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Another Audition Monologue, part the fourth

So. I am working on memorizing the two sides for Brabantio, and preparing them for the audition in three days’ time. The first is the short one, the lovely little monologue with all the changes in audience and manner.

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.

I am finding this quite easy to remember. Only a very few lines, of course, which is bound to be easy, but also there isn’t much here that is tricky. It’s six bits, and each bit is straightforward and leads into the next bit—well, it doesn’t lead into the next bit, but they are in a kind of natural order: Starting with Desdemona, then the false finish to the Duke, then the break, then the Groom and the Bride, and then the real finish to the Duke.

The second side is more difficult for me:

O thou foul thief, where hast thou stow’d my daughter? Damn’d as thou art, thou hast enchanted her; For I’ll refer me to all things of sense, if she in chains of magic were not bound, whether a maid so tender, fair and happy, so opposite to marriage that she shunned the wealthy curled darlings of our nation, would ever have to incur a general mock, run from her guardage to the sooty bosom of such a thing as thou, to fear not to delight. Judge me the world, if ’tis not gross in sense that thou hast practiced on her with foul charms, abused her delicate youth with drugs or minerals that weaken motion: I’ll have’t disputed on; ’tis probable and palpable to thinking. I therefore apprehend and do attach thee for an abuser of the world, a practiser of arts inhibited and out of warrant. Lay hold upon him: if he do resist, subdue him at his peril.

For one thing, of course, it’s twice as long. But for another, the breaks are not as clean: it’s all one piece. That’s probably where thinking about it as verse would help. If For I’ll refer me to all things of sense serves much the same purpose as Judge me the world, if ’tis not gross in sense and not altogether different from I’ll have’t disputed on; ’tis probable and palpable to thinking, they occupy a different number of feet. On the other hand, the lines so opposite to marriage that she shunned the wealthy curled darlings of our nation drop out of the verse very nicely, leaving whether a maid so tender, fair and happy would ever have… , which reads very smoothly. Of course, I adore that line—wealthy curled darlings is so lovely—so I hope I will remember to stick it in somewhere. The right place, though, would be best.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,
-Vardibidian.

Comments

One question on the second monologue. Is the opening question serious, or rhetorical? It sounds to me as if you are asking it as a rhetorical question that functions more or less as a declaration that you are here because Othello has stolen Desdemona, and it doesn't sound as if you expect an answer--there's certainly no pause long enough for Othello to put in a word if he wanted to. That's a playable interpretation, but I wondered if you have considered treating it as a real question, which might be a bit more forceful. It would also allow you to vary the rhythm, taking a longer pause after the question and then responding to Othello's silence. I would suggest that the preponderance of monosyllables invites a somewhat slower and more emphatic utterance in the first three clauses (all monosyllables except for "daughter" and "enchanted"). It sounds like you are playing against that forcefulness a bit. You might see how it feels to go with it?


Interesting point about the single-syllable words; I will think about that and try it out. I do think that it's a rhetorical question, in that it doesn't matter where Desdemona is, at that point, nor does Brabantio pursue that line. He doesn't, for instance, suggest that Othello open the house to him, nor yet inquire if she has already been put on a boat for Cyprus (where it seems to me everyone expects Othello to be sent eventually, if not that very night) nor does he shout for her to come to a window. So I think it's an accusation, rather than a question, in the scene.

On the other hand, I don't know whether Brabantio really believes, until that moment, that Desdemona is with Othello. Yes, she is absent from the house, but there's no note—her elopement with Othello is news from the obviously untrustworthy Roderigo and from the hidden/masked/shadowed figure who the audience knows is Iago, but Brabantio never sees him. There's a dreamlike quality to that scene, and I think it's not until Othello meets this accusation with serene contempt (or at least silence) that he is confirmed. So. A longer pause with an opportunity to be responded to would be appropriate. Maybe. It is, after all, a monologue, and I won't have an Othello there to not respond…

Thanks,
-V.


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