Fools, madmen and Shakespeare

Malvolio
Went to see Derek Jacobi with a distinguished cast making Shakespeare look easy in a performance of 12th night. I don't think they had much of a choice but a modern audience ought to feel uncomfortable as the easy laugh of mixed identities, then woman pretending to be a man, then a fool being the wise one escalates into the torture of a snob: the fool versus the lunatic. When it stopped being funny. Because they effectively section him. At which point he seemed to be treated as less than human – not because he was conceited because he was presumed to be a lunatic.

Mental health has had a troubled history and we still haven't got it right – but Shakespeare's blind spot seems very obvious now.

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