othello introduction

14Like Hall, physician and travel writer Andrew Boorde, whose First Book of the Introduction of Knowledge (1547) describes the customs of various Mediterranean peoples, uses the term "Moor" to identify the racially varied residents of Barbary and to indicate their uniform religious difference from his own Christianity: "Barbary is a great countrey, and plentyfull of frute, wine, & corne. How to cite this article: Mabillard, Amanda. When he first lands in Cyprus with Desdemona and Emilia, for example, Iago answers the elaborate gallantry of Cassio's greeting by locating in its ritual language and gestures a licentious undercurrent of which its speaker is apparently unaware. Synopses and commentary - Scene by scene synopsis, commentary and analysis of the entire play. . closes with Iago giving a soliloquy introducing his plan to make Othello lose faith in his wife. Despite the fact that these men are completely opposite in character, Iago commands such persuasive powers that he literally starts to affect Othello’s thinking, altering the figures of speech he uses and his perceptions of those close to him.

A parallel slip occurs in Boorde's description of the characteristics of "Moores," as he veers without comment or change of tone from physical description--noting details about hair and skin texture, for instance--to hasty generalization about morality and behavior: "thei be set most comonli to vile thynges.".
Ed. consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Desdemona's simple inquiry about Cassio's whereabouts--"Do you know, sirrah, where Lieutenant Cassio lies?" Coryate's 1611 account of a trip through continental Europe purports to offer an eyewitness account of Venice's glamorous courtesans, juxtaposing the ostensible wealth and freedom of their lifestyles with the drab existence of ordinary Venetian wives who are depicted as jealously over-managed by watchful husbands (see Contextual Materials: Coryat's Crudities). "An old black ram / Is tupping your white ewe," proclaims Iago to Brabantio, "your daughter and the Moor are making the beast with two backs.". He concludes this speech by saying “Hell and night/ Must bring this monstrous birth to the world's light,” comparing Othello and Desdemona's marriage to a “monster birth,” while equating himself and his deceptions to Satan.

. . . It is worth noting too that while the Duke seems primarily concerned to reconcile Brabantio to Desdemona's marriage because their domestic upheaval risks disrupting state business, his response to the news of the lovers' elopement also suggests that he sees Othello as a reasonable match for a Venetian Senator's daughter. 12Even as it asks readers and audiences to consider challenging questions about gender and power, Othello also demands a focus on complex matters of racialized and religious difference. 21Of course, Iago's machinations exploit not only the instabilities of language but also the limits of sense perception as he stage-manages for Othello dramatic encounters with Cassio and then between Cassio and Bianca. Othello is one of Shakespeare's great tragedies, a play about passionate love and villainous deception.By delving into this revenge drama, we encounter a world that seems distant but familiar - a cultural context that we're far removed from, but themes that we intuitively understand. . The play is so spellbinding because of the contradictions and tensions it contains: a black soldier marries the daughter of a white nobleman, an evil ensign corrupts a great soldier, and passionate love is turned to overwhelming jealousy. centers around the two conflicting characters of scheming, manipulative Iago and the honorable, but often times faithless Othello. Both Othello and Iago use many of the same literary devices and much of the same figurative language to express not only their opinions of those around them, but also their general conceptions of the workings of the universe on a more spiritual level. Othello. Then, as Iago's influence over his commander grows, Othello announces his own public deception, claiming "I will be found most cunning in my patience." After she is dead, he will be free to love his idealistic image of Desdemona without worry: References 1Othello is perhaps Shakespeare's most unsettling play. Psychology and Life. Finally, in the play's brutal closing scene, the audience act as silent witnesses to Desdemona's murder and its bloody aftermath. This speech reveals Iago to have an incredibly materialistic and conceited nature, as he reduces everyone mentioned to an object easily capable of manipulation. This is no murder mystery. 8The sense that Desdemona is a disappointment despite, or even because of, her loyalty gets strong structural support in her death scene. Print. New York: Chelsea House, 1987. The subset of dramas sometimes called the "Turk plays," for instance, took advantage of strong popular interest in and anxiety about the challenge to the military and economic dominance of Europe presented by the Ottoman Empire by offering London theatergoers depictions of Muslim characters and of Turkish history as violent, tyrannical, and treacherous. Be thus when thou art dead, and I will kill thee. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. Othello has his doubts about Desdemona before Iago begins his scheming. Shakespeare Shakespeare Josh Rosenberg The Incongruence of the Lover and the Soldier in Othello It is often the case that the themes of Shakespeare have everyday practicality and such is the case of Othello. At same time, Othello troubles attempts to construct its female characters as proto-feminist icons. Read more . George Kittredge. Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin’s, 2006. And even as she thwarts the conversion of tragedy to comedy, Desdemona impedes the ostensible consolations of justice and of revenge. The play's preoccupation with duplicity, for instance, is neatly supported by its surfeit of puns. The smallest fear or doubt of her revolt, For she had eyes, and chose me. . Print. | Sample Othello Essay “Heaven Is My Judge”: Literary Devices in Othello. Othello by Shakespeare: Introduction One of Shakespeare's most famous tragedies, Othello is concerned with the themes of jealousy and possessiveness, gullibility and blind passion, and the dangers that can arise from a failure to see beyond the surface appearances. . William Shakespeare's classic drama Othello centers around the two conflicting characters of scheming, manipulative Iago and the honorable, but often times faithless Othello. By delving into this revenge drama, we encounter a world that seems distant but familiar - a cultural context that we're far removed from, but themes that we intuitively understand. The play keeps us off balance as we struggle to determine who these men are, to decipher the nature of their relationship, and to make sense of their oblique references to the unnamed Moorish general who seems to engender such hatred in them. Robert Greene's Selimus (1594), for example, stages the rise to power of Selim I, emphasizing his excessive ambition, his greed, and the glee with which he celebrates his vicious betrayals as he murders his brothers in order to become Sultan (see Contextual Materials: Selimus). Othello William Shakespeare lesson exploring Iago and Roderigo and how they are presented in Act 1 Scene 1 of the play. Iago mocks himself and his feigned innocence in this speech, exclaiming “Divinity of hell!/ When devils will the blackest sins put on/ They do suggest at first with heavenly shows,/ As I do now” (1180). Many events shown in the novel have been omitted and others reformulated. Othello, unlike Iago, is capable of forming strong, loving relationships; his Lie on her?

More than helpless spectators of his manipulations of Othello, we become in Act 3's central temptation scene, with its erotic echoes of both the serpent's seduction of Eve and the ritualized exchange of vows at the heart of the Christian marriage service, unwilling acolytes of Iago's ritual destruction of his superior. For all his confidences, however, Iago's motives remain at best indeterminate, seeming sometimes insufficient (surely even intense professional envy cannot adequately account for his extreme cruelty), and in other moments oddly abundant (if he truly believes that Emilia and Othello have had an affair, why does it take him so long to mention this?). Although other Shakespeare plays offer higher body counts, more gore, and more plentiful scenes of heartbreak, Othello packs an unusually powerful affective punch, stunning us with its depiction of the swiftness and thoroughness with which love can be converted to hatred, and forcing us to confront our complicity with social and political institutions that can put all of us--but especially the most vulnerable among us--at risk. Shakespeare, William.

The term is associated in texts of the period with light-skinned Arabs from north-Africa, with dark-skinned sub-Saharan Africans, with Muslims from the Iberian Peninsula, and with the smaller number of men and women of color who lived in England, some as slaves and others as paid workers.

Roderigo becomes Iago's purse, Cassio is simply a handsome, noble man who can be used to make Othello jealous, and Othello himself is “As tenderly [led] by the nose/ As asses are” (1163). The plot has been designed in a better way. . Even in its closing minutes Othello disrupts expectations, as Desdemona's death prompts not the murderous retribution of grief-stricken and maddened relatives familiar both from the Cinthio source text and from the revenge dramas so popular in the period, but instead a second murder of a wife by her husband, a bloody suicide, and a silent survival as shocking in its way as the deaths by which it is preceded. 11The idea that love for women exposes men to mockery appears consistently throughout the play: in Brabantio's public prediction that Desdemona will be unfaithful to her new husband, in Roderigo's conviction that Desdemona will abandon Othello and take up with him, in Cassio's care not to let his general "see [him] womaned" in Bianca's company, and in the pernicious stereotypes about women's self-indulgence, lustfulness, and disloyalty consistently served up by Iago. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1980. 24Othello associates such doubling linguistic effects as punning and innuendo with emotional treachery and ultimately with physical violence. .

course of destructive action, Othello too plots the death of Desdemona with calculating reason: One must ask if these are the actions of a mentally

Kissing Emilia in welcome, Cassio speaks politely, if rather pompously, to her husband: Let it not gall your patience, good Iago,That I extend my manners. Othello announces in the first act that he comes from "men of royal siege" and he later refers to himself as black, but these are the only specific references he makes to his origins and appearance. Indeed, in its ironic assigning to its Janus-faced antagonist Iago the dictum that "Men should be what they seem," the play emphasizes that closing the gap between being and seeming may be neither possible nor desirable in the social realm. But even as it tracks the contagious nature and destructive force of Iago's strategy of misrepresentation, the play recognizes that deceit can be a tool for social cohesion. The plot of the play Othello is one of Shakespeare's most highly concentrated, tightly constructed tragedies, with no subplots and no humor to relieve the tension. Emilia's authority as a social critic is undermined when her position as a plain-speaking truth-teller is compromised by her participation in Iago's scheme to steal Desdemona's handkerchief.

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