How A Shakespeare Nerd Reads A Catalog

Wednesday, March 10, 2010
This morning I sat eating cereal while flipping through a Bed Bath And Beyond catalog. Other than the guilt brought about by being too lazy to retrieve my newspaper and the fact that catalogs are boring reading, everything was going well. Until I saw this:

That's a bedding set named "Othello."

Do you know what happens in beds in Othello? People are MURDERED! According to many stagings of Othello, Othello murders Desdemona using a pillow. Emilia is laid out next to the dead Desdemona on the bed after she stabbed by Iago, and she dies in the bed. And, Othello stabs himself, kisses Desdemona and then also dies on the bed. In fact, the very last lines of the play, spoken by Lodovico to Iago, start as such:
O Spartan Dog,
More fell than anguish, hunger, or the sea!
Look on the tragic loading of this bed.
This is thy work
Let it be hid. Gratiano, keep the house.
[The bed curtains are drawn]

That's right. The tragic loading of this bed. In fact, the text seems to imply that Othello and Desdemona, who started the play deeply in love with one another, never consummated their marriage. So, that means that the only thing they did together on the bed was die.

Remind me again why you would want a bedding set named for this play?

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