Saturday, February 16, 2008


Sandy Mack once told me that he thought there was a Shakespeare play for every era. I think the play for this era is Othello. It's got passion without thought.
There are good movie versions of the play, Oliver Parker's with Kenneth Branagh and Janet Suzman's, and there are wonderful movies based on it or involving issues from it, like O and Stage Beauty. But I have never seen a performance that highlighted one of my favorite speeches in the play, one spoken by Othello after the extent of Iago's treachery has become clear to him:
I have seen the day
That with this little arm and this good sword
I have made my way through more impediments
Than twenty times your stop. But O vain boast!
Who can control his fate? 'Tis not so now.
Be not afraid, though you do see me weaponed.
Here is my journey's end, here is my butt,
And very seamark of my utmost sail.
Do you go back dismayed? 'Tis a lost fear.
Man but a rush against Othello's breast,
And he retires.
Finally the guy realizes that he has been missing something in the way he sees the world, that the way to conquer "impediments" is not always to obliterate them.
It reminds me of the scene in the movie version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy when Arthur, Zaphod and Trillian find the point of view gun, a big gun that forces the targeted person to see the shooter's point of view, and they turn it on Trillian, who says in a tone of deep disgust "It won't work on me. I'm already a woman."

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