Copies of Othello

I looked at 3 different versions of the play Othello by Shakespeare. I first looked at the First Folio which is definitely different than the millions of copies of the play floating around today. Starting off, the actual words and look of the First Folio is different than modern books or plays. I like that though; there is a definite beauty to the printing and books from back then. It’s much prettier to look at than today’s books. Besides that, the wording and spelling is slightly different (but, what can you expect? Everything changes over time). Also, an odd thing about that version is the last word, whether speech or a character’s name, is on the bottom right hand corner of the previous page. I’m not sure why they would do that; maybe as a preview for the next page.

I also looked at the Third Folio and that style is also it that version. I also noticed the spelling more in this one, like the way ‘murder’ or ‘ho’ was spelled: murther, hoa. And the shape of a ‘s’ is different too (in this one and the First Folio as well), more exaggerated and took me a second to become accustomed to. Again, I was more distracted by the actual look of the text, rather than the text. The style of writing/printing and layout of writing of that era is just prettier to look at compared to today’s works.

Finally I looked at the version in Quarto 1. Again the spelling is different, this one to me was the most different looking (I skimmed). Also this one has the thing with a word being in the bottom right hand corner. I would like to know why that was done; what was the reasoning behind it; whether it was just stylistically or grammar rules of that time period. In the three copies I looked at, I read Act 5, Scene 2; it is the climax of the whole play and the writing is very well done. All the copies were slightly different from each other, yet the same. The message of the scene came across in them all. However, compared to modern copies, they are definitely different. But, in all honesty I think I like the older translations better than modern ones.


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