Here’s the answer: William Shakespeare’s “Othello” is a classic tragic love story. At the heart of the story lies a simple object, a handkerchief (“with a strawberry pattern”), that summons up ideas of love, broken promises and possible infidelity.
(Also for Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "Q" is for Sergeant Quade)
Here’s this week’s Berownial quiz question. I wrote the following scenelet thinking it might remind you of a famous Shakespeare play. Which play?
On an important army base, the wife of the general pays a visit to Master Sergeant Quade.
“Sit down, please, sergeant. This is nothing military; I just wanted to ask a favor of you.”
“Well, when you’re a humble soldier, ma’am, and the general’s wife drops in to see you, you have a tendency to stand at attention.”
“‘Humble soldier,’ Master Sergeant? Everyone knows that you’re the one who really runs things around this base.”
“Always in the service of your husband, ma’am. What can I do for you?”
“Well, this is going to seem odd. It’s a bit embarrassing because it’s going to sound so trivial but believe me it’s important.”
“I hope I’ll be able to help.”
“Let me amplify. It has to do with an item, a gift - in fact the very first gift my husband gave me, long before we got married. It’s a handkerchief.”
“I knew this would seem rather foolish. But it’s an unusual handkerchief; it has a special significance for both of us. I carry it with me everywhere. I’m almost never without it.”
“And now it’s lost.”
“Exactly. I don't mean to moan about it, but you see it doesn’t have just sentimental value; it’s actually a kind of expensive work of art. A silk handkerchief with a pattern of strawberries.”
“Is it possible it’s not lost; maybe someone took it?”
“Yes, that thought had occurred to me. I asked around and someone suggested, ‘Ask Sergeant Quade. There’s nothing going on around the base that he doesn’t know about.’”
“I can see it’s important to you, ma’am. I’ll do my best to find it.”
“And it’s important to the general; it’s like a fable, part of his Moorish background I suppose. He expects me to have it with me wherever I go. It sort of symbolizes our marriage. It's not just that he'd criticize; he’d be very upset if I lost it.”
The most interesting thing about this conversation is that all the while Quade is talking with the general’s wife - he has the handkerchief in his pocket.
(Also submitted to Sunday Scribblings)