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Subject: Re: The Mystery of Iniquity
From: William Fregosi <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Tue, 4 Mar 1997 20:18:40 EST

text/plain (36 lines)

To Jane Bishop and List--

Jane wonderfully brings Iago into the discussion of Scarpia, just as Scarpia
invokes Iago in Act One just as Tosca makes her second entrance.  Scarpia
seems to me to be somewhat modeled on Iago and I agree that there is a par-
ticularly sadistic streak in both that we need to be much more informed about
than we are in order to understand the character fully.

The creator of Iago and his audience, however, didn't need to know more.  They
accepted pure Evil as a reality and asked few further questions.  Several of
Shakespeare's characters share this quality--Richard III is another--and all,
it seems to me, descend to some extent from the devils of the medieval re-
ligious dramas which were the ancestors of Shakespeare's work.  Richard's
famous grotesque appearance even mimics that of the devils and while Iago (and
Don John in MUCH ADO, Edmund in LEAR, et al.) do not, the understanding of
character at the time allowed for certain very broad types with not a lot of
psychological subtlety.

The miracle, of course, is that Shakespeare made such a break-through with most
of his characters.  But he did seem content to accept the old stage devil-
villain when it suited his purposes.  My point stands (and thank you, Jane, for
acknowledging it) that we now know more about character development and should
 not accept crude, broad character types in either our plays or our operas.

Bill Fregosi
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