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PROBAL. Act II., Sc. 3.
“Probal to thinking." Probal is an abbreviation for probable, but Shakspere is the
only writer, we believe, who has used it. QUAT. Act V., Sc. 1.
“I have rubb'd this young quat almost to the sense.' A quat is a provincial word for a pimple or pustule, Jonson
says, used in the midland counties. REPROBANCE. Act V., Sc. 2.
“ And fall to reprobance.” Reprobance is reprobation; which latter word indeed is used
in the quarto edition of this play; and iteration in that edition stands iterance in the speech of Othello in the pre
ceding page. Riches. Act II., Sc. 1.
“ The riches of the ship is come on shore."
“ And for that riches where is my deserving." SAGITTARY. Act I., Sc. 1.
“Lead to the Sagittary the raised search.” The Sagittary was not an inn, as has been generally supposed,
but the residence at the arsenal of the commanders of the navy and army of the republic. It is possible -that-Shakspere might have seen the figure of an archer with his rawn
bow, over the gates, which even yet indicates the pla4 2. SECT. Act I., Sc. 3.
“That you call love, to be a sect or scion.” Sect is a section, what in horticulture is now called a cutting. SIEGE. Act 1., Sc. 2.
“From men of royal siege.” Siege, from the French, is a seat or chair. A royal siege
would be a throne, as siége d'un juge is the judge sench,
and le saint siége, the papal see. STUFF. Act I., Sc. 2.
“Yet do I hold it very stuff o'the conscience.” Stuff' is matter, material, not in the sense of something worth
less. It is the very substance of the conscience. SUCCESS. Act III., Sc. 3.
“My speech should fall into such vile success." Success is here used in the sense of succession, consequence.
Act III., Sc. ?
“I'll have the work ta'en out.” Tu'en out is not here used for obliterating or destroying the
work, but for having it copied ; this is seen from the address of Cassio to Bianca (Scene 4), “ take me this work out,” and
“I like the work well. . I'll have it copied." Twi Act II., Sc. 3.
“ I'll beat the knave into a twiggen bottle.”
Bottle formed of twigs or wicker. UNHC JED. Act I., Sc. 2.
“I would not my unhoused free condition.” There have been several explanations of unhoused, but it
appears to us to be simply used for unmarried. The husband is the head or band of the house-the unmarried is unhouse-banded—the unhoused.
PLOT AND CHARACTERS.
In the Italian novels of Giraldi Cinthio, there is one entitled "Th Mooi of Venice.' Unquestionably Shakspere found in tha popular tale the scaffolding of Othello. There was formerly in Venice a valiant Moor, says the story. It came to pass that a virtuous lady of wonderful beauty, named Desdemona, became enamoured of his great qualities and noble virtues. The Moor loved her in return, and they were married in spite of the opposition of the lady's friends. It happened too (says the story), that the senate of Venice appoini : the Moor to the command of Cyprus, and that his lasie; determined to accompany him thither. Amongst the officers who attended upon the General was an ensigy, of the most agreeable person, but of the most depraved nature. The wife of this man was the friend of Desdemona, and they spent much of their time together. The wicked ensign became violently enamoured of Desdemona ; but she, whose thoughts were wholly engrossed by the Moor, was utterly regardless of the ensign's attentions. His love then
became terrible hate, and he resolved to accuse Desdemona to her husband of infidelity, and to connect with the accusation a captain of Cyprus. That officer, having struck a sentinel, was discharged from his command by the Moor; and Desdemona, interested in his favour, endeavoured to reinstate him in her husband's good opinion. The Moor said one day to the ensign, that his wife was so importunate for the restoration of the officer, that he must take him back. “If you would open your eyes, you would see plainer," said the ensign. The romance-writer continues to display the perfidious intrigues of the ensign against Desde
He steals a handkerchief which the Moor had given her, employing the agency of his own child. He contrives with the Moor to murder the captain of Cyprus, after he has made the credulous husband listen to a conversation to which he gives a false colour and direction; and, finally, the Moor and the guilty officer destroy Desdemona together, under circumstances of great brutality. The crime is, however, concealed, and the Moor is finally betrayed by his accomplice.
M. Guizot bas pointed out, with his usual judgment, the great essential difference between the novel and the drama:-“There was wanting in the narrative of Cinthio the poetical genius which furnished the actors -- which created the individuals—which imposed upon each a figure and a character—which made us see their actions, and listen to their words—which presented their thoughts and penetrated their sentiments that vivifying power which summons events to arise, to progress, to expand, to be completed :-that creative breath which, breathing over the past, calls it again into being, and fills it with a present and imperishable life :—this was the power which Shakspere alone possessed, and by which, out of a forgotten novel, he has made 'Othello.""
The poetical genius, thus evolving the highest exhibition of human action out of the commonest materials, was first employed in the creation of individual character. When we understand the prominent distinctions in the characters of Othello, and Desdemona, and Iago, we perceive what the idea of Shakspere was in the composition of this one of his four great tragedies. Othello was of an enthusiastic temperament, confiding, loving,-most sensitive to opinion, jealous of his honour,—truly wise, had he trusted to his own pure impulses.—But he was most weak, in adopting an evil opinion against his own faith, and conviction, and proof, in his reliance upon the honesty and judgment of a man whom he really doubted and had never proved. Desdemona is a being of the most exquisite purity, but with an impressibility of character which fitted her to become the victim of the calculating wickedness of Iago. It is a part of the admirable knowledge of human nature possessed by Shakspere, that Iago does not, even for a moment, entertain the thought of tampering with the virtue of Desdemona, either through Cassio, or Roderigo, or any other instrument. Coleridge has boldly and truly said that “Othello does not kill Desdemona in jealousy, but in a conviction forced upon him by the almost superhuman art of Iago—such a conviction as any man would and must have entertained who had believed Iago's honesty as Othello did. We, the audience, know that Iago is a villain from the beginning; but, in considering the essence of the Shaksperean Othello, we must perseveringly place ourselves in his situation, and under his circumstances.”