Pity for Malvolio & Cruelty

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  • PITY FOR MALVOLIO & CRUELTY
    • Barber - 'Considered sympathy for Malvolio - tragic'
      • 1939 Doren - 'Modern day audiences have bestowed more sympathy on Malvolio than Shakespeare perhaps intended so the balance is not what it was'
        • 1822 Charles Lamb - 'Malvolio has been much misunderstood'
    • Peter Cash - 'We may feel genuine sympathy for Malvolio'
      • 1641 John Mannigham - 'The gulling of Malvolio is good practice'
        • 1986 Harry Levin - 'As a sycophant, officious snob and social climber [Malvolio] well deserves to be put back in his place'
    • 'I'll be revenged on the whole pack of you'
      • A clear threat among the marriages, explanations & reconcilliation
        • He extends his implacable hostility to Feste & his tormenters to all the company, his threat upsets the play's comic resolution
      • He rejects Olivia's sympathy & Fabian's assertion that the 'sportful malice.. May rather pluck on laughter than revenge'
      • He fails to acquire 'generous, guiltless... free disposition' which Olivia suggests he lacks from the start
      • Pompous mentality & unflinching righteousness are hostile to the spirit of the play, which has 'foolery' at its heart, so he places himself beyond redemption and exits the comedy
    • The Sub-plot takes on a darker tone when Feste gets involved
      • 'Remain thou in darkness. Thou shalt hold th'opinion of Pythagoras ere I will allow of thy wits'
        • Until you change your ideas, you will remain in darkness
        • Transmigration - would have been interesting to see how an Elizabethan audience would have reacted to this exchange b/c although leaning towards rational Christian explanations, they would have accepted the idea of someone being possessed
          • Idea the soul can migrate from one body to another
      • 'They have laid me here in hideous darkness/hath bay windows transparent as barricadoes'
        • Feste tells Malvolio there are windows, he is tricking him to make him think he is mad, and what has happened to him is all his fault, when arguably they have taken the trick too far
          • Pity would arise as he is so confused he cannot figure out what is happening to think rationally, nor be allowed to think rationally
      • Yes, Malvoili's desires for Olivia are disgustingly vain and obscene, they did not need to take the trick so far that he is physically and mentally hurt
        • 'So far in offence with my niece, I cannot pursue.. this sport to the upshot'
          • Toby realises its become cruel, bbut worries more about himself anf how Olivia will react
    • 'Yellow stockings.. thee ever cross-gartered'
      • Maria uses chance remarks by Olivia to make Malvolio think she favours his appearance
      • The items juxtapose his character, hence Olivia worrying he has gone mad and therefore allowing the squad to torture him
      • The audience would feel pity because he is being fooled about something that really means a lot to him, even if it means a lot in grotesque means
      • In a lot of productions Sir Andrew wears yellow and he represents a fool, 1996 Trevor Nunn for an example

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