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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: September ::
Othello and Cassio
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0533  Friday, 5 September 2008

[1]  From:    Larry Weiss <
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 >
      Date:    Monday, 01 Sep 2008 15:00:30 -0400
      Subj:    Re: SHK 19.0524 Othello and Cassio

[2]  From:    John W Kennedy <
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 >
      Date:    Tuesday, 02 Sep 2008 12:26:40 -0400
      Subj:    Re: SHK 19.0524 Othello and Cassio


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Larry Weiss <
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 >
Date:       Monday, 01 Sep 2008 15:00:30 -0400
Subject: 19.0524 Othello and Cassio
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0524 Othello and Cassio

 >>Larry Weiss <
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 >: "despite his foreign birth and blackness"
 >
 >>Nowadays Othello is generally treated as a black, but in
 >Shakespeare's day, he was almost certainly an Arab or a Berber.
 >
 >Probably; but they play still calls him "black." Gradations seem not to have 
been too important.
 >>
 >>Larry Weiss writes: "Othello is clearly not aristocratic or even gentle..."
 >>
 >>Not so clear, Larry.
 >>
 >>The ex-slave is descended from men of "royal seige," or so he claims.

Yes, he does; but I doubt that a Mauritanian royal would be understood as 
equivalent to a European king. And, let's ask why Othello feels it appropriate 
to make this somewhat gratuitous, out of left field, observation.

 >Larry goes on: "But in a meritocracy, Iago (who is by far the most intelligent 
character in the play, and knows it) feels the lash of that acutely."
 >
 >Was Venice ever truly a meritocracy instead of an oligarchy of ruling 
plutocrat families?

I don't know. I suppose we can ask an historian about the real Venice. I was 
only talking about the fictitious Venice in the play.

 >Doesn't Iago feel entitled to the succession while denigrating Cassio's merits?

I think the point I made is that he seems to feel he deserves the place; 
entitlement is a more complex issue.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       John W Kennedy <
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 >
Date:       Tuesday, 02 Sep 2008 12:26:40 -0400
Subject: 19.0524 Othello and Cassio
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0524 Othello and Cassio

Joachim Martillo <
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 >

 >["Othello"] culminates in an honor killing. Stereotypes have
 >not changed much since Shakespeare's day.

I realize that the practical effect is much the same, but does not  "honor 
killing" differ from simple revenge upon an adulterous spouse  at least in 
perspective? I should think that Othello's thoughts are more in line with those 
of Henry anent Anne in Charles Williams' "Thomas Cranmer of Canterbury":

She has taken my image of her love and broken it: she dies.

John W Kennedy

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