01-03-2007 05:28 PM
Here's what I think....
I think Malvoli is most like-
* Columbina - simply for the reason that he is involved with the whole practical joke (albeit as the butt of it) and "is rather intelligent". He does also seem to know most of the characters within the play so likely, as Columbina, he knows about the latest ongoings and intrigues.
* Il Dottore - while I don't usually see Malvolio as being "a little round", he is certainly of the artistocratic uppercrust. Again, this character is perceived as being intelligent - as our Malvolio is.
* Pantalone - again, this character has wealth - but he also represents the more miserly and cruel part of Malvolio. This character looks down upon those not quite fortunate as himself but will make no attempts towards helping them out of their rut.
01-03-2007 05:41 PM
Aye, I'd agree with that...and especially with your observation of her as "innocent". It seems that Shakespeare has a habit of doing such things - punishing the more innocent characters. All the other characters that suffer from different vices ultimately achieve their goals (with a few exceptions) but the genuinely "innocent" characters meet an untimely end. (IE: Desdemona, Ophelia, Juliet, etc.) It seems that Viola is the innocent meant to suffer in this play.
But by what all characters does she suffer from their jealousy? The two most obvious are the Duke (jealous for Olivia's love) and Olivia (jealous for Cesario's love). But what other characters' jealousy cause her suffering?
I think more certainly (and perhaps more obviously) is that she suffers from love itself. She wants what she can't have...and to make that pain even worse, it is rubbed in her face by having to listen to the Duke carry on about Olivia and then having to take messages to love to her (Olivia)...all along wishing those words were meant for her (Viola) instead.
01-03-2007 07:26 PM - edited 01-03-2007 07:26 PM
In a troupe there were 10 people: 7 men and 3 women. ... The performances were improvised around a repertory of stock conventional situations: adultery, jealousy, old age, love, some of which can be traced in the Roman comedies of Plautus and Terence, which are themselves translations of lost Greek comedies of the fourth century BCE. ... The classic, traditional plot is that the innamorati are in love and wish to be married, but one vecchio or more than one vecchi ... are preventing this from happening, and so they must ask one or more zanni for help. Typically it ends happily with the inamorati marriage and forgiveness all around for any wrongdoings. ... Like their English contemporaries (Shakespeare), the Italians dressed male actors en travesti -- in women's clothing and wigs. Unlike the boy players of English renaissance theatre this was for humorous purposes, rather than as a result of social constraints.
This is a very interesting character list indeed and interesting to think that Malvolio could be a combination of them.
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.
...my question is this - how have *you* always viewed Malvolio? When you read him, how is he read?
I looked up commedia dell'arte in Wikipedia (here), ...
Message Edited by pmath on 01-03-200707:27 PM