sir Andrew Aguecheek - can we all learn from the play at a time of year when family-get-togethers often cause strife?? Is it the sweet character of Viola and the constant infusion of romance which keeps everyone pleasant or is it the tomfoolery of the clowns and jesters? Does the Bard offer proof in the play that 'a soft answer turneth away wrath but grievous words stir up anger' (Proverbs 15:1.)?




Everyman wrote:
Despite this being a very seasonable play, the discussion seems to have ground to a halt. Perhaps folks will resurrect it next Xmas when the new Shakespeare club is up and running?

Some of us are waiting for the official Shakespeare section to do our serious discussion.


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Re: TWELFTH NIGHT: Serious lessons here?

Choisya wrote: It has been said that it has 'little satire, and no spleen.'

I doubt that Malvolio would agree with that assessment.
_______________
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Choisya
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Re: TWELFTH NIGHT: Serious lessons here?

Nor you, it seems:smileyhappy: Isn't Malvolio the foil for the rest of the play? Shakespeare is thought to have cast Malvolio as a mean spirited 'evil wishing' Puritan and the Puritans were enemies of the theatre, let alone revelry. Like Shakespeare's Richard III he has also been compared with Machievelli's Prince in that he is a crafty, self-loving politician who 'smile(s) his face into more lines than is in the new map with the augmentation of the Indies'(3.2. By the end of the play his character has been abused and ridiculed and he is left out of the reconciliations of the last scene. His self-loving, Machievellian ambition to become god-like is overcome by those more deserving of their good fortune and with better 'humours'. Merry Christmas Everyman!





Everyman wrote:
Choisya wrote: It has been said that it has 'little satire, and no spleen.'

I doubt that Malvolio would agree with that assessment.


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For Choisya, Laurel, and Bucky: Discussing TWELFTH NIGHT

[ Edited ]
Choisya, I started this thread, but Laurel had said she was reading it (here), and wanted to continue discussing it, even after the "Slight Interruption" (here). Bucky also said she planned to watch Trevor Nunn's film adaptation (here).

Laurel and Choisya, what do you think about the passages I quoted in this thread, from Acts I through V, and which passages did you find particularly interesting? (You can quickly scroll through the electronic version of TN I linked.) Bucky, did you get a chance to watch the film?


Choisya wrote:
I thought that Laurel originally chose Twelfth Night because it wasn't serious and was suitable for this particular time of year?

Message Edited by pmath on 12-26-200603:34 PM

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Re: For Choisya, Laurel, and Bucky: Discussing TWELFTH NIGHT

Here's what I said that I guess got us started on Twelfth Night, Philo:

"Thanks, Ilana, for the swift response! I'm reading "Twelfth Night" now. It's full of charm, but there's a bit of cruelty to it as well, which is somewhat disturbing."

Your questions are good ones, and I'll get to them as soon as I'm able to get back in the swing of things. I just wish the characters had had more compassion for Malvolio.



pmath wrote:
Choisya, I started this thread, but Laurel had said she was reading it (here), and wanted to continue discussing it, even after the "Slight Interruption" (here). Bucky also said she planned to watch Trevor Nunn's film adaptation (here).

Laurel and Choisya, what do you think about the passages I quoted in this thread, from Acts I through V, and which passages did you find particularly interesting? (You can quickly scroll through the electronic version of TN I linked.) Bucky, did you get a chance to watch the film?


Choisya wrote:
I thought that Laurel originally chose Twelfth Night because it wasn't serious and was suitable for this particular time of year?

Message Edited by pmath on 12-26-200603:34 PM




"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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For Choisya: Midpoint of TWELFTH NIGHT Discussion

Choisya, I started this discussion two weeks ago, and there are still two weeks left before the Twelfth Night: let's continue!


Choisya wrote:
Despite this being a very seasonable play, the discussion seems to have ground to a halt. Perhaps folks will resurrect it next Xmas when the new Shakespeare club is up and running?
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Winter Festival

I was looking for more information on the Twelfth Night, and found this,

Twelfth Night is the day of Epiphany, which marks the end of a winter festival that started on All Hallows Eve, or Halloween.
at this site:

http://www.folger.edu/template.cfm?cid=1964

That was a long festival!
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Mummers Plays and Tosspots

I was looking for more information about fools, and came across this page:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/alabaster/A655526/

at the bottom of which I found this:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/alabaster/F79529?thread=155623

Choisya, can you tell us more?
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TWELFTH NIGHT: Act I

[ Edited ]
What do you think is the purpose of the dialogue below, from Scene iv? What does Valentine know?
VALENTINE
If the duke continue these favours towards you, Cesario, you are like to be much advanced: he hath known you but three days, and already you are no stranger.

VIOLA
You either fear his humour or my negligence, that you call in question the continuance of his love: is he inconstant, sir, in his favours?

VALENTINE
No, believe me.

VIOLA
I thank you. Here comes the count.

Message Edited by pmath on 12-24-200610:15 AM

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TWELFTH NIGHT: Act II

[ Edited ]
This, from Scene iv, made me think of Ishmael in Moby Dick!

CLOWN
Now, the melancholy god protect thee; and the tailor make thy doublet of changeable taffeta, for thy mind is a very opal. I would have men of such constancy put to sea, that their business might be every thing and their intent every where; for that’s it that always makes a good voyage of nothing. Farewell.

Message Edited by pmath on 12-24-200610:16 AM

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TWELFTH NIGHT: Act III

[ Edited ]
Why exactly is Feste saying here, in Scene i?
VIOLA
I warrant thou art a merry fellow and carest for nothing.

CLOWN
Not so, sir, I do care for something; but in my conscience, sir, I do not care for you: if that be to care for nothing, sir, I would it would make you invisible.

Message Edited by pmath on 12-24-200610:17 AM

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TWELFTH NIGHT: Act IV

[ Edited ]
This is from Scene ii: talk about provocation!
CLOWN
[Singing]
‘Hey, Robin, jolly Robin,
Tell me how thy lady does.’

MALVOLIO
Fool!

CLOWN
‘My lady is unkind, perdy.’

MALVOLIO
Fool!

CLOWN
‘Alas, why is she so?’

MALVOLIO
Fool, I say!

CLOWN
‘She loves another’—Who calls, ha?

Message Edited by pmath on 12-24-200610:19 AM

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TWELFTH NIGHT: Act V

[ Edited ]
I wonder if the Duke's sibling was still alive. From Scene i:

FIRST OFFICER
Orsino, this is that Antonio
That took the Phoenix and her fraught from Candy;
And this is he that did the Tiger board,
When your young nephew Titus lost his leg:
Here in the streets, desperate of shame and state,
In private brabble did we apprehend him.

Message Edited by pmath on 12-24-200610:20 AM

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Choisya
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Re: More on Jesters, Fools, Clowns

To add to your links on Jesters pmath - and what would Shakespeare be without them? - I found these comments on Feste in my Wordsworth edition of TN:-

'In the Twelfth Night, the function of Feste the clown appears inconsequential, but in actuality his role has immense significance in the overall educational development of the other characters. During the seasonal holiday revelry in which this play takes place, the clown is used as an independent observer that exploits the asinine actions and the faults of the other characters. Shakespeare's contrast of Feste's true wit with the unconscious and actual foolishness of the others is the focal contribution of his role to the factual insight of this play. Feste doesn’t make his appearance in the play until the fifth scene of act I. It is during his conversation with Maria that introduces him to the reader and unveils the fool purpose and contribution to the play, which is revealed through an aside: “Wit, an’t be thy will, put me in good fooling! Those wits that think they have thee, do very oft prove fools, and I that am sure lack thee may pass for a wise man. For what says Quinapalus? Better a witty fool than a foolish wit”(1.5:32-36) These lines indicate that Feste's presence is not merely comic relief through inane acts and show that the role of the fool requires much intelligence. Feste is also able to recognize and criticize the fools subject to foolery, the self-proclaimed wits who are not witty at all. Since it is their lack of self-knowledge that makes them fools. This subject of self-knowledge or lack thereof is pervasive throughout the comedy as it contributes to the image of love as folly. Feste's contribution to the revelation of the underlying theme of love is essential to the understanding of the play's messages. The clown's most profound comments often take the form of a song:
O mistress mine, where are you roaming?
O stay and hear, your true love's coming,
That can sing both high and low.
Trip no further, pretty sweeting, Journeys end in lovers meeting,

Every wise man's son doth know.
What is love?
'Tis not hereafter,
Present mirth hath present laughter.
What's to come is still unsure.
In delay there lies no plenty,
Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty.
Youth's a stuff will not endure.
(2.3:39-52)

This song is performed at the ardent requests from Sir Toby and Sir Andrew for a love-song. The song depicts the events of Twelfth Night itself. Feste clearly foreshadows the events that will occur later in the play. When he speaks of journeys ending in lovers meeting, he hints at the resolution in which several characters are married. The song also echoes the merriment of the season and how the uncertainty of what's to come shouldn't be disquieting, but instead a driving force to take life as it comes and to live life to the fullest possibilities.

Feste's final song lessens the hope of a completely happy ending. The purpose of this song, which states the rain it raineth every day, insinuates that at any time the happiness that now occupies the characters in Illyria could at any time be swept away. With this song, Feste seems to suggest that even as a person goes through life, with its various ups and downs, he or she must remember that at any time one can end up in an unfamiliar place with a completely different life. Feste's role as a fool, in both Olivia and Orsino's houses, makes him accessible to all character's in the play. But it is his ability to avoid attachment to other characters and his licensed foolery that enables him to become a critic on the actions of others and allows his character to thrive. It is through this commentary that Feste can assert his true wit over the true foolishness of the other characters. His insightful dialogue provides criticism and interpretation of the central events of the comedy. While Feste's role as the fool should imply a lack of intelligence, it is exactly the opposite.'



>

pmath wrote:
Your post on the American Classics board (below) made me think of Punch, the hunchbacked puppet in motley.


Choisya wrote (message linked here):
It is perhaps significant that Hawthorne chose to invoke 'pantomime' in the phrase quoted previously by pmath because pantomime is a peculiarly English form of theatre which has been popular here for centuries and which contains a great deal of satire about everyday English life, despite being cloaked in children's stories.:-

http://www.hissboo.co.uk/pantomimes.shtml
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dark man :-)



Everyman wrote:
Choisya wrote: I await a tall, dark, gentleman passing by to 'first foot' at midnight

Send me the address, and I'll be glad to oblige.




ROFL, you guys are too funny!

ziki
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Harlequin

Thanks for sharing the very interesting commentary, Choisya! I looked up commedia dell'arte in Wikipedia (here), and found this:

Arlecchino (Harlequin, Truffaldino), a servant, one of the zanni. He is a poor peasant who has left his native Bergamo to seek his fortune in the city of Venice. ... He has several "masters," but his primary (if covert) interest is for himself. The famous Harlequin costume with its lozenge pattern of red, green, and blue diamonds originated in a stylised representation of patchworked clothing that was illustrative of Arlecchino's poor status, as well as his resourcefulness.

Choisya wrote:
To add to your links on Jesters pmath - and what would Shakespeare be without them? - I found these comments on Feste in my Wordsworth edition of TN:-

'... Feste's role as a fool, in both Olivia and Orsino's houses, makes him accessible to all character's in the play. ...'
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Malvolio

Hello all!

My name is Angela - a newcomer to BNBC and a Shakespeare-addict! :smileyvery-happy:

Hope you don't mind me jumping in here...but I thought while we were on the discussion of Twelfth Night, I would post this question I've had rolling about. You see, every year for my birthday, my family gives me tickets to go see some theatrical performance with the whole family...and this year I got tickets to see Twelfth Night at our local Shakespeare Theatre. It was absolutely wonderful - brilliant casting!

The one character I was most impressed with though, oddly enough, was Malvolio. I'd read the play before and read him as a mean, cynical, up-tight sort of fellow...but the way this actor portrayed him was as a man - a bit show-offy or even shy around Olivia - that seemed genuinely smitten with the woman of his dreams. Then, when he was tricked into thinking she might share his affections, his joy and excitement was actually quite heartbreaking since the audience knew it was all a prank. When his beloved then treated him like a common fool, his humiliation and shame was so touching... It was almost like a schoolboy "nerd" tricked into thinking the head cheerleader likes him - only to approach her in the cafeteria and have all the jocks and fellow cheerleaders laugh at him when he proclaims his admiration for her.

So my question is this - how have *you* always viewed Malvolio? When you read him, how is he read? Have you ever felt sorry for him...or is he a character to simply be made fun of and enjoy the comedy circling around him?
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Re: Malvolio

Hello, Angela, and welcome to the club. I like Malvolio, and I always feel sorry for him that he is made the butt of such a cruel practical joke. I would like to see the jokesters taken out and thrashed--or better, made to think they will be taken out and thrashed. Laurel



ladyfogg wrote:
Hello all!

My name is Angela - a newcomer to BNBC and a Shakespeare-addict! :smileyvery-happy:

Hope you don't mind me jumping in here...but I thought while we were on the discussion of Twelfth Night, I would post this question I've had rolling about. You see, every year for my birthday, my family gives me tickets to go see some theatrical performance with the whole family...and this year I got tickets to see Twelfth Night at our local Shakespeare Theatre. It was absolutely wonderful - brilliant casting!

The one character I was most impressed with though, oddly enough, was Malvolio. I'd read the play before and read him as a mean, cynical, up-tight sort of fellow...but the way this actor portrayed him was as a man - a bit show-offy or even shy around Olivia - that seemed genuinely smitten with the woman of his dreams. Then, when he was tricked into thinking she might share his affections, his joy and excitement was actually quite heartbreaking since the audience knew it was all a prank. When his beloved then treated him like a common fool, his humiliation and shame was so touching... It was almost like a schoolboy "nerd" tricked into thinking the head cheerleader likes him - only to approach her in the cafeteria and have all the jocks and fellow cheerleaders laugh at him when he proclaims his admiration for her.

So my question is this - how have *you* always viewed Malvolio? When you read him, how is he read? Have you ever felt sorry for him...or is he a character to simply be made fun of and enjoy the comedy circling around him?


"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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For Angela: Malvolio as a Stock Character

Welcome to the discussion, Angela! Perhaps we can think of Malvolio as a stock character, or a combination of such characters. There's a list in the page I linked in an earlier message, quoted below.

Which character do you think he is most like?


ladyfogg wrote:
Hello all!

My name is Angela - a newcomer to BNBC and a Shakespeare-addict! :smileyvery-happy:

Hope you don't mind me jumping in here...but I thought while we were on the discussion of Twelfth Night, I would post this question I've had rolling about. ...

...my question is this - how have *you* always viewed Malvolio? When you read him, how is he read? Have you ever felt sorry for him...or is he a character to simply be made fun of and enjoy the comedy circling around him?


pmath wrote:
Thanks for sharing the very interesting commentary, Choisya! I looked up commedia dell'arte in Wikipedia (here), and found this:

Arlecchino (Harlequin, Truffaldino), a servant, one of the zanni. He is a poor peasant who has left his native Bergamo to seek his fortune in the city of Venice. ... He has several "masters," but his primary (if covert) interest is for himself. The famous Harlequin costume with its lozenge pattern of red, green, and blue diamonds originated in a stylised representation of patchworked clothing that was illustrative of Arlecchino's poor status, as well as his resourcefulness.

Choisya wrote:
To add to your links on Jesters pmath - and what would Shakespeare be without them? - I found these comments on Feste in my Wordsworth edition of TN:-

'... Feste's role as a fool, in both Olivia and Orsino's houses, makes him accessible to all character's in the play. ...'


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For Laurel and Angela: Jealousy (Acts I & III)

I feel mainly for poor, innocent Viola! I've been thinking more about questions I posted earlier (quoted below): she seems to suffer from, or be at risk due to, the jealousy of a number of characters. What do you ladies think?


pmath wrote (message linked here):
Why exactly is Feste saying here, in [Act III,] Scene i?
VIOLA
I warrant thou art a merry fellow and carest for nothing.

CLOWN
Not so, sir, I do care for something; but in my conscience, sir, I do not care for you: if that be to care for nothing, sir, I would it would make you invisible.


pmath wrote (message linked here):
What do you think is the purpose of the dialogue below, from [Act I,] Scene iv? What does Valentine know?
VALENTINE
If the duke continue these favours towards you, Cesario, you are like to be much advanced: he hath known you but three days, and already you are no stranger.

VIOLA
You either fear his humour or my negligence, that you call in question the continuance of his love: is he inconstant, sir, in his favours?

VALENTINE
No, believe me.

VIOLA
I thank you. Here comes the count.


Laurel wrote:
I like Malvolio, and I always feel sorry for him that he is made the butt of such a cruel practical joke.
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