Notes
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= ** and passim. 2. Following F punctuation in 1. 325. 3. Following Q1 at 1. 86 and again at 91, where the exchange, "I pray. . . handkerchief!" is not inF.These latter linesmay represent playhouse interpolation, though the case for Shakespearean authority can be made. Even as an actor's addition, however, they suggest where the theatrical ex­ citement of the scene was felt to lie. 4. Reading "Faith" with Q1 at 1. 32. 5.One greatdistinction of Olivier's Othello was hissensitivity to all these levels of diction. 6. At the end of the speech, Othello's rhetorical failure is even more noticeable. Struggling to construct a coherent image of himself out of contradictory feelings,he arrivesat aseries of strained and unconvincing formulations, interrupted by gusts of emotion: O balmy breath, that dost almost persuade Justice to break her sword. One more, one more! Be thus when thou art dead, and I will kill thee, And love thee after. One more, and that's the last! So sweet was ne'er so fatal. I must weep, Notes to Chapter III But they are cruel tears. This sorrow's heavenly; It strikes where it doth love. (V, ii, 16-zz) He is trying for spaciousness and control, but the moral analysis is grotesque, his impulses break apart, he strikes uncomfortable poses. 7. I think that John Bayley is responding, ultimately, to this aspect of Shakespearean tragedy when he says, "With Shakespeare the mere fact and story of consciousness re­ places both action and idea....The usurpation bythe mind of both practical action and purposeful idea in tragedy— the mind of a murderer, a revenger, a man and woman in love—this is far from being the sum of Shakespearean trag­ edy; but it is the most important feature of Shakespeare's relations with tragic form" (Shakespeareand Tragedy [Lon­ don, 1981] p. 6). Bayley's book offers a deeply suggestive reading of the tragedies, but I cannot agree with him that consciousness "replaces" action in them. Shakespeare, in my view, sees action as inseparable from consciousness. Mind does not usurp action but interpenetrates with it, and one of Shakespeare's great contributions in tragedy is to make dramatic action out of this relation. 8.1am of course indebted here to Wilson Knight's discussion of Othello's imagery, "The Othello Music," The Wheel of Fire (London, 1965), pp. 97-119. 9. For the dialectic of "wit and witchcraft" in the play, see Robert Heilman'simportant Magicin theWeb: Action and Language in Othello (University of Kentucky Press, 1956). 10. Again, this is not to deny the strong separate interest of Desdemona. Shakespeare, in characteristic fashion, gives her a story and a mind which are in no sense exhausted by the needs of the Othello story. Perhaps most important is the way in which she becomes a center—and ultimately, by her thoughtsand actions, a measure—for thecompeting no­ tions of love which eddy through the drama. In no other Notes to Chapter IV play is Shakespeare more profoundly aware of how the sexual life of women is compromised and shaped by the imaginations of men; Desdemona acts a tragedy of her own in this arena, greater than Hedda Gabler's. But these elab­ orations, while enriching the play, are outside my subject here. More importantly, as part of the total dramatic ex­ perience, they never distract us from our engagement with Othello. CHAPTER IV: ACTING AND FEELING: HISTRIONIC IMAGERY IN KING LEAR 1. "Histrionic imagery," as I use the term, refers to any ele­ ment in the text of a playwhich clearly indicates the manner of an actor's attack, particularly to those which suggest a recurring pattern. The image can be an object or part of the body, as in the examples from Lear in the previous section, but, as we are about to see, it can also be a part of speech (Lear's reiterated exclamations), another char­ acter (the Fool as Lear addresses him), or even an emotion (Lear's sorrow as he fights to keep it down), anything, in short, which carries with it a specific mechanism or gesture of theatrical self-projection on the part of the actor who engages with it. The lists that Hamlet uses to indicate rapid emotional progressions, the exotic references and locutions that Othello incorporates into his speech, are examples of histrionic imagery.The term is inevitably fuzzy at theedges, because finally everything in a play requires histrionictreat­ ment, and so every object and...