Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Beware the Green-Ey'd Monster...

Laurence Fishburne and Kenneth Branagh as Othe...Image via Wikipedia
Sayeth Master Shakespeare!

And when sorrows and evils like these he must brave

His happiest homestead were down in the grave.

Sayeth Richard Francis Burton, in his version of Scheherazade's tale of
The Three Apples.

Western Tales with Eastern Roots is sticking to Shakespeare for one more week to explore Othello.

My absolute favorite villain is Iago. Not that I love bad guys, (although I do adore Kenneth Branagh) but I love the way his character so deftly propels everyone else to doom. Iago isn't even entirely to blame for the tragedy. He simply plays on Othello's weakness. Othello is the one who acts. The devil may whisper in your ear, but you're the one who's supposed to know better.

So The Three Apples goes something like this:

The Caliph and his right hand man, Ja'afar, are strolling the streets and come across a lamenting fisherman. Of course, they stop to find out the problem. The fisherman has pulled something gruesome from the river: a beautiful woman, dismembered and crammed into a reed sack. Our mighty and just Caliph decides the murderer must be found and brought to justice. Lucky for Ja'afar, he happens to be along for the walk and the job is assigned to him.

When Ja'afar starts asking questions about the woman in the reed sack, the weeping husband is brought before the Caliph. The man realizes his mistake, because his sons are all crying and confess to the tale of a missing apple. So what's the deal with the apple?

The man, whose wife had fallen ill, went off in search of special apples from a faraway orchard because she desired them. She was a good wife so he loved her dearly and would have done anything for her. When he returned, he placed the apples near her bed. While she slept, one of their children took an apple. That child ran into a slave who tricked him out of it. The husband came across said slave with the apple and questioned him about it. The slave's response? "I got it from my new lover."

Well. Who is a man to believe? The wife he loves so dearly, who can't explain where the apple went? Or the slave who has the red-hot apple from his new lover? The dead woman in the reed sack knows the answer to that queston.

But then who was the guilty slave? Why it was Ja'afar's own! (Bet you thought Ja'afar was the bad guy from Aladdin.)

Anyway...here's some fun with Othello:

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Sarah said...

I've always thought Othello was an idiot. I had to study the play at school and it drove me nuts because I despised Othello so much.

Jules said...

You finally have hit on something that totally is over my head. :) My only comment is...huh? (She says scratching her head with glassed over eyes) :D
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Carolyn Abiad said...

Really? Not getting it? The apple is the handkerchief…the husband is Othello…the slave is Iago. Of course, Shakespeare takes the story to a different level, but the theme of jealousy is there.

Golden Eagle said...

Intriguing story.

LOL to that video.

Hart Johnson said...

I totally fell of my chair. BUWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, oh beautiful. And now I'm mad that we read MacBeth instead of Othello--Othello totally sounds like a better story.

And I think that is a common theme for a lot of writers... to take an existing story and twist it around--done well enough, it leads to brilliance.

Old Kitty said...

The clip is hilarious!!! Thank you!! I knew Shakespeare was Baaaaaad!! LOL!!!

anyway!! What a gruesome story - poor wifey!! Love is truly madness!!!

Take care

Southpaw said...

Those guys in the video are great. I saw them do a rendition on Hamlet, which was awesome too.


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