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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: February ::
Shakespeare and the Spanish Delegation
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0329  Friday, 18 February 2005

From:           Tom Krause <
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Date:           Friday, 18 Feb 2005 06:28:57 -0500
Subject:        Shakespeare and the Spanish Delegation

It seems well-established that Shakespeare and the King's Men served as
"grooms of the chamber" (i.e., as courtiers, not actors) for the Spanish
peace delegation at Somerset House for 19 days in August 1604 -- the
document is in Schoenbaum, and the fact continues to be mentioned in
books about Shakespeare (including Gurr's "The Shakespeare Company
1594-1642", but not Greenblatt's "Will in the World").  But I've never
seen anyone attempt to connect this service with anything in
Shakespeare's plays.  Has anybody else?

Could there be a connection with the Spanish elements found in Othello
(first recorded performance November 1604), including Iago's name
(Spanish for James), Roderigo's name (admittedly also an Italian name),
Iago's use of the word "diablo" and the term "gennets" (Spanish horses),
the Turkish echo of the Spanish Armada, Othello's likely route to Venice
by way of Spain, and the fact that Othello kills himself with a "sword
of Spain"?  (Thanks to Elena Marin

 

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