Belief affects every aspect of our lives, said English Professor Peter Stallybrass. He was addressing a group of students, faculty, alumni, and patrons of the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts before a performance of Shakespeares Othello by the Guthrie Theater of Minneapolis, which was on campus in March.
Stallybrass is also co-director of the Penn Humanities Forum, which has chosen belief as its organizing theme for 2003-2004. His talk was one of several special events at Annenberg that supplemented the Guthries performances; it also featured a dinner catered by Bitars Middle Eastern restaurant. (The production was set in Cyprus.)
Othello asks, What is trust? and What does it mean to have trust? Stallybrass continued, in his soft British accent. Love is more about belief than we can imagine. Love is like seeing the structure of the universe. When love fades, things fall apart. Shortly before Iago begins weaving his web of deception, Othello says to Desdemona, When I love thee not, chaos is come again.
Why does Othello lose his belief? Its the notion of trusting, putting yourself into someone elses place, Stallybrass said to the hushed audience outside Zellerbach Auditorium. Its the notion of the fear of putting yourself in someone elses hands; Iago doesnt have that much work to do. The thing with jealousy is: what you cant know is what another person is thinking. Patrick Brugh C05
2004 The Pennsylvania Gazette
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