Othello avoids all irrelevancies and the action moves swiftly from the first scene to the denouement. We never get lost in a multiplicity of incidents or a multitude of characters. Our attention remains centered on the arch villainy of Iago and his plot to plant in Othello’s mind a corroding belief in his wife’s faithlessness. (viii)
In our own time more genteel, but also more intellectualized versions of Rymer’s disfavour have been voiced by T.S. Eliot and F.R. Leavis, who both consider and reject the personality that Othello presents to the outside world, pointing out that he is not so much deceived as a self-deceiver, a man presented by Shakespeare as constitutionally incapable of seeing the truth about himself. So the detached, ironic view of the creator contrasts with the tragical and romantic view taken of himself by the created being. (201)
In the final scene of Othello, the hero, with that utter lack of self-consciousness of self-criticism which is the height of human vanity, strikes a heroic attitude, makes an eloquent plea for himself, at the height of his eloquence stabs himself – and the innocent spectator feels a lump in his throat or dissolves in te...
The elaborate soliloquy spoken by Othello as he approaches his sleeping wife (V.ii.1-22) contains some splendid images, such as “chaste stars,” “monumental alabaster,” “flaming minister,” and “Promethean heat,” but its key words are simple and used repeatedly: cause, soul, blood, die, light, love, and weep. In his last sustained speech (V.ii.338-56), the images are fewer and approached through the simplest words (“Speak of me as I am”) and most blatant antitheses (“loved not wisely, but too well”). (xiv)
Othello is one of Shakespeare’s four pillars of great tragedies. Othello is unique in comparison to the others in that it focuses on the private lives of its primary characters. When researching the subject of Othello being an Aristotelian tragedy, there is debate among some critics and readers. Some claim that Shakespeare did not hold true to Aristotle’s model of tragedy, according to his definition in “Poetics,” which categorized Othello as a classic tragedy as opposed to traditional tragedy. Readers in the twenty-first century would regard Othello a psychological thriller; it definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat creating the emotions of terror, heart break, and sympathy. This paper will focus on what Shakespeare actually intended regarding “Othello” and its Aristotelian influences.
The classic revenge tragedy is thus quite a simple affair: there is an offence, and it is followed in a fairly mechanical manner by revenge, preferably bloody and protracted. However, as Delville and Michel (1998) point out, this structure is undermined by Shakespeare in the person of Hamlet. Unlike even Shakespeare’s own creations, Brutus, Macbeth, and Othello, Hamlet is unpredictable. In an earlier version of the play, referred to as the Ur-Hamlet, and attributed to Thomas Kyd, the only reason for...
Othello is noble, tender, and confiding; but he has blood of the most inflammable kind. Unfortunately, Othello was naïve enough to be swayed by Iagos misplaced trustworthiness and the accusations cause the entire play to unfold. Once someone brings up a sense of all his wrong doings, he cannot be stopped by considerations of remorse of pity until Othello has extinguished all that fuels his rage and despair. Othello is described as a “Moor” by his critics (Brabantio, Iago). A “Moor” is a slang word used for the dark skinned appearance of the Muslim people from the northwest part of Africa.
Shakespeare’s plays, among other classic works of literature, tend to be forged with the tension of human emotion. The archetypical parallel of love and hatred polarizes characters and emphasizes the stark details of the plot. More specifically, the compelling force of revenge is behind most of the motives of Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet. The play opens with the return of Hamlet’s father, a surprising encounter, which ended in his son learning that his father’s death was the result of foul play. By emphasizing this scene as the beginning of the story to be told, Shakespeare clearly implies that the plot itself will be based around the theme of revenge. Through three different instances of behavior fueled entirely by vengeance, Shakespeare creates an image in the reader’s mind, which foreshadows the future of the story and provides insight into the plot line. Even so, despite the theme of revenge being the overarching concern of the plot, the parallels drawn between characters truly strengthen the thematic depth of the piece overall, making the play easily one of Shakespeare’s most infamous and historically valuable works.
The realm of revenge often warps the mental state of characters, leading them to enact vengeance regardless of the repercussions which may permeate their world. In Shakespeare’s renowned play “Hamlet,” the main character, Prince Hamlet, is conflicted between his quest to adhere to his private passion, in regards to his eagerness to avenge his father’s death, and his need to avoid neglecting his responsibilities towards his loved ones. Further, the effects of vengeance are illustrated by Medea, the main character in Euripides’ play “Medea,” who allowed her passion for revenge to supersede her duties to her children. Despite the numerous forms of retaliation, this brutalized world is one that ceaselessly dilutes the minds of characters, leaving them ravenous for revenge and oblivious towards any repercussions.
Thus, during the course of this essay it is best not to think of allegory in terms of the size of a body of writing, but as writing with a “second distinct meaning partially hidden behind its literal or visible meaning”(Baldick 6). Whilst reading for political and religious allegory is key in understanding Spenser’s message, reading for moral allegory also provides readers with detailed insight into the text. It is because of this that I have chosen to focus not only on political and religious allegory but also the moral allegory that accompanies episodes in Book One focused on Una and Duessa. The two characters represent a multitude of allegories; truth and falseness, and Protestantism and Catholicism being the most prominent. Una and Duessa represent a binary opposition, and it is because of this that they help to produce a wealth of allegory when read closely. The characters represent conflicting ideas, yet neither of which would be conceivable without the other. Both characters can only function in the poem when supported by one another, if one character were to be removed, the binary opposition would be removed and the allegory drawn from either Una or Duessa would be less productive. The two episodes I will be investigating are Canto I, Stanzas 4...