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Shakespeare's Characters: Sir Toby Belch and Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Twelfth Night)

From The Works of William Shakespeare. Vol. 16. Ed. Evangeline Maria O'Connor. J.D. Morris and Co.

Of Sir Toby himself — that most whimsical, madcap, frolicsome old toper, so full of antics and fond of sprees, with a plentiful stock of wit and an equal lack of money to keep it in motion — it is enough to say, with one of the best of Shakespearean critics, that "he certainly comes out of the same associations where the Poet saw Falstaff hold his revels"; and that though "not Sir John, nor a fainter sketch of him, yet he has an odd sort of a family likeness to him."

Sir Andrew Aguecheek, the aspiring, lackadaisical, self-satisfied echo and sequel of Sir Toby, fitly serves the double purpose of butt and foil to the latter, at once drawing him out and setting him off. Ludicrously proud of the most petty childish irregularities, which, however, his natural fatuity keeps him from acting, and barely suffers him to affect, on this point he reminds us of that impressive imbecility, Abraham Slender; yet not in such sort as to encroach at all upon Slender's province. There can scarce be found a richer piece of diversion than Sir Toby's practice in dandling him out of his money, and paying him off with the odd hope of gaining Olivia's hand. And the funniest of it is, that while Sir Toby thoroughly understands him, he has not himself the slightest suspicion what he is, being as confident of his own wit as others are of his want of it.
Hudson: The Works of Shakespeare.


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