ENG 3U: Zaniness 101

At one point or another, most comedies get a little zany. The action picks up. Coincidences nearly converge, bringing the Big Secret (whatever it may be) ever so close to being revealed. All of the complicated subplots need to converge sooner or later, right?

…but not quite yet. The zaniness isn’t the meal; it is the setting of the table. I promise you that, in the true tradition of comedies, we will have a moment where everyone finally stands still. Secrets WILL be revealed. Protagonists will finally understand their true nature (and the true nature of others). That moment, however, is still a few scenes away. For now, just appreciate the dizzying complications that ensue in Act III scene iv:

  • Malvolio attempts to woo Olivia (we saw this yesterday…remember the yellow stockings?)
  • Olivia attempts to woo Viola/Cesario (again, from yesterday)
  • Sir Andrew gets ready to challenge Viola/Cesario (we read this yesterday; we will watch this bit, too)
  • Sir Toby and Fabian try their best to get our two reluctant fighters to duel
  • notice how we see a brief scene between Feste and Sebastian. Remember that Feste works for Olivia; thus, with whom does Feste believe he is speaking?

Once the video has finished, I need you to read the rest of the scene. Pay add the following to your notes…you can combine all three into a single answer if you wish:

  • who arrives in the nick of time to break up the fight?
  • who does this person believe he is rescuing?
  • Why are lines 340 and 353 so important?

Act v scene i is very short.  Please read it in small groups. Again, think zaniness and setting the table.

  • the scene opens with the brief interaction between Feste and Sebastian you just watched
  • Sebastian is confronted by Sir Toby and Sir Andrew. Remember that these characters have never met. I wonder who Sir Toby and Sir Andrew think Sebastian is…
  • the scene ends rather strangely for Sebastian. A beautiful woman runs up to him, calls him by another name, and begs him to leave with her. Believable? Maybe not. Essential for the plot? You bet, kids.

Finally, please read the modern version of Act 4 scene ii that I have provided. Remember that Malvolio has been locked in a dark place. His tormentors, Sir Toby, Maria, and Feste (or should I say Father Topaz?) hope to teach him  a lesson. Watch how Malvolio’s sanity is repeatedly “tested”.


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