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Sirs Aguecheek and Belch

Uploaded by dwytparx on Jun 26, 2002

Observations & Lessons learned, by an alcoholic, through characters, Shakespeare introduced in his Twelfth Night: Sir Andrew Aguecheek, conspirator, or innocent bystander? Sir Toby Belch, is he a cunning freeloader, or a drunken clown? Moreover, who, metaphorically speaking, will drown in the end?

N.B., Olivia questions Feste the fool [actually a professional witty fool]: “What’s a drunken man like, fool?” Feste replies: “Like a drowned man, a fool, and a madman. One drink too many makes him foolish; the second makes him mad [crazy]; and the third drowns him” She and Feste were discussing her cousin, Sir Toby “wondering if he should require detoxification”(1.5.95-97) following a display of drunkenness in her chambers.

One reading Twelfth Night for the first time might believe the clowns Feste and Fabian are at the heart of humor: not so, they are actually bystanders, or assistants to who I feel are the antagonists, Sir Toby and the chambermaid Maria; yet, Sir Toby and his cohort Sir Andrew are at the core of humor throughout the play. Sir Andrew however, is by no means an antagonist; besides, he is simply too dim-witted to antagonize anyone, and to his credit somewhat admits his flaws (2.3.79-80). He is like a child, or pawn; always subservient to Sir Toby, who takes full advantage of his childlike qualities. In Fabian’s words “He’s your dear little puppet, Sir Toby” (3.2.46). Following this line a perplexing issue arises; Sir Toby’s reply to Fabian “I’ve been dear to him, about two thousand pounds” (3.2.47). Implying that he has given, or loaned Sir Andrew money, yet throughout the text one is led to believe that Sir Toby is cleverly sponging from Sir Andrew, e.g. Toby to Andrew “Thou hadst need send for more money…Send for more money knight,” (2.1.176-81) Is the cunning Sir Toby lying to Fabian?

Sir Toby has been the focus of this writer’s attention during the introduction to Shakespeare’s work. One will learn from his character that Sir Toby’s chicanery and eccentric behavior are brought about by his addiction to alcohol.

Epigram by: Thomas Love Peacock

O’ not drunk is he who from the floor, can rise alone, and still drink more.
But drunk is he, who prostrate lies, without the power to drink or rise.

Feste, and Maria allude to Sir Toby’s addiction in the following statements, “If Sir Toby would quit drinking you’d [Maria] be as witty a young wench as any in Illyria” (1.5.23-25)....

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Uploaded by:   dwytparx

Date:   06/26/2002

Category:   Miscellaneous

Length:   9 pages (1,931 words)

Views:   2012

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