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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: December ::
Iago's Name
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.2213  Wednesday, 15 December 1999.

[1]     From:   John Drakakis <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Dec 1999 16:16:46 -0000
        Subj:   RE: SHK 10.2192 Re: Flags over Globe

[2]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Dec 1999 09:51:04 -0800
        Subj:   Iago's Name


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Drakakis <
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Date:           Tuesday, 14 Dec 1999 16:16:46 -0000
Subject: 10.2192 Re: Flags over Globe
Comment:        RE: SHK 10.2192 Re: Flags over Globe

Vice Locke poses an interesting question.  It becomes a problem, of
course, if we take the view that all designations of "James" referred to
James I.  How about "St. James" (Santiago)? Santiago di Compostella was
a city in North Eastern Spain which was very much on the medieval
pilgrim route to Palestine.  In fact the pilgrim's "shell" still
survives in the name of a seafood- scallops (coquil de St Jacques). For
what it's worth, it's also the symbol of the Shell Petroleum
Corporation, but that's another matter altogether!

Iago here, could have Catholic overtones, which, in a play concerned
with Moors and, (if we adopt one version of the textual crux in Act 5:
'Like the base Iudean'), possibly even maranos, then we have a very
interesting play indeed, don't we?

Cheers,
John Drakakis

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Tuesday, 14 Dec 1999 09:51:04 -0800
Subject:        Iago's Name

Vince Locke inquires:

>On a different topic, I have a question regarding Othello.  I once read
>that the name Iago was Spanish for James (presumably of Islamic
>origin).  Since most scholars place the play's date of composition as
>1604, the first year of James I reign, why would Shakespeare risk the
>offense of his sovereign and patron by naming his most evil character
>synonymously with the king?

On the flip side, he's making his most evil character Spanish, which
would distance him from the Protestant James, and I'm pretty sure that
the name is in the source-text by Cinthio, so it isn't Shakespeare's
invention.  BTW, I'm given to understand that Santiago is the patron of
crusades against the Moors.

Cheers,
Se

 

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