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 commentaire shakespeare.

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thestral.

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Date d'inscription : 12/02/2015

MessageSujet: commentaire shakespeare.   Dim 18 Nov - 2:31

INTRO
PB : How does Shakespeare portray Olivia as a woman desperate for love while still relaying on humor in this scene ?
OUTLINE

I) OLIVIA’S DESPAIR
A)
B)

II) COMIC/HUMOR
A) Quick exchange of dialogues
- rhythm between the lines really quick and catchy, which is a part of the humor since it gives energy to the play. sets the tone, is really dynamic – really shakespearian, can be noticed in A Midsummer Night’s Dream too for ex.
ex : OLIVIA – Enough is shown. A cypress, not a bosom, hides my heart. So let me hear you speak. VIOLA – I pity you. OLIVIA – That’s a degree to love. VIOLA – No, not a grece, for ‘tis a vulgar proof that every oft we pity enemies.
> shows, as I said, a short and concise rhythm (use of commas, dots, kinda gives a straight vision of the exchange).
Viola’s “Thats a degree to love” shows her desperate attempt to get some sort of affection from Cesario/Olivia – the fact that the negative answer she gets is direct and short is one more tool for the comedy.

B) Olivia’s exaggerated lamentations

Shakespeare actually manages to portray Olivia as a desperate women while also making it “funny” for the spectator. Olivia’s tendencies to lyricism towards her emotions and Viola/Cesario’s rejection scream both tragedy and comedy.

OLIVIA - Why then methinks ’tis time to smile again. O world, how apt the poor are to be proud! If one should be a prey, how much the better to fall before the lion than the wolf! (clock strikes) The clock upbraids me with the waste of time.

Here, she makes a fuss about her feelings and seems to show herself as both miserable and strong, which is contradictory but also translates how desperate she is.
“Why then methinks ‘tis time to smile again.” > the fact that she seems to “overcome” so easily her heartache, in such an abrupt and brutal way adds to the comic of the scene.
“If one should be a prey, how much the better to fall before the lion than the wolf!” > she tries to find comfort in her previous frank rejection. The “lion” symbolizes a proud and royal animal while the “wolf” stands for a more malicious and dark one – she assimilates Viola/Cesario to the “lion”. In this lines, she states that she is somehow “happy” to have been turned away by Cesario because he is a “worthy” man to her eye.
“The clock upbraids me with the waste of time” > Olivia humanizes the clock and gives human features to it, thus showing how she perceives its tickling as somebody reprimanding and telling her to “stop wasting her time” with her agitations.
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Date d'inscription : 12/02/2015

MessageSujet: Re: commentaire shakespeare.   Dim 18 Nov - 22:36

The scene we’re gonna study is from the IIIrd act of Twelfth Night or What You Will – it is its first scene, and we’re gonna start from the line 91 (“Give me your hand”) until the line 162 (“to like his love”) which is actually the end of the scene. Right before this scene, Viola/Cesario has arrived to Olivia’s household to give her a message of love from lord Orsino. But before encountering Olivia again, she meets Feste the clown and has fun with him, in the Garden. After that, Sirs Toby and Andrew both arrive, meeting Cesario for the first time. The situation turns a bit awkward because they both are slightly drunk and Sir Andrew behaves a bit idiotically (he is amazed by Cesario’s mastering of language and says that he has to remember the words he uses). Olivia then arrives, alongside her gentlewoman Maria – and dismisses everyone but Cesario, whom she wants to hear the message he has. That’s when the scene starts – still in the garden. Trough the whole scene, lyricism, comedy and tragedy brushes against each others, which is interesting. Olivia is the one who speaks the most since she has the most to say. So, how does Shakespeare portray Olivia as a woman desperate for love while still relaying on humor in this scene ? We will first focus on Olivia’s despair and its incarnations – then we will end with the comic and how it is created in this scene.


Olivia’s despair is easily perceptible in this scene. Indeed, she is involved in two non-reciprocal loves – she both wants to get rid off Orsino’s affection and get Cesario’s. At the line 101 she says “For him, I think not on him. For his thoughts, would they were blanks rather than filled with me” - by saying “would they were blanks rather than filled with me” she actually states that she’d prefer Orsino not to think of her, since she does not love him and is upset at the fact he thinks of her. On the next line, Cesario/Viola says “Madam, I come to whet your gentle thoughts on his behalf” to which Olivia answer “O by your leave, I pray you. I bade you never speak of him; but would you undertake another suit, I had rather hear you to solicit that than music from the spheres”. Here, Olivia uses the expression “another suits” which stands for somebody else that would love her. It is a desperate attempt from her to get some kind of confession from Cesario, whom she is deeply in love with. Later at the line 143 she declares “O what a deal of scorn looks beautiful in the contempt and anger of his lip ! A murd’rous guilt shows no itself more soon than love would seem hid. Love’s night is noon” this aside which she makes for herself, is full of deception an guilt. She notices that Cesario is angry (“in the contempt and anger of his lips”) thus bemoans his non-reciprocal love. She ends her line with the sentence “Love’s night is noon” which translates the fact that she can’t hide her love anyway, because she can’t keep it inside anymore.
Her tearful apology is another way for Shakespeare to translate her despair. Indeed, in her monologue at the line 109 she says : “Give me leave, beseech you. I did send, after the last enchantment you did here, a ring in chase of you. So did I abuse myself, my servant, and, I fear me, you: under your hard construction must I sit, to force that on you, in a shameful cunning which you knew none of yours. What might you think? Have you not set mine honor at the stake, and baited it with all the unmuzzled thoughts that tyrannous heart can think?”. The “ring” which is mentioned is the token of her passionate love for Cesario – she refers to the end of the first act where she sent her servant Malvolio to Cesario in order to give him the ring : she pretended that Cesario had forgot the ring. She seems to say that Cesario had put a sort of “magic spell” on her, leading her to fall in love with him (“After the last enchantment”). This shows her despair since she seems to have her back against the wall – she doesn’t know what to do anymore and is kinda lost in her feelings. She even “animalizes” her feelings and personifies her heart with a human psychological trait (“with all the unmuzzled thoughts that tyrannous heart can think”) which embodies the incarnation of her despair.

This scene is also the set of many comic apparitions, which is why we are gonna study these tools. The first one is, without a doubt, the rhythm of dialogues – the pace between the lines is really quick and catchy, which is a part of the humor since it gives energy to the play. It sets the tone and is really dynamic – really shakespearian : it can be also noticed in his other works like A Midsummer Night’s Dream through the character of Puck who’s really spirited. At the line 119, Olivia says “To one of your receiving enough is shown. A cypress, not a bosom, hides my heart. So let me hear you speak” to which Viola answers “I pity you” leading Olivia to try “That’s a degree to love” pushing Viola to end “No, not a grece, for ‘tis a vulgar proof that every oft we pity enemies”. Here, in this exchange between the characters, we can notice how the lines are short and concise - especially coming from Viola whose words cut like a knife. The use of the commas and dots gives a straight vision of their conversation. Olivia’s “That’s a degree to love” shows her desperate attempt to get some sort of affection from Cesario/Viola - the fact that the negative answer she gets is direct and short is one more tool for the comedy. At the line 132 Olivia tries to end their encounter by saying “There lies your way, due west” but a few moments later she comes back and say “Stay, I prithee tell me what thou think’st of me”. This rapid change of mind is comic because she seems to be constantly changing, oscillating between trying to act “unbothered” and “panicked”. On the following lines, Viola answers : “That you do think you are not what you are” which leads Olivia to say: “If I think so, I think the same of you” pushing Viola to state : “Then think you right, I am not what I am” making Olivia answer : “I would you were as I would have you be”. Once again, the rhythm is really quick between Olivia and Viola. Also, the misunderstanding is at its finest – when Viola says “I am not what I am”, we could think that it is a way to tell her that she, indeed, is not a man but a woman. It seems that they are both saying something different as if a wall was separating them – which adds to the comic of the scene. Back at the line 100, Viola said “Your servant’s servant is your servant, madam”, which is a different use of the rhythm – rather than making the sentence quick, Shakespeare made it heavy and laborious thus resulting in a comic of word, more specifically a repetition.
Shakespeare also managed to create comedy through Olivia’s exaggerated lamentations – portraying her as a desperate women while also making it “funny” for the spectator. Olivia’s tendencies to lyricism towards her emotions and Viola/Cesario’s rejection scream both tragedy and comedy. “Why then methinks ’tis time to smile again. O world, how apt the poor are to be proud! If one should be a prey, how much the better to fall before the lion than the wolf! (clock strikes) The clock upbraids me with the waste of time.” she says at the line 124. Here, she makes a fuss about her feelings and seems to show herself as both miserable and strong, which is contradictory but also translates how desperate she is. The fact that she seems to “overcome” so easily her heartache (“Why then methinks ‘tis time to smile again”) in such an abrupt and brutal way adds to the comic of the scene. While saying : “If one should be a prey, how much the better to fall before the lion than the wolf!”, she tries to find comfort in her previous frank rejection. The “lion” symbolizes a proud and royal animal while the “wolf” stands for a more malicious and dark one – she assimilates Viola/Cesario to the “lion”. In this line, she states that she is somehow “happy” to have been turned away by Cesario because he is, to her eye, a “worthy” man. Olivia then humanizes the clock and gives it human features (“The clock upbraids me with the waste of time”), thus showing how she perceives its tickling as somebody reprimanding and telling her to “stop wasting her time” with her agitations.


We can then say that Shakespeare balanced really well Olivia’s despair in order to actually create comic in Olivia and Cesario/Viola’s encounter – this thanks to different tools. Indeed, he first focused on the non-reciprocal love in order to set the scene – showing to the spectator her situation (being in love with a man who doesn’t love her, and behing loved by a man she doesn’t love). Then he turned her apology into a tearful speech for her impossible love – relaying on lyricism to master her emotions and giving them to the audience (or reader). He also mastered ingenuously the rhythm of the dialogues and characters’ exchanges, giving the scene a dynamic tone while exaggerating Olivia’s lamentations.
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