Shakespeare's Othello EH 403
Jacksonville State University
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kimberly Burke on Monday February 1, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to EH 403 at Jacksonville State University taught by Dr. Gates in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 14 views. For similar materials see Shakespeare I in Foreign Language at Jacksonville State University.
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Date Created: 02/01/16
Shakespeare – Othello • Characters: o Othello – protagonist & hero, Christian Moor, general of armies in Venice, respected, insecure b/c of age & race (black), married to Desdemona, tricked into jealousy of Cassio by Iago (thinks his wife is cheating on him with Cassion) o Desdemona – daughter of Venetian Senator Brabanzio, secretly marries Othello, pure & meek, defends her marriage o Iago – Othello’s ensign (ancient or standard bearer), villain, 28 years old, hates Othello b/c he was passed over for promotion to lieutenant, seems to enjoy manipulation & destruction o Michael Cassio – Othello’s lieutenant, young & inexperienced soldier, devoted to Othello, implicated of drunken brawl on Cyprus & loses his place as lieutenant, used by Iago o Emilia – Iago’s wife, Desdemona’s attendant, loves Desdemona, does not trust Iago o Roderigo – jealous suitor of Desdemona, young & rich, thinks giving Othello all his money will let him have Desdemona, agrees to help Iago kill Cassio b/c Iago points out that Cassio is available for Desdemona o Bianca – Courtesan/prostitute, her favorite customer is Cassio b/c he teases promises of marriage o Brabanzio – Desdemona’s father, venetian senator, friend of Othello, feels betrayed by secret marriage o Duke of Venice – official authority, respects, role is to reconcile Othello & Brabanzio, sends Othello to Cyprus o Montano – governor of Cyprus before Othello o Lodovico – 1 of Brabanzio’s kinsmen, acts as messenger between Venice & Cyprus, brings letter announcing Othello has been replaced by Cassio as the governor of Cyrprus o Grazanio – Othello’s servant, reflect & distort action & words of main plot • Aristotle – imitation of dramatic form of an action that is serious & complete • Lesson in what not to do – don’t marry outside your race o Desdemona & Othello – Othello is welcome is her father’s home only as a general in the army o Racist attitudes • Othello’s flaw – doesn’t see his villain coming • Aristotelian values & Elizabethan Revenge values o Revenge: Iago hates the Moor/Othello b/c: he’s racist, Othello chose to promote Cassio instead of him, & he thinks Othello is sleeping with his wife • Act 3, Scene 3 – kind of homo-erotic • Othello commits suicide – has to be a surprise & has to be inevitable o Example of tragic emotion • Source on Othello – The Story that Started it All o Cinthio’s tale – http://www.classical.net/music/comp.1st/works/verdi/othello/otstory.php o Ensign/Iago convinces Othello to want Desdemona & Cassio dead o Emilia is vocally racist – misguided by what she thinks is in Othello’s head about Desdemona • Iago has manipulation power – 2 faces: 1 for dialogue, 1 for soliloquy • Honest comes up a lot o Audience hears it ironically b/c we know Iago is not honest to Othello o Emilia goes through upheaval - how could her husband be so evil § Turns on Iago when she realizes what he did § Allows Othello’s upheaval - self recognition of error • Takes him time to realize everything • Deliberately disarmed 2 times – still has a 3 weapon & dies on bed with Desdemona • Tension between state being the entity to judge a criminal to prevent revenge o Othello needs to be punished but there is also sympathy b/c of the realization • Catharsis – moved even though you know what is going to happen • Pg.128 lines 205-206 – after Desdemona’s death • Midterm Question – difference between Source & play o Source - Uses daughter to distract to steal handkerchief o Source – fake falling ceiling as the cause of Desdemona’s death
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