Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2009 :: April ::
Othello and the Law
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0203  Thursday, 30 April 2009

[1] From:   Larry Weiss <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
     Date:   Tuesday, 28 Apr 2009 15:15:08 -0400
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0192 Othello and the Law

[2] From:   John W Kennedy <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
     Date:   Tuesday, 28 Apr 2009 16:07:13 -0400
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0192 Othello and the Law


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Larry Weiss <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:       Tuesday, 28 Apr 2009 15:15:08 -0400
Subject: 20.0192 Othello and the Law
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0192 Othello and the Law

Of course, there is no reason to believe that Shakespeare had any 
acquaintance with the laws of Venice (or Cyprus, which presumably would 
have been the same as that of Venice, as it was a Venetian colony). Law 
in Shakespeare usually reflects some notion of English law or is 
completely fanciful.

In any case, it seems clear that WS expected us to understand that 
Othello had violated some legal proscription, as Lodovico arrests him to 
answer for his actions:  " ... You shall close prisoner rest, | Till 
that the nature of your fault be known | To the Venetian State" 
(V.ii.335-37; Riverside).

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       John W Kennedy <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:       Tuesday, 28 Apr 2009 16:07:13 -0400
Subject: 20.0192 Othello and the Law
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0192 Othello and the Law

Emma Rees <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >

 >A student has asked me whether Othello would have been punished
 >under Venetian (or Cypriot?) law for murdering Desdemona, or whether
 >this was somehow 'allowed' (I'm thinking here of the 'ancient
 >privilege of Athens' in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' where Egeus was
 >technically 'allowed' to put his daughter to death).

I don't know about the letter of the law in Venice, but as a practical 
matter, I imagine he would have gotten off. A Spaniard of similar rank 
certainly would have.


_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the 
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the 
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.