I was flipped through the First Folio today (ya know, like ya do) because I’d become intrigued over the spelling of people’s names. I noticed for the first time that the web navigator I work with had a page labelled “Names of the Actors” deep near the end, next to Antony and Cleopatra, and I got excited. Ooo! Is that a list of which actors played which roles?
Nope, alas, it is just what we now see referred to as the “Dramatis Personae”, the list of characters in the play. In this case it’s actually at the end of the previous play, Othello. Not really “names of actors”, I feel ripped off.
But then I noticed this:
What the heck is that sequence of symbols under the heading? Looks like two smilies (or emoticons if you kids are calling it that these days) facing opposite directions. But what of the stars in the middle? It’s not even three in a row, two of them are super scripted. Looks a little bit like a skull face.
I’m going to call it Othello and Desdemona, kept apart by the demonic Iago.
Who’s got a better interpretation? Does this kind of sequence appear elsewhere? I checked a few pages and did not see it.