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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: October ::
Re: Othello's Name
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2385  Thursday, 18 October 2001

[1]     From:   Ed Kranz <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Oct 2001 21:56:40 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2371 Othello's Name

[2]     From:   Gary Allen <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Oct 2001 23:03:18 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2371 Othello's Name


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Kranz <
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Date:           Wednesday, 17 Oct 2001 21:56:40 -0400
Subject: 12.2371 Othello's Name
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2371 Othello's Name

I think it was Stanley Cavell who pointed out that in the center of
Othello is Ot-hell-o and Desdemona is Des-demon-a. As for the
significance of this...??

Ed Kranz

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gary Allen <
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Date:           Wednesday, 17 Oct 2001 23:03:18 EDT
Subject: 12.2371 Othello's Name
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2371 Othello's Name

Martin Steward writes:

> In conversation once the subject of where Othello's name came from and
>  what it might mean (if anything) arose.
>
>  I have always harboured a pet theory that it is an Italilanized version
>  of Ottoman/Othoman/Othman, and that the play might be capitalizing on
>  contemporary interest in the Turkish empire following the publication of
>  Knolles's Generall Historie of the Turkes... to the rising of the
>  Othoman Familie (1603).
>  ...
>  Any thoughts?

My assumption had always been that Otello is the diminutive of Otto,
perhaps after the Roman emperor Otho.

Gary

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