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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: March ::
Othello's Name
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0433  Tuesday, 8 March 2005

[1]     From:   Joachim Martillo <
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        Date:   Friday, 4 Mar 2005 15:44:00 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0416 Othello's Name

[2]     From:   Frank Whigham <
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        Date:   Friday, 04 Mar 2005 15:00:52 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0416 Othello's Name


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Joachim Martillo <
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Date:           Friday, 4 Mar 2005 15:44:00 EST
Subject: 16.0416 Othello's Name
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0416 Othello's Name

Othello is probably an Italianization of the Arabic name Adil, which has
an initial consonantal `ayin that would be incomprehensible to Italians
but which would make the fatha sound like an o-sound.  There may be
other possibilities, but Adil comes immediately to mind.  The root
meaning suggests justice or equity.

It seems ironic in view of the story of Othello, doesn't it?  Maybe
Shakespeare knew Arabic and was a secret Muslim of Morisco heritage.

Joachim Martillo

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Frank Whigham <
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Date:           Friday, 04 Mar 2005 15:00:52 -0600
Subject: 16.0416 Othello's Name
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0416 Othello's Name

I believe that Stanley Cavell comments somewhere that the names of the
husband and wife in Othello contain the words "hell" and "demon."

Frank Whigham

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