« PoprzedniaDalej »
D'UK E of Venice.
Brabanrio, a roble Venetian.
Gratiano, Brother to Brabantio.
Lodovico, Kinsman to Brabantio ond Gratiano.
Ochello, ihe 1oor, General for the Venetians in Cyprus.
C:flio, bis Lieutenant-general.
Bago, Standard-bearer to Othello.
Kodorigo, a foolish Gentleman, in love with Desdemona.
Montano, the Moor's Predecesor in the Government of Cyprus,
Clown, Servant to the Moor.
Desdemona, Daughter to Brabantio, and Wife to Othello.
Æmilia, l’ife io lago.
Bianca, Courtezan, Mijirefs to Callio.
, Medingers, Musicians, Sailers and ditendant SCINE, for the Firit Act, in Venice; during the
rest of the Play, in Cyprus..
SCENE, a Street in Venice.
That thou, Jago, who has 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 talc a document to young ladies against
disproportioned marriage; di non fe accompignare con huomo,
Cui la natura et il cielo. et il modo della vita disgiunge da noi :
That they should not link themselves to fuch, against whom
Nature, Providence, and a different way of living have in-
terpored 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 diffe-
rence 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 moved rather to
laugh at the freedom and coarseness of his raillery, than pro-
voked to be downright angry at his censures. To take a short
sample of his criticism; "Shakespeare in tliis play calls
'em the super-subtle Venetians; yet examine thoroughly the
tragedy, there is nothing in the poble Desdemona that is
not below any country chambermaid with us. And thic
account he gives of their pobleinen and fenate, can only be
calculated for the latitude of Gotham. The character of
the Venetian state is to employ strangers in their wars; but
shall a poet theace fancy, that they will set a negro to be
their general? or truita Moor to defend them against the
Turks? With us a black-a-moor night rise to be a trum-
peter; but Shakespeare would not have him less than a lieu-
tevant-general. With us a Moor might marry some litile
lage. But you'll not hear me. If ever I did dream of fuch a matter, abhor me.
Rod. Thou told'st me, thou didit hold him in lago. Defpise me,
[thy hate. If I do not.
Three great ones of this city, In personal suit to make me his lieutenant, Cfi-capp'd to him: and, by the faith of man, (2) I know niy price, I'm worth no worse a place. But he, as loving his own pride and purpose, Evades them with a bombast circumilance, Horribly fuft with epithets of war, And, in conclufion, Non-suits my mediators. “ Certes," says he, “ I have already chose my
oficer." And what was he? Forsooth, a great arithmctician, (3) drab, or finallcoal wench; Shakespeare would provide bim the daughter and heir of some great lord, or privy.counsellor, and all the town should reckon it a very suitable 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: littora littoribus contraria. No. thing is iroc odious in nature than an improbable lie, and certainly never was any play fraughi like this of Cihelio with improbabilities, &c."
Thus this critic goes on ; but such reflexions require no ferious answer. This tragedy will continue to have lasting charms enough to make uis blind to luch absurdities as the Poet thought were not worth his care.
(2) Oft capt to hiin:) Thus the oldest Quarto, and some modern editions; but I have chose to restore the reading of the first and fecond Folio impressions of cupl, i la food cap in hand, foliciting him. So, in Antony; have ever held ry cap off' to thy fortunes. And in limin;
And let his very breath, whom thou'lt obrerve,
Bilow of thy cap. (3) Forfaeth, a great arithmetician, One Michael Cafuo, a Florentine, A felle.w almo,i dam sed in a fair wife.] Thus has this par
One Michael Cassio ; (“s the Florentine's
“ A fellow alınost damn’d in a fair wife;") -
fage ignorantly been corrupted, (as Mr Warburton likevise
faw with me;) by false pcinting, and an inadvertence to
matter of fact, through the whole course of the editions,
By the by, this play was not publiiled even figly, that I
can find, till fix years after the Author's death; and by
that interval became more liable to crrors. I'll lubjoin the
correction, and then the reasons for it:
And, in conclusion,
Nonfiits my mediators : “ Certes," says he,
“ I have already chofe my officer;">
And what was he?
Forsooth, a great arithmetician,
One Michael Cassio ;-+-("the Florentine's
" A fellow almost damned in a fair wife;"'. -)
That never, &c.
This pointing fets circumstances right, as I fall immedi-
ately explain; and it gives a variety in lago reporting the
behaviour of O:hello, to start into theie breaks ; now, to
make Othello fpeak; then, to interrupt what Othello
says, with his own private reflexions ;.-~-then again, to
proceed with Othello's speeches; for this not only marks the
inquictude of lago's mind upon the subject in hand, but like-
wile fhows the actor in the variation of tone and gesure,
whilst he (in a breath, as 'cwere) perfonates alternately
Othello and himself. Besides, to come to the necellity of the
change made; lago, not Callio, was the Florentine; lage),
not Cailio, was the married man; lago's wife attends Ders
demona to Cyprus; Callio has a mistress there, a commun
strumpet; and lago telis him in the fourth act;
She gives it out that you thall marry her. Which would be very abfurd, if Callio had been already married at Venice. Bélides, our Post follows the authority of his novel in giving the villainous enlign a fair wire. Havea fimilmente menara questo Malvagio la dia Moglo in Cipri, legiale era bella ei honesta giovane. And it is a very good reafun for rejecting lago, because he was a married inan, and might be thought too much governed by his wife to be capable of this charge. And this was a natural objection in an unmarried general, as Othello was when he chose his officer's. . lago therefore was the reliow almost danned in a fair wife; which is an expression obfcure enough to deterre a Mhort cxplanation. (The Poet means, lago had so beauti