The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0754 Monday, 26 April 1999.
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
Bethel College (MN)