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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: June ::
Re: Iago
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1150  Monday, 5 June 2000.

[1]     From:   Ed Taft <
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        Date:   Friday, 02 Jun 2000 11:51:34 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Iago

[2]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Friday, 02 Jun 2000 10:37:39 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1147 Q: Iago

[3]     From:   Brian Haylett <
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        Date:   Friday, 2 Jun 2000 20:40:20 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1147 Q: Iago

[4]     From:   Kevin De Ornellas <
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        Date:   Friday, 02 Jun 2000 20:22:08 GMT
        Subj:   Othello and Bible

[5]     From:   Clifford Stetner <
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        Date:   Friday, 2 Jun 2000 17:07:34 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 11.1147 Q: Iago

[6]     From:   Hugh Grady <
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        Date:   Friday, 2 Jun 2000 17:56:22 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1147 Q: Iago

[7]     From:   Marti Markus <
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        Date:   Friday, 02 Jun 2000 23:51:39 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1147 Q: Iago


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Taft <
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Date:           Friday, 02 Jun 2000 11:51:34 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Iago

Sophie Masson engages in some good thinking when she asks if Iago's "I
am not what I am" echoes Yaweh's "I am that am." Sure, in a diabolical
way. What if we think of the play Othello as a redoing of the fall. If
so, Othello = Adam, Desdemona = Eve, and Iago = Guess Who?  This
approach to Othello is, I think, an interesting one because in
Shakespeare's retelling of this myth, the "cause of all our woe" is not
Eve (Desdemona), but Adam (Othello). In other words, Shakespeare
presents a "feminist" version of the fall.

--Ed Taft

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Friday, 02 Jun 2000 10:37:39 -0700
Subject: 11.1147 Q: Iago
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1147 Q: Iago

The statement "I am what I am" actually occurs only in the KJV, and it's
St. Paul describing himself, not Yahweh describing himself (1Corinthians
15.10).  The similar but different phrase "I am that I am" occurs in the
Geneva Bible, the Thomas Matthew New Testament, the Coverdale Bible, the
Tyndale NT, and the Great Bible in this place.  It is also the phrase in
the KJV Exodus 3.14, as well as that of the Great Bible, The Bishops'
Bible, and the Geneva Bible.

In other words, "I am what I am", is not spoken by Yahweh anywhere in
the Renaissance scriptures.  Moreover, the phrase "I am what I am" from
the New Testament is anachronistic to Othello, if we assume conventional
dating (King James Version 1611; Othello 1604).

If I may speculate a bit, I think that this is one of those phrases,
like "Fair is foul and foul is fair" that serve to quickly indicate the
utter perversity of the character speaking, not so much by travestying
the scriptures as by inverting conventional binaries.  God's statement
in Exodus indicates that he doesn't require a name to subsist in
himself, that he is a signifier long before being a signified; Iago
assumes a name, but only in order to defy it, promulgating false
signifiers.

There is, in this regard, another possible intertext:  in Leonard and
Thomas Digges's Stratioticos, an ancient is described as loyal and
honest, just as Iago is described repeatedly in the play.  He is,
however, neither of these things, and there's a certain metadramatic gap
between the role he plays and what he actually is.

Cheers,
Se

 

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