The Variety of Themes in Othello

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The Variety of Themes in Othello In the Shakespearean tragedy Othello the number and description of themes is open to discussion. With the help of literary critics, we can analyze this subject in detail. In the essay “Wit and Witchcraft: an Approach to Othello” Robert B. Heilman discusses the ancient’s instinctive reaction to the love-theme of the play: Before coming directly to the forming of the love-theme that differentiates Othello from other Shakespeare plays that utilize the same theme, I turn arbitrarily to Iago to inspect a distinguishing mark of his of which the relevance to thematic form in the play will appear a little later. When Iago with unperceived scoffing reminds Roderigo, who is drawn with merciless attraction to the unreachable Desdemona, that love effects an unwonted nobility in men, he states a doctrine which he “knows” is true but in which he may not “believe.” Ennoblement by love is a real possibility in men, but Iago has to view it with bitterness and to try to undermine it. (333-34) The theme of hate is the theme on which the play opens. Lily B. Campbell in Shakespeare’s Tragic Heroes indicates this hate in the opening scene: It is then on a theme of hate that the play opens. It is a hate of inveterate anger. It is a hate that is bound up with envy. Othello has preferred to be his lieutenant a military theorist, one Michael Cassio, over the experienced soldier Iago, to whom has fallen instead the post of “his Moorship’s ancient”. Roderigo questions Iago: Thou told’st me thou didst hold him in thy hate. And the reply is a torrent of proof of the hatred for Othello that has almost exceeded the envy of Cassio because he possesses the ... ... middle of paper ... ...Gardner, Helen. “Othello: A Tragedy of Beauty and Fortune.” Readings on The Tragedies. Ed. Clarice Swisher. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1996. Reprint from “The Noble Moor.” British Academy Lectures, no. 9, 1955. 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. Jorgensen, Paul A. William Shakespeare: The Tragedies. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1985. Mack, Maynard. Everybody’s Shakespeare: Reflections Chiefly on the Tragedies. Lincoln, NB: University of Nebraska Press, 1993. Shakespeare, William. Othello. In The Electric Shakespeare. Princeton University. 1996. http://www.eiu.edu/~multilit/studyabroad/othello/othello_all.html No line nos.

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