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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: February ::
Re: Shakespeare's Thought
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0261  Monday, 7 February 2000.

From:           Abdulla Al-Dabbagh <
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Date:           Saturday, 5 Feb 2000 01:09:30 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 11.0213 Re: Shakespeare's Thought
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0213 Re: Shakespeare's Thought

Carol A. Cole asks:

>There could be all kinds of reasons for
>Othello to marry
>Desdemona, including but not limited to love.  And
>what is there about
>Desdemona that makes her willing to go against all
>her upbringing and
>risk disownment by marrying Othello?

"She loved me for the dangers that I passed/ And I loved her that she
did pity them" (I am quoting from memory) is good enough for me. As for
Othello feeling "insecure" as an outsider among white men, as Judy Craig
said somewhere, I think, on the contrary, Othello feels all too secure
most of the play. (And when he sinks into disarray, in the end, it is
not because of insecurity, he remains to the end almost contemptuously
superior to Iago, but because of the sense of betrayal and loss of
Desdemona's love). Put away your swords or the dew will rust them, as he
so dismisively tells the Venetians, sums up his position - not arrogance
certainly, just supreme and well-deserved self-confidence. As to why
Cordelia does not flatter her father, and bend just a little bit, to get
the better third of the kingdom, THAT is a totally different situation
and in a play that is different altogether. OTHELLO is a much more
"realistic" play, while that opening scene of LEAR must be approached
within the "fairy tale" framework in which it is written - the legendary
three daughters (could be sons too) two bad and one good, the
"unreasonableness" not only of Cordelia, but of Lear, too, and so on.If
we don't accept that, the questions will be endless.  Certainly the more
important question would be: How could Lear have absolutely no inkling
of the evil that was in Goneril and Regan? The dimensions of that evil
must also be taken within the legendary context.  As for what Kezia
Vanmeter Sproat says about OTHELLO being a deeply feminist work, I would
agree, but also put ANTHONY AND CLEOPATRA among the top in that
category. IF ROMEO AND JULIET should have really been called Juliet and
Romeo, the second play should simply have been named Cleopatra.

Abdulla al-Dabbagh
 

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