Essay about Othello: its Universality Pro and Con

Essay about Othello: its Universality Pro and Con

Length: 2649 words (7.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Research Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview

Othello: its Universality Pro and Con  

 
   In the Shakespearean play Othello there are elements which the audiences of 400 years ago found appealing, and which the audiences of today find appealing. This is the secret of the universality of the drama – a quality which some critics question.

 

H. S. Wilson in his book of literary criticism, On the Design of Shakespearean Tragedy, discusses the lack of universality in the protagonist of the play:

 

Still, the play is Othello’s story: he is central throughout. It is hard to sympathize with him very much if we consider him dispassionately, if we stop to reflect. He is such a simpleton, so easily hoodwinked, so childishly carried away by passion, so utterly incapable of taking thought. (55)

 

In agreement with Wilson are others. To the modern audience especially, the play’s biggest shortcoming may be the inability of the audience to relate to the protagonist. In the volume Shakespeare and Tragedy John Bayley explains why the modern audience has difficulty identifying with the protagonist in this play:

 

Othello’s need to kill Cassio and Desdemona belongs only to him; not only because we know it to be deluded, but because the nature and extent of the delusion is such that we cannot imagine ourselves becoming involved in it. We cannot justify and verify its necessity by our involvement. [. . .] But mind in Othello has walked into a trap, and the play both invites us in and keeps us out. We are close to Othello and yet alienated from him. (201)

 

To many, 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 a...


... middle of paper ...


...n, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1965.

 

-- -- --.  “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.

 

 

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.

 

Wilson, H. S. On the Design of Shakespearean Tragedy. Canada: University of Toronto Press, 1957.

 

Wilkie, Brian and James Hurt. “Shakespeare.” Literature of the Western World. Ed. Brian Wilkie and James Hurt. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1992.

 

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

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: Is its Enduring Universality Explainable Essay example

- Othello: Is its Enduring Universality Explainable?         The Shakespearean drama Othello is recognized by literary critics, with few exceptions, as having a universal appeal. What are the reasons for this universality.   The universality of the play perhaps depends on the universal appeal of its main characters, for example Iago the antagonist. In the essay “Wit and Witchcraft: an Approach to Othello” Robert B. Heilman explains the universality of the antagonist:   As the spiritual have-not, Iago is universal, that is, many things at once, and of many times at once....   [tags: Othello essays]

Research Papers
2534 words (7.2 pages)

Essay about The Pro's and Con's of Student Preaching

- Introduction The Pro’s and Con’s of a student preacher can be very nerve wrecking because of the responsibility of following through with every “I dotted and every “T” crossed. When writing, preaching and teaching the Word of God it can become very intimidating to anyone who desires to follow in a league of skillful preachers, pastors and teachers. How can you be original when it appears all of the apparent techniques have been discovered. Speaking of technique, how should a student preacher apply everything they ever learned from a Bible seminary....   [tags: religion, sermon, faith]

Research Papers
1363 words (3.9 pages)

Offshoring: Pro or Con Essay

- Offshoring: Pro or Con. From my understanding of what I have learned in my Introduction to Business class, to be successful at your business requires an entrepreneur to take risks in order to be successful. Once you have established strategies to counteract the risks there are more steps that should be taken in order to keep up and improve the business processes. In International Business, I have taken another approach with risks and that approach is to go global. Taking a chance to reach new markets and cross international lines to improve your business processes and productions as a whole....   [tags: business strategies]

Research Papers
937 words (2.7 pages)

Essay on Colorblindness Pro Or Con?

- Colorblindness—pro or con. The United States of America has a long history dealing with the issue of race. It is often stated, “The United States was created with the genocide of one person, and the enslavement of another.” The year is now 2015, and the idea has supposedly died down. After reading Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow, she presents the idea that the United States only gave the illusion that racism has died down. The illusion comes from an attempt to make the United States a colorblind society....   [tags: Race, Racism, United States, African American]

Research Papers
879 words (2.5 pages)

Cosmetic Plastic Surgery : A Pro Or A Con? Essay

- Hunter Reinhart Research Paper Writ 101 11.30.12 Title: Reconstructive & Cosmetic Plastic Surgery: a Pro or a Con. Introduction w/ thesis: Is it the bigger, perkier breasts, the taught tummy, the lifted butt, or the younger looking face that draws people to plastic surgery. Is it the cost, the pain, the perception of being “fake” because you got plastic surgery that pushes people away from wanting to get the surgery. Have you ever considered getting reconstructive or cosmetic plastic surgery. Are you for or against the surgeries....   [tags: Plastic surgery, Breast]

Research Papers
1423 words (4.1 pages)

Pro’s and Con’s of Nationalism Essay

- Pro’s and Con’s of Nationalism Nationalism was coined back in the 1770’s it has a major role in the shaping many nations throughout the world. Nationalism has many positive and negative aspects to it. Nationalism has the strength to unify people despite their classes. It also has the ability to united people to lead movements against oppressive governments. There is a downside Nationalism can as method to evoke fear. The biggest negative is that most nationalism movement’s inevitably led to some form of conflict....   [tags: Political Science]

Research Papers
1808 words (5.2 pages)

Essay on Abortion: Pro and Con

- Abortion: Pro and Con In a pluralistic culture of unwanted pregnancy, there exists a contradiction between a relative sense of morality and the democratic ideal of free choice.  Aristotle provided the first written record of this irresolvable contradiction in his book Politics, saying, "When couples have children in excess, let abortion be procured before sense and life have begun; what may or may not be lawfully done in these cases depends on the question of life and sensation." (1)  The controversy has always consisted of two sides: "Pro-Lifers", who believe that abortion is morally wrong and should not be allowed, and "Pro-Choicers", who support the woman's right to choose the outcome...   [tags: Argumentative Persuasive Topics]

Research Papers
1216 words (3.5 pages)

The Pro's and Con's of Government Welfare Programs Essay

-      For a long time now, since the accomplished formation of a stable government, the U.S government has had programs and passed laws that either dealt with issues of or influence family. Many of these “family” programs and laws currently in place today are frequently and commonly debated. One of the most debated and most labored over “family” programs or law is Welfare. The argument is whether or not to, and how welfare should be cut or minimized.      The debate is simple enough, but the argument on welfare's benefits and drawbacks is not....   [tags: Informative Essay]

Research Papers
592 words (1.7 pages)

Essay on English-Only America - Pro and Con

- English-Only America - Pro and Con As everyone agrees, English has been America’s common language since its foundation. In recent years, however, English is in danger of losing its status as a national language. As you would see in metropolises and cities in Border States, use of non-English languages among immigrants has been increasingly common. Some immigrants stick to their native language in everyday life and can’t speak English well even after several years of immigration. Because the lack of common language causes a lot of problems, some argue that the use of other languages should be legally restrained....   [tags: Essays Papers]

Research Papers
1180 words (3.4 pages)