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Emil. [within] My lord, my lord! what ho! my lord!
Oth. What noise is this?--Not dead! not yet quite
Emil. [within] What ho! my lord, my lord!
Who 's there? Emil. [within] O, good my lord, I would speak a
word with you. Oth. Yes;~'tis Emilia :-by and by-She's dead. 'Tis like she comes to speak of Cassio's death; The noise was high.-Ha! no more moving ? Still as the grave. Shall she come in? Were 't good? I think, she stirs again :-No.-What 's the best? If she come in, she 'll sure speak to my wife:-My wife! my wife! what wife?
-I have no wisc:2 0, insupportable! O heavy hour!3 Methinks, it should be now a huge eclipse Of sun and moon; and that the affrighted globe Should yawn at alteration. Emil." (within] I do beseech you I may speak with
Oth. I had forgot thec: O, come in, Emilia :-
[Unlocks the Door.
The statute was necessary; for not only the ancient moralities, but the plays (those of Chapman in particular) abound with the most wanton and shocking repetitions of a name which never ought to be mentioned in such an irreverend manner on the stage. Steevens.
The alteration was undoubtedly made by the Master of the Revels. Malone.
My wife! my wife! what zvife ?-I have no rife:] “Filium unicum adolescentulum habeo: ah! quid dixi habere me? imo habui, Chreme.” Ter. Heautont. Steevens.
30 heavy hour!] In the first scene of this Act we have - a heavy night.” This epithet likewise occurs in a sense somewhat unusual in Letters from the Paston Family, Vol. II, p. 193: “ – it is demyd yt my Lady wolde herafter be the rather anyn hevy Lady for yt delyng Steevens.
But now, my lord !
Emil, Cassio, my lord, has kill'd a young Venetian,
No, Cassio is not kill'd.
Des. O, falsely, falsely murder'd!5
4. It is the very error of the moon ;
She comes more near the earth than she was wont ;
And makes men mad.] So, in The Play of the Wether, by John Heywood, 4to. bl. 1:
“ On my fayth I think the moone be at the full,
Steevens. $ 0, fulsely, fulsely murder'd!] It cannot be supposed that a person who had been effectually strangled or smothered, could speak again; for if the powor of breathing returned after the instrument of suffocation was removed, no act of violence had in reality taken place by which the conclusion of life could be brought on. But such is the peculiar fate of Desdemona, that she is supposed to be smothered, revives to acquaint us that she smothered herself, and then dies without any ostensible cause of death. I am of opinion that some theatrical direction has been omitted; and that when Othello says,
Not dead? not yet quite dead?
“ So, so! Ile then stabs her, repeating the two last words, as he repeats the blow. Thus, Virgil:
sic, sic juvat ire sub umbras." After the repetition of wounds, Desdemona might speak again, with propriety, and yet very soon expire; as says Cassio of Roderigo :
even but now he spake, “ After long seeming dead." The first resolution of Othello was to poison her, but from this measure he is dissuaded by the policy of Jago. He is next deterinined to use the poniard; but, his tenderness awaking, he
Alas! what cry is that? Oth. That! what?
Emil. Out, and alas! that was my lady's voice:-
Des. A guiltless death I die.
O, who hath done
Des. Nobody; I myself; farewel:
Oth. Why, how should she be murder'd ?
Alas, who knows?
Oth. She 's, like a liar, gone to burning hell ;6 'Twas I that kill'd her. Emil.
O, the more angel she, And you the blacker devil !
Oth. She turn’d to folly, and she was a whore.?
cannot bear to deform those beauties which he had so often approached with other sensations, and for different purposes. Therefore, says he,
I'll not shed her blood,
“ And smooth as monumental alabaster. " And this resolution we are to imagine he would have kept, but that he was averse to employing those means again, which had already appeared to be uncertain in their effect.
If this apparent want of a play-house direction had occasioned any absurdity in the original representation of the play, probably it is glanced at by Ben Jonson in The Alchemist, Act V: “ Didst hear a cry, said'st thou ? Yes, sir, like unto a man that had been strangled an hour, and could not speak.” Steevens.
The Alchemist was first represented in the year 1610, and this passage is found in the original copy printed in that year.
Malone She's, like a liar, gone to burning hell;] Here is nothing faulty in this passage, but it may be read
She 's, like a liar, gone to burn in hell. The vulgar denunciation of future vengeance is, I think, you 'll burn in hell for this. Whalley. So, in King Richard II: “That hand shall burn in never-quenching fire, -"
Steevens. 7 She turn’d to folly, and she was a whore.] Folly, signifies here, as in the sacred writings, depravity of mind. So, in our author's Rape of Lucrece:
Emil. Thou dost belie her, and thou art a devil.
Thou art rash as fire, to say That she was false ; (, she was heavenly true!
Oth. Cassio did tup her; ask thy husband else.
Emil. My husband?
Ay, with Cassio.
Emil. My husband?
Ay, 'twas he that told me first;?
My husband? Oth. What needs this iterance,? woman? I say, thy
husband. Emil3 O mistress, villainy hath made mocks with
“Her sad behaviour feeds his vulture folly.” Malone. So, in Deuteronomy, xxii, 21: " she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore” &c. Steedens.
-false as water.] As water that will support no weight, nor keep any impression. Johnson.
this extremity;] Perhaps our author wrote to this extreme. The measure demands a shorter word than the former, Thus, in Romeo and Juliet:
“ 'Twixt my extremes and me this bloody knife
that told me first;] The folio reads--that told me on her first. Steevens. iterance, ] Thus the folio. The quarto reads-iteration.
Steevens. Emil.] The first quarto omits this and the following speech.
Steevens. · villainy hath made mocks with love! ] Villainy has taken advantage to play upon the weakness of a violent passion.
My husband say, that she was false?
Emil. If he say so, may his pernicious soul Rot half a grain a day! he lies to the heart; She was too fond of her most filthy bargain.
Emil. Do thy worst :
Peace, you were best.
Enter MONTANO, GRATIANO, and Iago. Mon. What is the matter!-How now, general? Emil. O, are you come, Iago? you have done well, That ni en must lay their murders on your neck.
Gra. That is the matter?
I mil. Disprove this villain, if thou be’st a man:
I have sometimes thought that these words might mean that, "villainy hath play'd on its object under a pretence of kindness.” So, in Macbeth:
the surfeited grooms “ Do mock their charge with snores. But in this I have very little confidence. Malone. 5 Thou hast not half the power to do me harm,
As I have to be hurt.] She means to say, I have in this cause power to endure more than thou hast power to inflict.
Johnson This sentiment is more expanded in King Henry VIII:
· I am able now, methinks,
“ Than my weak-hearted enemies dare offer." Again, in King Henry VI, Part II:
“ More can I bear than you dare execute." of this last line there is no trace in the old play on which Shak. speare formed The Second Part of King Henry VI. Malone.