Othello – How it Ranks Essay

Othello – How it Ranks Essay

Length: 2161 words (6.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Othello – How it Ranks  

 
  In the context of thousands of plays written by hundreds of dramatists since 500 years prior to the time of Christ, how does William Shakespeare’s play Othello rank? In this essay let us find the proper place for this play, and consider critical opinion in the process.

 

Othello would appear to have a beauty about it which is hard to match – thus ranking high. Helen Gardner in “Othello: A Tragedy of Beauty and Fortune” touches on this beauty which enables this play to stand above the other tragedies of the Bard:

 

Among the tragedies of Shakespeare Othello is supreme in one quality: beauty. Much of its poetry, in imagery, perfection of phrase, and steadiness of rhythm, soaring yet firm, enchants the sensuous imagination. This kind of beauty Othello shares with Romeo and Juliet and Antony and Cleopatra; it is a corollary of the theme which it shares with them. But Othello is also remarkable for another kind of beauty. Except for the trivial scene with the clown, all is immediately relevant to the central issue; no scene requires critical justification. The play has a rare intellectual beauty, satisfying the desire of the imagination for order and harmony between the parts and the whole. Finally, the play has intense moral beauty. It makes an immediate appeal to the moral imagination, in its presentation in the figure of Desdemona of a love which does not alter ‘when it alteration finds’, but ‘bears it out even to the edge of doom’. (139)

 

The play is so quotable; consider Desdemona’s opening lines before the Council of Venice: “My noble father, / I do perceive here a divided duty,” or Othello’s last words: “Killing myself, to die upon a kiss.” Could the continuing reputat...


... middle of paper ...


.... San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1996. Reprint from “The Noble Moor.” British Academy Lectures, no. 9, 1955.

 

Heilman, Robert B. “The Role We Give Shakespeare.” Essays on Shakespeare. Ed. Gerald Chapman. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1965.

 

Levin, Harry. General Introduction. The Riverside Shakespeare. Ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1974.

 

Shakespeare, William. Othello. In The Electric Shakespeare. Princeton University. 1996. http://www.eiu.edu/~multilit/studyabroad/othello/othello_all.html No line nos.

 

Wright, Louis B. and Virginia A. LaMar. “The Engaging Qualities of Othello.” Readings on The Tragedies. Ed. Clarice Swisher. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1996. Reprint from Introduction to The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice by William Shakespeare. N. p.: Simon and Schuster, Inc., 1957.

 

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Othello – How it Ranks Essay

- Othello – How it Ranks       In the context of thousands of plays written by hundreds of dramatists since 500 years prior to the time of Christ, how does William Shakespeare’s play Othello rank. In this essay let us find the proper place for this play, and consider critical opinion in the process.   Othello would appear to have a beauty about it which is hard to match – thus ranking high. Helen Gardner in “Othello: A Tragedy of Beauty and Fortune” touches on this beauty which enables this play to stand above the other tragedies of the Bard:   Among the tragedies of Shakespeare Othello is supreme in one quality: beauty....   [tags: Othello essays]

Powerful Essays
2161 words (6.2 pages)

Relationship Between Othello And Othello Essay

- Throughout the plays William Shakespeare has written, friend relationships are expressed in different ways. In Shakespeare’s play Othello, there are a few different forms of friendship. One friendship that sticks out as the ultimate conflict of the play is the friendship between Othello and Iago. It becomes clear throughout the play that Othello and Iago view their relationship differently. Othello sees Iago as an honest and trustworthy friend. Iago, however, hates Othello and isn’t actually the man Othello thinks he is....   [tags: Othello, William Shakespeare, Iago]

Powerful Essays
1266 words (3.6 pages)

Othello 's Downfall Of Othello Essay

- Desdemona’s Downfall in Othello The Christian Bible tells us that “pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18 KJV). For Desdemona in William Shakespeare’s Othello, this is certainly true. Although Desdemona is innocent of the sins of which she is accused, she still bears responsibility for her own downfall. If not for Desdemona’s pride, she could have lived a long and happy life with Othello. From a psychological standpoint, Desdemona is ultimately responsible for her own demise because of her prideful nature....   [tags: Othello, Iago, Michael Cassio, Desdemona]

Powerful Essays
1737 words (5 pages)

The Reputation of Othello Essay examples

- The Reputation of Othello         Where in the rankings does this Shakespearean tragedy stand. This essay will explore the answer to this question by considering professional literary commentary.   Francis Ferguson in “Two Worldviews Echo Each Other” ranks the play Othello quite high among the Bard’s tragedies:   Othello, written in 1604, is one of the masterpieces of Shakespeare’s “tragic period.” In splendor of language, and in the sheer power of the story, it belongs with the greatest....   [tags: Othello essays]

Powerful Essays
1350 words (3.9 pages)

Othello’s Ranking Now and Then Essay

- Othello’s Ranking Now and Then         From Burbage’s day till the present, the Shakespearean drama Othello has ranked high on the charts. But how high. And when. And why.   Kenneth Muir, in the Introduction to William Shakespeare: Othello,  explains the popularity which this play had at the time of its creation:   Richard Burbage, the leading actor in Shakespeare’s company, played the part of the ‘grieved Moor’ and it was one of his greatest successes. We are told by Shakespeare’s neighbor, Leonard Digges, that audiences were bored with Jonson’s tragedies:   They prized more Honest Iago, or the jealous Moor....   [tags: Othello essays]

Free Essays
2464 words (7 pages)

Othello – the Unending Popularity Essay

- Othello – the Unending Popularity         What factors within William Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello can explain the undying popularity of the drama. Are such factors peculiar to the Bard. Let us take up these issues in this essay.   The ability of the audience to identify with the characters in Othello– this is of primary importance. M.H. Abrams in The Norton Anthology of English Literature attributes the dramatist’s universality to his characters as well as to the relevance of his themes:   One preliminary document in the First Folio is by Shakespeare’s great rival, critic, and opposite, Ben Jonson....   [tags: Othello essays]

Powerful Essays
1964 words (5.6 pages)

Othello – the Universal Appeal Essay

- Othello – the Universal Appeal         For 400 years the audience has found William Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello to be relevant to their lives and tastes. Why. What enduring qualities does the play possess in order to ensure its continuing success.   Does the reason lie in the great heterogeneity of characters and scenes and actions within the play?  Robert B. Heilman in “The Role We Give Shakespeare” relates the universality of Shakespeare to the “innumerableness of the parts”:   But the Shakespeare completeness appears graspable and possessable to many men at odds with each other, because of the innumerableness of the parts: these parts we may consider incompletenesses, partial...   [tags: Othello essays]

Powerful Essays
1944 words (5.6 pages)

Othello’s Universality of Appeal Essay

- Othello’s Universality of Appeal         The Shakespearean play Othello has enjoyed popularity on the stage and in print for 400 years. What are the features which enhance this quality among readers. And what detracts.   Does the playwright’s use of “double time” contribute to its universality of appeal. In The Riverside Shakespeare Frank Kermode explains the advantages of “double time” to Shakespeare:   “Double time” is a classical topic of Othello criticism; one of its uses is to remind us that the play, more largely considered, is characterized by a kind of imaginative duplicity....   [tags: Othello essays]

Free Essays
3053 words (8.7 pages)

Othello – its Appeal Essay

- Othello – its Appeal        Let us examine the William Shakespeare drama Othello for the purpose of determining exactly what characteristics of the play are the outstanding ones which give it such universal appeal.   Othello would appear to have a beauty about it which is hard to match. Helen Gardner in “Othello: A Tragedy of Beauty and Fortune” touches on this beauty which enables this play to stand above the other tragedies of the Bard:   Among the tragedies of Shakespeare Othello is supreme in one quality: beauty....   [tags: Othello essays]

Powerful Essays
2192 words (6.3 pages)

Rating Othello Essay example

- Rating Othello         Is this Shakespearean tragedy Othello at the top of the rating chart, or is it just near the top. And why. This essay intends to examine various aspects of this subject, along with critical opinion.   This play ranks near the top. The Bard’s presentation of emotions, character, of good and evil actions that are down-to-earth – these are sometimes seen as the main reasons for the high ranking of Othello. Louis B. Wright and Virginia A. LaMar in “The Engaging Qualities of Othello” maintain that the popularity of this play has been consistent for about 400 years because   it treats emotions that are universal and persistent in human nature....   [tags: Othello essays]

Powerful Essays
1394 words (4 pages)