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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: April ::
Othello's Last Speech
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0754  Monday, 26 April 1999.

From:           Barrett Fisher <
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Date:           Monday, 26 Apr 1999 08:51:45 -0500
Subject:        Othello's Last Speech

I have been using the 1989 RSC production of "Othello" with my students,
and have a question about a textual change in 5.2.352.  In this key
line, Nunn's Othello (Willard White) says "Speak of them as they are"
rather than "Speak of me as I am," thus changing the pronoun from a
reference to himself to a reference to the "unlucky deeds."  Perhaps
this is more grammatical than a shift to "I," but I have been unable to
find that this is actually a textual variation (at least not based on my
limited research in Bevington and the Norton texts.)

Bevington's text is the First Folio; does the Quarto of 1622 in fact
have they rather than I?  If not, Nunn has made a significant textual
change which makes us even more favorable towards Othello, and less
likely to see his speech as the kind of special pleading that T.S. Eliot
argued for.

Barrett Fisher
Bethel College (MN)
 

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