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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: March ::
Re: Othello in Aleppo
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0635  Friday, 16 March 2001

[1]     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Thursday, 15 Mar 2001 14:53:05 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0625 Re: Othello in Aleppo

[2]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Thursday, 15 Mar 2001 13:02:01 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0625 Re: Othello in Aleppo

[3]     From:   Paul E. Doniger <
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        Date:   Thursday, 15 Mar 2001 20:57:44 -0800
        Subj:   Fw: SHK 12.0625 Re: Othello in Aleppo

[4]     From:   Jaysinh Birjepatil <
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        Date:   Thursday, 15 Mar 2001 07:41:46 +0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0611 Re: Othello in Aleppo


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Thursday, 15 Mar 2001 14:53:05 -0500
Subject: 12.0625 Re: Othello in Aleppo
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0625 Re: Othello in Aleppo

Ros King writes:

"Maybe, though, Othello's story about the Turk is an embellished
traveller's tale. Maybe he hit him but didn't kill him. But I don't
think any of these questions would arise when actually watching the
play."

Northrop Frye made a distinction between linear reaction to a work, and
global.  He pointed out that the linear reaction was the one we had when
we were reading a work for the first time, and reacting sentence by
sentence.  I suppose the same would go for watching a play.

The global reaction is the one we have when we have completed out
initial reading (or watching), and can think about the work as a whole.
We have the leisure to think about Aleppo, and to wonder, to check some
historical sources, to check the Mikesell/Vaughn bibliography of
Othello, and so on.

Was Shakespeare checking a map of the eastern Mediterranean?  Did he
notice that Aleppo is not that far from Cyprus?  Or was Aleppo in the
news around 1603?

Yours, Bill Godshalk

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Thursday, 15 Mar 2001 13:02:01 -0800
Subject: 12.0625 Re: Othello in Aleppo
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0625 Re: Othello in Aleppo

Just to add a small amount to Ros's interesting post on the instability
of national identities, I'd like to add that professional soldiers,
especially, continued to have unstable national associations for some
time afterwards.  After the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, both
British and French forces found themselves commanded by Scotsmen.  John
Hale has noted how the Venetian army especially was given to raising
mercenaries, even those they had captured marching against them, to
positions of command.

To speculate even further, the action in Aleppo might be some situation
in which Othello found himself temporarily allied with Venetian
interests while fighting the Turks for somebody else, or even defecting
from the Turkish army, and might provide the initial moment of contact
between himself and the Venetians by whom he came to be employed.
Recalling his first service for "the state" would be rather appropriate
at this moment.

Cheers,
Se

 

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