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Another Audition Monologue, part the second

So, the first side I am preparing for my Othello audition: Brabantio’s heartbreak:

God be wi’ you! I have done. Please it your grace, on to the state-affairs: I had rather to adopt a child than get it. Come hither, Moor: I here do give thee with all my heart that which, but thou hast already, with all my heart I would keep from thee. For your sake, jewel, I am glad at soul I have no other child: for thy escape would teach me tyranny, to hang clogs on them. I have done, my lord.

So what I love about these lines is the amazing variety. Let me break it down for myself:

God be wi’ you! Is this to Desdemona? I think it is. It’s that sort of greeting-parting thing to say, and I think he’s dismissing her, saying, in our modern pronunciation: Goodbye. What is he wanting from her? Shock and regret, surely. A return? No, I don’t think so at this point. Just a confirmation that he can still hurt her as she has hurt him.

I have done. If that’s right, then this is a continuation of the first: Goodbye, ex-daughter, I am all done with you. Alternately, it’s a more simple statement that he is done with the accusation against Othello: he is also giving up the hope that they can be unmarried. In that case, who is it addressed to? Not to Desdemona, presumably. To Othello? To the Duke? I think probably Othello, if that’s the interpretation.

Please it your grace, on to the state-affairs Obviously this is addressed to the Duke; if we accept the second interpretation it falls naturally after his withdrawing the suit-at-law. If I stick with the earlier interpretation, then it’s a complete change: I am done with being a father to you, I am turning my back on you and attending to business. In either case, of course, it’s a sham—he can’t do it, not yet…

I had rather to adopt a child than get it. …because he turns back from business to fatheration; another stab at Desdemona (who presumably has not sufficiently indicated pain yet) although it is notionally addressed to the Duke or perhaps even to one of the other fellows circumjacent, which further emphasize his inability to keep up his pose.

Come hither, Moor: I here do give thee with all my heart Hm. It would be effective if Othello is not directly addressed at all until this point. At any rate, it’s another attempt to put an end to the fathering part. He is saying that he now puts his whole heart into thrusting away his ex-daughter, but of course he’s also simply making a conventional father-in-law insincerity.

that which, but thou hast already, with all my heart I would keep from thee. And he can’t finish it, can’t maintain the pose.

For your sake, jewel, He turns again to Desdemona. Is he calling her a pet name out of cruelty here? Or is it his own weakness? Or—far more devastating if one could get away with it—does he not even realize that he is using his usual endearment until it is out of his mouth?

I am glad at soul I have no other child: for thy escape would teach me tyranny, to hang clogs on them. Another stab at the ex-daughter. Clearly addressed to her. An interesting thing about this line is how weakly it ends. Hang clogs on them? I mean, no, we’re not talking about shoes, but still, he is only imagining slowing them down, not, f’r’ex, locking them in the tall tower. His imagined vengeance doesn’t go as far as violence—he still husbands his imaginary daughters, rather than punishing them.

I have done, my lord. And now he really is done. Exhausted. Broken. He’ll die, soon, pure grief shore his old thread in twain. He is turning the scene over to the Duke with this line, and the Duke’s half-hearted attempt to bring him back to life and interest does not succeed.

So. Six changes of address in ten lines of verse, there are a couple of changes of direction within those. It’s pretty fucking awesome as a monologue, is what I’m saying.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,
-Vardibidian.

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