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DUKE of Venice.
BRABANTIO, a noble Venetian.
GRATIANO, Brother to Brabantio.
LODOVICO, Kinsman to Brabantio and Gratiano.
OTHELLO, the Moor, General for the Venetians in Cyprus.
IAGO, Standard-bearer to Othello.
RODORIGO, a foolish Gentleman, in love with Desdemona.
MONTANO, the Moor's Predecessor in the Government of Cyprus. Clown, Servant to the Moor.
DESDEMONA, Daughter to Brabantio, and Wife to Othello.
BIANCA, Courtezan, Mistress to Cassio.
Officers, Gentlemen, Messengers, Musicians, Sailors, and Attendants.
SCENE, for the First Act, in Venice; during the rest of the Play, in Cyprus.
SCENE-a Street in Venice.
Enter RODORIGO and IAGO.
Rodorigo. Never tell me, I take it much unkindly, (1)
Though I would not be understood to assert that all the plays of Shakspeare are to be explained by a reference to appearances in the moon, yet, lest it should be thought that the coincidences pointed out between those appearances and the plays contained in the second volume, ought to be attributed to accident rather than design; before other matters are entered upon towards the end of this volume, I shall offer an elucidation of two more of his plays, Othello, and the Merchant of Venice, by the same method as before; and the reader is requested to keep the two former volumes at his side, as the figures contained therein will be often referred to, and sometimes the notes.
(1) Rodorigo has the same original as Hudibras, with whose figure in the moon the reader must be now well acquainted. In the dramatis personæ of the folio edition Rodorigo is called a gulled gentleman, and if the shadows composing his person are viewed horizontally with his head on the right hand, they will be seen to resemble a gull, as drawn in fig. 76.
That thou Iago, who hast had my purse,
If ever I did dream of such a matter, abhor me,
Rod. Thou told'st me, thou didst hold him in Iago. Despise me,
[thy hate. If I do not. Three great ones of this city, In personal suit to make me his lieutenant, Off capp'd to him; and, by the faith of man, I know my price, I'm worth no worse a place. But he, as loving his own pride and purpose, Evades them with a bombast circumstance, Horribly stuft with epithets of war,
And, in conclusion,
mediators. Certes, says he,
I have already chose my officer.
And what was he?
Forsooth, a great arithmetician, (3)
(2) Iago is the same as Hudibras's Squire, Ralpho: his countenance in the map of the moon is well worthy of having such a character as Iago's engrafted on it; his prototype is, in fact, often in this play, as well as in those of the second volume, assimilated to the devil.
(3) A great arithmetician. Cassio is the same as Laertes in Hamlet, drawn ante in fig. 57; and it may be seen in the map of the moon, (as frequently observed in former notes,) that divers arithmetical figures, or what fancy may easily take to be such, are marked on his person there.