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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: March ::
Othello's Name
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0444  Wednesday, 9 March 2005

[1]     From:   Paul Curtis <
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 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 08 Mar 2005 15:31:01 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0433 Othello's Name

[2]     From:   Maijan H Al-Ruwaili <
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 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 09 Mar 2005 02:48:08 +0300
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0433 Othello's Name


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul Curtis <
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 >
Date:           Tuesday, 08 Mar 2005 15:31:01 -0400
Subject: 16.0433 Othello's Name
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0433 Othello's Name

If I'm not mistaken, Joel Fineman wrote a brilliant essay on this topic
by the title "The O in Othello."

Paul M. Curtis
Department of English
Universite de Moncton

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Maijan H Al-Ruwaili <
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 >
Date:           Wednesday, 09 Mar 2005 02:48:08 +0300
Subject: 16.0433 Othello's Name
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0433 Othello's Name

Martillo wrote

 >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.

'Adl and Autail don't derive from the same root; Othello (Autail) comes
from a root meaning something close to an "Invalid" or bad (person).
Only in English will the difference between the "d" in Adl and "T" in
Autail will be confused. In Arabic they are two different and distinct
letters whether written or pronounced. Could Shakespeare have been
trying to capitalize on the irony Martillo implied in reading the Arabic
name (i.e., justice)? I'd rather assume Shakespeare had more brains or
Arabic not to confuse the two terms!

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