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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: January ::
Re: Ancient Iago
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0090  Wednesday, 16 January 2002

[1]     From:   Edmund Taft <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 15 Jan 2002 12:56:50 -0500
        Subj:   Ancient Iago

[2]     From:   Louis Swilley <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 15 Jan 2002 21:15:15 -0600
        Subj:   Ancient Iago

[3]     From:   P. D. Holland <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 16 Jan 2002 10:18:54 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0059 Re: Ancient Iago


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edmund Taft <
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Date:           Tuesday, 15 Jan 2002 12:56:50 -0500
Subject:        Ancient Iago

Don Bloom writes,

"Iago has always struck me as having -- his insanity aside -- a classic
senior non-com mentality."

Exactly. Iago thinks much like the Chiefs I used to know and work with
in the Navy. They believed -- and with good reason -- that their
experience far outweighed the BA or BS degree that was 95% of what
junior officers could offer. Exceptional enlisted men could become
Warrant Officers, but their grade stopped at W-4; they could go no
higher. Like Don, my guess is that Iago has gone as far as he can in
rank.

The smart officers let the senior non-coms know that they respected the
extensive experience of the Chiefs and relied on them to a great degree
in practical affairs -- hence, even Othello's reliance on "honest"
Iago.  Cassio leans on Iago too, but when Cassio gets drunk, he reveals
his class consciousness. It's for EXACTLY this reason that in the US
Navy officers and senior non-coms have their own separate clubs.

--Ed Taft

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Louis Swilley <
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Date:           Tuesday, 15 Jan 2002 21:15:15 -0600
Subject:        Ancient Iago


My thanks to all who have commented on Othello's choice of Cassio over
Iago; but in spite of Cassio's lieutantcy and Iago's non-comm status,
(making Cassio, according to some posters here, the more favored "West
Point" guy) Iago clearly seems to think that he, himself,  was available
for the position - whatever his social status -  and would have been the
better choice; and we are given no other condition *in the play* to
suggest a particular competence of Cassio to handle.  With that,
Othello's reputation as a most effective general, and his ignoring
custom in his elopement with Desdemona, suggests that he would
ordinarily make a choice according to ability rather than social rank.
But since he never tells us why he has chosen Cassio...  I think my
question stands unanswered.

 L. Swilley

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           P. D. Holland <
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Date:           Wednesday, 16 Jan 2002 10:18:54 -0000
Subject: 13.0059 Re: Ancient Iago
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0059 Re: Ancient Iago

On everything to do with matters military in Shakespeare, not just the
ranks of the army and the problems of ensigns, I'd recommend Charles
Edelman's excellent Shakespeare's military language: a dictionary,
published as part of the Athlone Shakespeare dictionary series in 2000.
I've been using it while editing Coriolanus and found it immensely
useful.

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