The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0430 Wednesday, 10 May 2006
Date: Wednesday, 10 May 2006 09:28:31 +0100
Subject: 17.0420 Othello Chooses Cassio?
Comment: Re: SHK 17.0420 Othello Chooses Cassio?
Cassio's social pretensions are part of the problem, not the solution.
His finger-kissing behaviour alone is grounds for suspicion! Would they
were clyster pipes, is Iago's earthy response. And he has little in the
way of political sense when dealing with his own disgrace. No. Othello's
choice of Cassio as his lieutenant lies, as Iago also recognises, in the
fact that he is a mathematician - although were I playing Iago, I'd spit
that word out in scorn too. The most important innovation in warfare in
the sixteenth century was the kind of star-shaped fortifications, built
in response to developments in artillery, that you can still see dotted
round the Mediterranean. You need a mathematician in order to build and
repair them, and also to dig mines and countermines under enemy
positions. Othello doesn't need another person who can set a squadron
in the field. He's perfectly capable of doing that for himself, and
besides which, the technical developments had made sieges rather than
pitched battles the more usual type of warfare. He needs a mathematician.
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