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Thursday, 25 April 2013

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Othello was the first Shakespeare I saw live. By God that Iago is a nasty piece of work, etc, etc. Wonderful stuff, and all the more chilling because there's no namby-pamby rubbish about Iago being evil because his Ma didn't love him or his stepfather buggered him. He's evil because he's evil because he's evil. Meanwhile the great Othello has a weakness that's exploitable by a sufficiently evil man.

Will was the boy, wasn't he?

He absolutely was the boy, DM. And you're right about the nature of Iago's evil, it defies psychobabble explanations

"He's evil because he's evil because he's evil. "

Believe it or not, the first Shakespeare I saw was Titus Andronicus, and I still remember the one character, whose name escapes me. Evil, evil, evil, all of it unexplained. In one scene, he tells of how he unburies a corpse, just to make the widow grieve again. I no longer think it is a great play, no one does in fact, but boy it really sat with me.

I read recently that S may have plagiarized the speech, but who cares, it has the effect it was supposed to have.

Dom, that would be Aaron who is, interestingly, a "moor" but who is considered by some critics as an early model for Iago who deploys his evil against an honourable "moor". Here's the speech:

Ay, that I had not done a thousand more.
Even now I curse the day--and yet, I think,
Few come within the compass of my curse,--
Wherein I did not some notorious ill,
As kill a man, or else devise his death,
Ravish a maid, or plot the way to do it,
Accuse some innocent and forswear myself,
Set deadly enmity between two friends,
Make poor men's cattle break their necks;
Set fire on barns and hay-stacks in the night,
And bid the owners quench them with their tears.
Oft have I digg'd up dead men from their graves,
And set them upright at their dear friends' doors,
Even when their sorrows almost were forgot
;
And on their skins, as on the bark of trees,
Have with my knife carved in Roman letters,
'Let not your sorrow die, though I am dead.'
Tut, I have done a thousand dreadful things
As willingly as one would kill a fly,
And nothing grieves me heartily indeed
But that I cannot do ten thousand more.

That's the exact speech. Still sends shivers down my spine.

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