Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 832. Tuesday, 23 November 1993.
Date: Monday, 22 Nov 93 12:55:26 EST
Subject: 4.0827 Re: The Circumcised Dog
Comment: Re: SHK 4.0827 Re: The Circumcised Dog
I think the Turk Othello is referring to is circumcised (traditional). Even
today (a colleague from Sarajevo informs me), Christians in Bosnia ask "Is he
one of us or is he..." and then they "snip-snip" with their finger/scissors in
front of the genitals, to indicate that the person is a Moslem.
Related (and more interesting to me) is the suggestion in the passage that
Othello may be circumcised as well (that is a Turk, rather than a Christian),
since he identifies so thoroughly with the chap from Aleppo (or perhaps he even
invents the chap). Presumably Brabantio would have raised the issue, or at
least Iago, but perhaps one of Othello's problems is religious--shouldn't mix
those marriages, even to a liberal Venetian.
What think you?