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On the 6th of October, 1621, Thomas Walkley senate of Venice appointed the Moor to the entered at Stationers' Hall The Tragedie command of Cyprus, and that his lady deterof Othello, the Moore of Venice.' In 1622 mined to accompany him thither. Amongst Walkley published the edition for which the officers who attended upon the General he had thus claimed the copyright. It is, was an ensign, of the most agreeable person, as was usual with the separate plays, a small but of the most depraved nature. The wife quarto. It is by no means certain to our of this man was the friend of Desdemona, and minds that Walkley's edition was published they spent much of their time together. The before the folio. The usual date of that wicked ensign became violently enamoured edition is 1623 ; but there is a copy in of Desdemona; but she, whose thoughits existence bearing the date of 1622. We have, were wholly engrossed by the Moor, was however, no doubt that the copy of ‘Othello' utterly regardless of the ensign's attentions. in the folio was printed from a manuscript His love then became terrible hate, and he copy, without reference to the quarto. The resolved to accuse Desdemona to her husband folio edition is regularly divided into acts of infidelity, and to connect with the accusaand scenes; the quarto edition has not a tion a captain of Cyprus. That officer, single indication of any subdivision in the having struck a sentinel, was discharged acts, and omits the division between Acts II. from his command by the Moor; and Des. and III. The folio edition contains 163 demona, interested in his favour, endeavoured lines which are not found in the quarto, and to re-instate him in her husband's good these some of the most striking in the play : opinion. The Moor said one day to the the number of lines found in the quarto ensign, that his wife was so importunate for which are not in the folio do not amount to the restoration of the officer, that he must ten. The quarto, then, has not the merit of take him back. “If you would open your being the fuller copy. Believing the folio eyes, you would see plainer," said the ensign. to be the more genuine copy, our text, for the romance-writer continues to display the the most part, follows that authority. There perfidious intrigues of the ensign against is a quarto edition of 1630, which differs, in Desdemona. He steals a handkerchief which some readings, from both of the previous the Moor had given her, employing the editions.
agency of his own child. He contrives with When Shakspere first became acquainted the Moor to murder the captain of Cyprus, with the Moor of Venice' of Giraldi Cinthio after he has made the credulous husband (whether in the original Italian, or the listen to a conversation to which he gives a French translation, or in one of the little false colour and direction ; and, finally, the story-books that familiarised the people with Moor and the guilty officer destroy Desthe romance and the poetry of the south), he demona together, under circumstances of saw in that novel the scaffolding of ‘Othello.' great brutality. The crime is, however, There was formerly in Venice a valiant concealed, and the Moor is finally betrayed Moor, says the story. It came to pass that a by his acomplice. virtuous lady of wonderful beauty, named Mr. Dunlop, in his ‘History of Fiction,' Desdemona, became enamoured of his great has pointed out the material differences qualities and noble virtues. The Moor loved between the novel and the tragedy. He her in return, and they were married, in adds, “In all these important variations spite of the opposition of the lady's friends. Shakspere has improved on his original. In It happened too (says the story), that the a few other particulars he has deviated from it with less judgment; in most respects he state assumed the guardianship of the son has adhered with close imitation. The cha- of Catharine Cornaro, who had married the racters of lago, Desdemona, and Cassio, are illegitimate son of John III., of Lusignan, taken from Cinthio with scarcely a shade of and, being left a widow, wanted the prodifference. The obscure hints and various tection of the state to maintain the power artifices of the villain to raise suspicion in which her husband had usurped. The island the Moor are the same in the novel and was then first garrisoned by Venetian troops. the drama." M. Guizot, with the eye of Catharine, in 1489, abdicated the sovereignty real criticism, has seen somewhat further in favour of the republic. Cyprus was than Mr. Dunlop : “There was wanting retained by the Venetians till 1570, when it in the narrative of Cinthio the poetical was invaded by a powerful Turkish force, genius which furnished the actors—which and was finally subjected to the dominion of created the individuals — which imposed Selim II., in 1571. From that period it has upon each a figure and a character-which formed a part of the Turkish empire. Leimade us see their actions, and listen to their kosia, the inland capital of the island, was words—which presented their thoughts and taken by storm; and Famagusta, the prinpenetrated their sentiments :—that vivifying cipal sea-port, capitulated after a long and power which summons events to arise, to gallant defence. It is evident, therefore, progress, to expand, to be completed that that we must refer the action of Othello to creative breath which, breathing over the a period before the subjugation of Cyprus past, calls it again into being, and fills it by the Turks. The locality of the scenes with a present and imperishable life :—this after the first Act must be placed at Famawas the power which Shakspere alone pos- gusta, which was strongly fortified,-a fact sessed, and by which, out of a forgotten which Shakspere must have known, when in novel, he has made “Othello.'"
the second Scene of the third Act, he says, The republic of Venice became the virtual
“ I will be walking on the works." sovereign of Cyprus, in 1471; when the
DUKE OF VENICE.
Appears, Act I. sc. 3.
BRABANTIO, a senator; father to Desdemona.
Appears, Act I. sc. 1; sc. 2; sc. 3.
Two other Senators.
GRATIANO, brother to Brabantio.
Appears, Act V. sc. 1; sc. 2.
LODOVICO, kinsman to Brabantio.
Appears, Act IV. sc. 1; sc. 3. Act V. sc. 1; sc. 2.
Act V. sc. 1; sc. 2.
CASSIO, lieutenant to Othello.
Appears, Act I. sc. 2. Act II. sc. 1; sc. 3.
IAGO, ancient to Othello.
Appears, Act I. sc. 1; sc. 2; sc. 3. Act II. sc. 1; sc. 3. Act III. sc. 1; sc. 2; sc. 3; sc. 4. Act IV. sc. 1; sc. 2. Act V. sc. 1; sc. 2.
RODERIGO, a Venetian gentleman.
Appears, Act I. sc. 1; sc. 2; sc. 3. Act II. sc. 1; sc. 3.
MONTANO, Othello's predecessor in the
Appears, Act II. sc. 1; sc. 3. Act V. sc. 2.
Clown, servant to Othello.
Appears, Act II. sc. 2.
DESDEMONA, wife to Othello.
Appears, Act I. sc. 3. Act II. sc. 1; sc. 3. Act III. sc. 3; sc. 4. Act IV. sc. 1; sc. 2; sc. 3. Act V. sc. 2.
EMILIA, wife to Iago.
Appears, Act II. sc. 1. Act III. sc. 1; sc. 3; sc. 4. Act IV. sc. 2; sc. 3. Act V. sc. 1; sc. 2.
BIANCA, a courtezan.
Appears, Act III. sc. 4. Act IV. sc. 1. Act V. sc. 1.
SCENE,- -FOR THE FIRST ACT, IN VENICE; DURING THE REST OF THE PLAY, AT A SEA-PORT IN CYPRUS.
Enter RODERIGO and IAGO.
ROD. Never tell me, I take it much unkindly
As if the strings were thine, shouldst know of this.
a The differences of the readings of the folio of 1623, which we adopt, with few exceptions, as our text, and those of the quarto of 1622, are so numerous, that it would be out of our power, without crowding our pages beyond all reasonable limits, to indicate every slight variation. The more important we shall of course point out; and the reader may rely that we have followed the folio in all minute deviations from the common text. The line to which this note belongs is an example of one, out of many, of these slight changes. It is ordinarily written,
"Tush, never tell me, I take it much unkindly."
The folio omits tush. Was this accidental? We think not. The reading,
"Never tell me, I take it much unkindly,"
is somewhat more in Roderigo's vein.