To Othello!

Iago As English Diplomacy

othello picture

Francis Bacon succeeded in creating characters in his dramas- stories within stories -and we need to know at least a bit about them in order to be knowledgeable of the Myths that constitute the history of our culture and shine light on our present predicaments.

The famous Iago, from the play "Othello, The Moor Of Venice" is one such character.

IRISH PROVERB: "If two neighbors are fighting in the morning, it means that an Englishman spent the night with one of them"

IMHO-this is a play, consciously and purposefully about the masterful duplicity and the staggering success of English diplomacy, characterized by Iago: the ability to create war. It also carries forward the Shakespearean theme of hatred of women, dare I make so bold. Desdemona, like sweet Ophelia, fares rather poorly at the hands of her female friends and (male) lover(s). Iago's wife seems a bit of a Lady Macbeth. The horrible death of Desdemona goes on forever. These are my preliminary impressions- subject to revision!

It's another brutal ending...all because of a hankerchief. (This play has been criticized since the late 1600's (!) as improbable and unrealistic, is continually revived on the stage and re-filmed as well. another massive hit. Something about the "power of it's language" as one critic put it.

The standard interpretation and scholarly discussions of 'Othello' typically circle around race and jealousy, naturally because they are so front and center. Incomplete. Race is a cover story. HIDING is the theme of English Diplomacy- Iago, the manipulator, the puppet master, the hidden force of events. It's a handbook as such, for future English Diplomats. Sadly, I jest not.

"I am not what I am" Iago

I promise to read the Oxford intro- I just finished the play and the minutae of this Oxford edition is incredible...almost every word is discussed and historicized and explained. Such is Shakespeare Scholarship. Every scrap is considered important. I'm watching the Laurence Olivier version FREE on Youtube. It looks good so far. (NOTE: It's not good, but it's a faithful adaptaton. Far far better is Orson Welle's masterful 1951 version on Criterion. Welles mercifully shortens the play and makes it what it is- a horror movie. The subtleties of the 'diplomacy' are not complete, but you'll get the picture. (The commentary by Meisel and Bogdanovich is well worth the time)

Here's a copy of the play from Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC, not far from where the world's tallest Obelisk stands- The Washington Monument.

Try and watch the movie while you also read along. It's kinda fun...if you are a language nerd...MIT full play version. It will take a lot longer and drive anyone else in the room crazy! Fair warning. Hey- you too can be a nerd!

On Independence Day, July 4, 1848, the Freemasons laid the cornerstone of the Washington Monument. There's a penis over DC! OK OK a phallus. Whatever.

Had Britain not declared war on Germany in 1914, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and India would not have followed the Mother Country in.

Nor would Britain’s ally Japan. Nor would Italy, which London lured in with secret bribes of territory from the Habsburg and Ottoman empires.

Nor would America have gone to war had Britain stayed out. Germany would have been victorious, perhaps in months.

There would have been no Lenin, no Stalin, no Versailles, no Hitler, no Holocaust.”

- The Unnecessary War, by Pat Buchanan



For, sir,
It is as sure as you are Roderigo,
Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago;
In following him, I follow but myself.
Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,
But seeming so for my peculiar end.
For when my outward action doth demonstrate
The native act and figure of my heart
In complement extern, ’tis not long after
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
For daws to peck at. I am not what I am.

Iago, "Othello"

OF SIMULATION AND DISSIMULATION BY FRANCIS BACON from "Essays" 1597 Simulation and Dissimulation

Stay strong! Salud! RF