Irregularities in Othello
The Shakespearean tragedy Othello contains various irregularities of time and occurrence which cause the audience to scratch their head in wonder and doubt. Let us analyze some of these shortcomings in this essay.
In the Introduction to The Riverside Shakespeare Frank Kermode explains one of the difficulties in Othello:
Othello murders his wife on the second night in Cyprus. The difficulty, of which Shakespeare was clearly aware, arises from the fact that this leaves no time for her to have had “stol’n hours of lust,” certainly not to have enjoyed them repeatedly, as Iago alleges. In such allusions to frequent adultery as III.iii.340-43 and V.ii.211-12, Shakespeare slides over from Short to Long Time very successfully; the audience is not invited to consider that Othello is forgetting that Desdemona was not in the same ship as Cassio, and has had no chance since. We accept it as possible for her to have been unfaithful, though we know she was not. (1199)
Consider the basic plot and what a “house of cards” it is. Without extreme good luck, such a plot would not be possible. A. C. Bradley, in his book of literary criticism, Shakespearean Tragedy, describes the important “accidents” that befell the antagonist during his deception of the general:
The skill of Iago was extraordinary, but so was his good fortune. Again and again a chance word from Desdemona, a chance meeting of Othello and Cassio, a question which starts to our lips and which anyone but Othello would have asked, would have destroyed Iago’s plot and ended his life. In their stead, Desdemona drops her handkerchief at the moment most favourable to him, Cassio blunders into the presence of Othe...
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...ally to be moving in the right direction. (329)
Bradley, A. C.. Shakespearean Tragedy. New York: Penguin, 1991.
Heilman, Robert B. “Wit and Witchcraft: an Approach to Othello.” Shakespeare: Modern Essays in Criticism. Ed. Leonard F. Dean. Rev. Ed. Rpt. from The Sewanee Review, LXIV, 1 (Winter 1956), 1-4, 8-10; and Arizona Quarterly (Spring 1956), pp.5-16.
Kermode, Frank. Introduction. The Riverside Shakespeare. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1974.
Mack, Maynard. Everybody’s Shakespeare: Reflections Chiefly on the Tragedies. Lincoln, NB: University of Nebraska Press, 1993.
Muir, Kenneth. Introduction. William Shakespeare: Othello. New York: Penguin Books, 1968.
Wilson, H. S. On the Design of Shakespearean Tragedy. Canada: University of Toronto Press, 1957.
a swing convention every year and this year he expects more than 3,000 to attend.
The point where you see that Swift’s proposal is meant to be satiric is when he starts to talk about the economic gains of selling poor children. It is meant to be a point to address the exceeding amount of poor children that are being sold to slavery rather than an indication to cannibalism. A modern audience
Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal is an attempt to bring attention to horrible the condition in which the poor or destitute people in Ireland are living in. His argument that children of these improvised people should be sold to “the persons of quality and fortune” (A Modest Proposal) for consumption, is Swift’s gruesome way of saying you might as well eat the babies, if no one is going to actually try to fix the problems of the poor in Ireland.
Throughout Swift’s proposal, the proposer is created to both identify and ridicule the reader through his persona and tone. The reader becomes identified with the civilized, educated proposer only to be forced to reflect themselves as cannibals. Although the proposal is often viewed as inhumane, it reinforces Enlightenment ideals, including utilitarianism which concludes it maximizes happiness while producing the least amount of suffering. The irony throughout the proposal is, then, not that the landlords are cannibals but that the proposal is actually humane and rational, yet still unaccepted.
Shakespeare's Othello is not simply a play which embodies the conflict between insider and outsider. The paradigm of otherness presented in this play is more complicated than the conclusion, "Othello is different; therefore, he is bad." Othello's character is to be revered. He is a champion among warriors; an advisor among councilmen; a Moor among Venetians. Yes, Othello is a Moor, but within the initial configuration of the play, this fact is almost irrelevant. His difference is not constructed as “otherness.” Othello, by his nature, is not an “otherized” character. Besides being the dark-skinned Moor, Othello varies in no real way from the other characters in the play. Further, Othello and Iago can be seen as two sides of the same destructive coin. With Iago as a foil and subversive adversary, Othello is not faulted for the indiscretions he commits. It is the invention and projection of otherness by various characters in the play, especially Iago, which set the stage for the tragedy of dissimilarity which is to ensue.
The issue that Swift is addressing is the fact that there are too many poor children in Dublin and that they are becoming such a huge burden for all the poor mothers or parents of the country. Swift then creates his own solution to the problem. He proposes that all poor children who are around one year of age, be cooked and eaten by the people of Dublin, preferably the poor. With this solution, he argues that it will eventually put an end to the overpopulation of the poor young children and it will satisfy the hunger for all the other people. Crazy right?
In 1729, Jonathan Swift published a pamphlet called “A Modest Proposal”. It is a satirical piece that described a radical and humorous proposal to a very serious problem. The problem Swift was attacking was the poverty and state of destitution that Ireland was in at the time. Swift wanted to bring attention to the seriousness of the problem and does so by satirically proposing to eat the babies of poor families in order to rid Ireland of poverty. Clearly, this proposal is not to be taken seriously, but merely to prompt others to work to better the state of the nation. Swift hoped to reach not only the people of Ireland who he was calling to action, but the British, who were oppressing the poor. He writes with contempt for those who are oppressing the Irish and also dissatisfaction with the people in Ireland themselves to be oppressed.
The main rhetorical challenge of this ironic essay is capturing the attention of an audience. Swift makes his point negatively, stringing together an appalling set of morally flawed positions in order to cast blame and criticize
This essay will have no value unless the reader understands that Swift has written this essay as a satire, humor that shows the weakness or bad qualities of a person, government, or society (Satire). Even the title A Modest Proposal is satirical. Swift proposes using children simply as a source of meat, and outrageous thought, but calls his propo...
Jonathan Smith goes to extreme measures to explain his new plan to raise the economic wellbeing of his country. He explains what age is too young and what age is too old, in order to eat the tenants children when they are at their prime juiciness. He also gives a list of suggestions on how to cook them, ?A young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled, and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragout.? All of this talk about eating children comes as a surprise because previous to this disturbing suggestion, Swift is ironically discussing the plight of starving beggars in Ireland. The reader is unprepared for the solution that he suggests.
Jonathan Swift, a well-known author, in his essay “A Modest Proposal,” implies that the Irish people should eat children so that they can better their chances of survival. Swift supports his implication by describing how his proposal will have many advantages such as, eliminating papists, bringing great custom to taverns, and inducing marriages. He comes up with an absurd proposal to eat and sell the children to the elite so the Irish can have a brighter future. His purpose is to show that the Irish deserve better treatment from the English. Throughout his essay, Swift uses sarcasm, satire, and irony.