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An Allegory of Othello Charles Creighton

An Allegory of Othello

Charles Creighton

Published November 13th 2013
ISBN : 9781493759699
Paperback
144 pages
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 About the Book 

An excerpt from the Introduction:The allegory of Othello is indeed the tragedy of the Sacrament. It was not the first time that the saving victim had been brought upon the stage. There was an old mystery-play, called The Play of the BlessedMoreAn excerpt from the Introduction:The allegory of Othello is indeed the tragedy of the Sacrament. It was not the first time that the saving victim had been brought upon the stage. There was an old mystery-play, called The Play of the Blessed Sacrament of which a copy is preserved in the library of Trinity College, Dublin. Collier has given some account of it in his chapter on the History of the English Stage to the Time of Shakespeare. The host is brought into the action as a miraculous cake, which yields blood when stabbed, and turns red the water of the cauldron in which it is boiled, and when thrown into an oven bursts asunder and gives out the figure of the Saviour, who rises from the fumes and speaks to the sacrilegious company of Jews, like the artificial sprites rising and speaking from the cauldron in Macbeth. The date of this quaint play is supposed to be the reign of Henry VI. or Edward IV. It happens that the same Dublin library contains Hookers MS. draft of a reply to his anonymous critic, of which several folios are devoted to the Sacraments. In a word, he says, Sacraments are Gods secrets, discovered to none but His own people, and in support of that large meaning he cites Tertullian and St. Augustine, the former actually speaking of the sacrainentum, or secret, of an allegory, and of sacramenta contained in allegorical figures such as that of Hagar and Mount Sinai, which St. Paul borrowed from Philo. From this generic usage. Hooker passes to Sacraments as visible signs or tokens of invisible grace. One need not assume that Shakespeare had seen either the MS. play of the Blessed Sacrament, or Hookers reply to his critic, both of which afterwards found their way to Trinity College, Dublin, or that he otherwise knew Tertullians large meaning of sacramentum, although I can show, and have elsewhere given the proof, that he knew of the allegorisings of Philo. But we can as little set bounds to his discursive reading and thinking as to the flights of his imagination- nor can we ignore the dependence of the latter on the former. To allegorise the Sacrament was to turn the name to its original use. To bring the allegory upon the stage without its real presence being discovered was to do in a poetical way what had been done before in a gross way. At all events, the play of the divine Desdemona is the play of the Blessed Sacrament in certain circumstances of time and place.