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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: February ::
Qs: CHE on Norton Shakespeare; Iago's Homosexuality;
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0236. Tuesday, 18 February 1997.

[1]     From:   Chris J. Fassler <
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        Date:   Monday, February 17, 1997
        Subj:   CHE on Norton Shakespeare

[2]     From:   Trace Shelton <
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        Date:   Monday, February 17, 1997
        Subj:   Iago's Homosexuality

[3]     From:   Hilary Zunin <
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        Date:   Monday, February 17, 1997
        Subj:   Iambic Pentameter


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris J. Fassler <
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Date:           Monday, February 17, 1997
Subject:        CHE on Norton Shakespeare

I'm wondering what reactions my colleagues have to the op-ed piece in
_The Chronicle of Higher Education_ by James (?) Shapiro on the occasion
of the publication of the Norton Shakespeare.

I was especially enthusiastic about his complaint that all this
attention to Shaksper would exacerbate the difficulty of finding other
drama of the period in print.  (My enthusiasm didn't stop me from
ordering a desk copy from Norton.)

--Chris

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Trace Shelton <
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Date:           Monday, February 17, 1997
Subject:        Iago's Homosexuality

Hello all.  I am in the formative stages of writing a seminar paper on
Iago's latent homosexuality, and especially his attraction to Cassio.
If we read the play within the context of this thwarted homosexual
passion towards Othello and Cassio, the dynamics of their conversations,
as well as Iago's motivation for malignancy, take on an entirely new
dimension.  If you don't believe me, check out Act III, scene iii
(sorry, this text is old and doesn't give line numbers), in which Iago
relates a fictional instance in which he "lay with Cassio", and Cassio
fell into a dream.  Iago says Cassio would "cry, 'O sweet creature!' and
then kiss me hard, as if he pluck'd up kisses by the roots, that grew
upon my lips: then laid his leg over my thigh, and sigh'd, and kiss'd;
and then cried, 'Cursed fate that gave thee to the Moor!'"  Iago uses
such detail that we almost believe (or rather, I could almost believe)
the incident actually took place.  This could be viewed as Iago's
fantasy, in which he physically enjoys Cassio, as well as being
psychologically satisfied by Cassio's jealousy of Othello, Iago's truest
love.  I realize that the fictionalized Cassio utters Desdemona's name,
but this is necessary in Iago's make-believe story in order for Othello
to be convinced.  Iago has earlier described Cassio as having "a person,
and a smooth dispose, to be suspected: fram'd to make women false" (end
of I,ii).  I believe he is framed to make Iago false; in fact, Iago
ironically characterizes himself in describing Bianca as being "a
creature that dotes on Cassio,-- as 'tis the strumpet's plague to
beguile many and be beguil'd by one" (IV,i).  There is no greater master
of guile than Iago, although I feel he's been beguiled by two.  Some
other passages support this view as well, but my main purpose in writing
is to get some feedback as to the credibility of this view.  As I say,
it seems credible to me, but please let me know what you think.
Anything you say that I use will, of course, be cited (if you would
rather me not use your comments as source material, please let me know).

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hilary Zunin <
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Date:           Monday, February 17, 1997
Subject:        Iambic Pentameter

Does anyone know roughly what percentage of Shakespeare's plays are in
iambic pentameter?  I'm looking for "perfect" form; no short lines or
feminine endings need apply.  Also, I've seen an estimate of prose v.
blank verse of 22% v. 78%.  Does this ring true?  Thanks.  Hilary
 

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