« PoprzedniaDalej »
DUK E of Venice.
Desdemona, Daugiter to Brabantio, and Wife to Othello.
rest of the Play, in Cyprus..
A C T I.
SCENE, a Street in Venice.
Enter RODORIGO and IAGO.
That thou, Jago, who hast had my purse, As 'if the strings were thine, shouldīt know of this?
(1) Othello.] The ground-work of this play is built on a novel of Cinthio Giraldi, (Dec. 3. Nov. 7.) who seems to have designed his tale a document to young ladies against disproportioned marriage; di non fe accompagnare con buomo, cui la natura et il cielo, et il modo della vita disgiunge da noi: That they should not link themselves to such, against whom Nature, Providence, and a different way of living have interposed a bar. Our Poet inculcates no such moral; but ra. ther, that a woman may fall in love with the virtues and shining qualities of a man, and therein overlook the difference of complexion and colour. Mr Rymer has run riot against the conduct, manners, sentiments, and diction of this play; but in fuch a strain, that one is mored rather to laugh at the freedom and coarseness of his raillery, than provoked to be downright angry at his censures. To take a short sample of his criticism; -“Shakespeare in clis play calls 'em the super-subtle Venetians; yet examine thoroughly the tragedy, there is nothing in the noble Desdemona that is not below any country chambermaid with us. And thic account he gives of their nobleinen and senate, can only be calculated for the latitude of Gotham. The character of the Venetian state is to employ strangers in their wars; but Niall a poet theace fancy, that they will let a negro to be their general? or trust a Moor 10 defend them against the Turks? With us a black-a-moor night rise to be a trumpeter; but Shakespeare would not have him less than a lieu. tenant.general. With us a Moor might marty some litile
lage. But you'll not hear me.
Rod. Thou told'st me, thou didst hold him in
drab, or smallcoal wench; Shakespeare would provide him the daughter and heir of fome great lord, or privy-counsellor, and all the town should reckon it a very fuitable match. Yet the Englith are not bred up with that hatred and averfion to the Moors as are the Venetians, who suffer by a perpetual hostility from them; litora littoribus contraria. Nothing is mo:e óditus in naiure than an improbable lie, and certainly, never was any play fraught like this of Othelio with improbabilities, &c."
Thus this critic goes on ; but such reflexions require 10 ferious anftver. This !ragedy will continue to bare la ling charms enough to make us blind to fuch absurdities as the Poet thought were not worth his care.
(2) Oft capt to hiin :) Thus the oldest Quarto, and some
And let his very breath, whom thou'lt observe,
One Michael Callio; ---" the Florentine's
And, in conclusion,
"That never, &c. This pointing fets circumstances right, as I Drall immediately explain; and it gives a variety in lago reporting the behaviour of O:hello, to start into theie breaks; now, to make (thellu (peak; - then, to interrupt what Othello says, with his own private reflexions ;-----then again, to proceed with Othello's specches;--for this not only marks the inquictude of lago's mind upon the subject in hand, but likewise thews the actor in the variation of tone and gesture, whilst he (in a breath, as 't were) personates alternately Othello and himself. Besides, to come in the necellity of the change made; lago, no: Callio, was the Florentine; lage), not Callio, was the inarried man; lago's wife attends Defa demona to Cyprus; Callio las a miltrers there, a connun ftrumpet; and lago telis him in the fourthi ad;
She gives it out that you thall marry her. Which would be very absurd, if Callio had been already married at Venice. Besides, our Post follows the authority of his novel in giving the villainous ensign a fair wife. Havea fimilmente menata quelto Malvagio la dia iapl. in Cipri, In quale era bella it honestaçãowine. And it is a very good reafon for rejecting lago, because he was a married man, and might be thought too much governed by his wife to be capable of this charge. And riis was a natural objection in an uamarried general, as Othello was when he chofe his of ficers. r. lago therefore was the fellow almost damned in a fair wife; which is an expression obfcure enough to deierre a short explanation. «The Poet means, lago had fa beauti