breaf & idea
By the time Emilia points out that the failings women regularly stand accused of are merely reflections of men’s worse ones — “The ills we do, their ills instruct us so” — it’s too late for Desdemona.She has made her bed and will die in it. I left “Othello” thinking, oddly enough, about Vice President Mike Pence and other politicians who observe the “Billy Graham rule,” not allowing themselves, even at work, to be alone with women who aren’t their wives.
That idea came into relief, in both senses, in “Little Shop” and “Private Lives,” the sour Noël Coward comedy of divorce and infidelity. But it became most obvious when the tragedy of “Othello” flipped into the comedy of “Merry Wives.”The absurd fear harbored by Mr. Ford that his wife is sleeping with Falstaff is matched only by Falstaff’s absurd fantasy that Mistress Ford and her bestie, Mistress Page, are gaga for him.