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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: April ::
Shakespeare's Welsh Inspiration?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0720  Friday, 15 April 2005

From:           Ida Gaskin <
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Date:           Friday, 15 Apr 2005 14:13:49 +1200
Subject: 16.0711 Shakespeare's Welsh Inspiration?
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0711 Shakespeare's Welsh Inspiration?

D. Bloom suggests that Iago could be a version of Jacob/James. Marian
Pringle, who wrote the article in a Stratford paper in which she
suggested that Shakespeare derived Iago's name from the defence to Iago
ap Idwal, also says Iago is a common Welsh version of James. It may be
so, but it is certainly not, as she also states, a common Welsh name. In
John Davies's "Hanes Cymru" (History of Wales), Iago appears only twice,
both times brief references to minor Princes of the 12th century, and
Shakespeare would need to have read the "Historie of Cambria" fairly
attentively to pick it up, though the suggestion is more defensible than
many of the sources proposed for his choice of names. He usually treats
his Welsh characters sympathetically; even his attempts at the dialect
are no worse than any other English-speaking person's. Marian Pringle
did not imply that the name was connected with Owain Glyndwr, only that
Shakespeare might have seen it while "Browsing" (her word) through the
Historie to read the section on Owain's rising in Henry IV's reign about
1400.

Ida Gaskin.

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