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-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.

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Bradley, A. C. Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth.
2nd ed. London: Macmillan, 1905.
PAGE 438

such furious indignation ('Out, strumpet! Weep'st thou for him to my face?') that 'it is too late.'

     (2) V. ii. 286 f.

   Oth.  I look down towards his feet; but that's a fable.
If that thou be'st a devil, I cannot kill thee. [Wounds Iago
   Lod.  Wrench his sword from him.
   Iago.                            I bleed, sir, but not killed.

Are Iago's strange words meant to show his absorption of interest in himself amidst so much anguish? I think rather he is meant to be alluding to Othello's words, and saying, with a cold contemptuous smile, 'You see his is right; I am a devil.'




     I have said that the last scene of Othello, though terribly painful, contains almost nothing to diminish the admiration and love which heighten our pity for the hero (p. 198). I said 'almost' in view of the following passage (V. ii. 123 ff.):

   Emil.  O, who hath done this deed?
   Des.  Nobody; I myself. Farewell:
Commend me to my kind lord: O, farewell!  [Dies.    Oth.  Why, how should she be murder'd?1
   Emil                              Alas, who knows?
   Oth.  You heard her say herself, it was not I.
   Emil.  She said so: I must needs report the truth.
   Oth.  She's, like a liar, gone to burning hell:
'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.

This is a strange passage. What did Shakespeare mean us to feel? One is astonished that Othello should not be startled, nay thunder-struck, when he hears such dying words coming from the lips of an obdurate adulteress. One is shocked by the moral blindness or obliquity which takes them only as a further sign of her worthlessness. Here alone, I think, in the scene sympathy with Othello quite disappears. Did Shake-

   1He alludes to her cry, 'O falsely, falsely murder'd!'

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