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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: November ::
Re: Iago
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1134.  Tuesday, 11 November 1997.

[1]     From:   John Velz <
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        Date:   Monday, 10 Nov 1997 11:44:21 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Iago and Richard Gloucester

[2]     From:   H. R. Greenberg <
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        Date:   Monday, 10 Nov 1997 22:09:13 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1127  Re: Iago


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Velz <
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Date:           Monday, 10 Nov 1997 11:44:21 -0600 (CST)
Subject:        Iago and Richard Gloucester

>Iago is the
>personification of pure evil, with no explanation needed or even
>possible.

Motiveless malignity is the chief attribute of the Devil.  Of course he
has a revenge motive, but he seems to mortals indiscriminately evil for
evil's sake.  I resist all allegorical readings of Sh. but do note that
Devil's cloven hoofs and "this demi-devil hath ensnared by soul" etc.
are in the text.  Meanwhile Desdemona is sainted.  Cf. "Hail Lady full
of grace"  and other views of her as sainted.  The Devil's chief
attribute is the desire to make others as deprived as he himself is.  So
Iago, who is envious of Othello's happiness and jealous of Othello's
alleged affair with Emilia and of Cassio's possible [impossible] affair
with her also, and of Cassio's daily beauty, wants to make O. as envious
(jealous) as he himself is.  As he calls it "even with him wife for
wife".  No allegory please.  Othello is a lot more than Everyman at the
crossroads, choosing between heaven and hell personified esp. in
Desdemona and Iago.  But this moral undercurrent lends cosmic stature to
a story that otherwise would be material for yellow journalism.  P.S.
Richard III was portrayed as a merry devil in a London production a
couple of years ago.  This did not save the surreal production, but it
sure helped it to stagger toward artistic success.

John Velz
Dept. of English
Univ. of Texas

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           H. R. Greenberg <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 10 Nov 1997 22:09:13 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 8.1127  Re: Iago
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1127  Re: Iago

Re Iago as "bluff soldier" -- I believe the Branagh interpretation of
the role comes closer to this mark, in an otherwise undistinguished
film.
 

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