Analysis of Othello by William Shakespeare
!.?.!? Analysis of Othello by William Shakespeare A short synopsis of the plot The play opens on a street in Venice, Italy. In the opening scene Iago, Othello’s ensign, and Roderigo, the suitor of Desdemona, decide to tell senator Brabantio that his daughter Desdemona has delegated marry Othello without her dad’s approval. Brabantio faces Othello, however finally he is encouraged by Othello and Desdemona that they love each other and gives them permission. At the same time Turkish intrusion is reaching Cyprus, so Othello is asked to cruise to Cyprus and lead the defence forces against Turks.
All main characters take a trip to Cyprus, but when they reach Cyprus they find out that the intrusion was distributed by a storm. At the celebration Iago manipulates Cassio to make him drunk, for which he is fired. Cassio asks Desdemona to convince Othello to offer him his task back and Iago uses this conference to encourage Othello that Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio. Furthermore, Iago slip Desdemona’s handkerchief in Cassio’s room which shows her infidelity. Othello trusts Iago and mad with jealousy he asks Iago to help him kill Cassio and Desdemona. Iago controls Roderigo to eliminate Cassio, however Roderigo is not successful and both are injured.
Meanwhile, Othello kills Desdemona. After she is eliminated, Emilia, Desdemona’s servant and Iago’s spouse, finds the subterfuge. She declares Iago a phony and discusses the real story. When Othello sees the reality, he tries to eliminate Iago, however he is not effective and lastly commits suicide. Main Characters Othello is a Christian black Moor who is the general of the armies of Venice. He starts as an honorable guy who is a highly regarded soldier and a caring partner. However, since of his naivety and trustfulness he becomes an irrational, envious and violent person who kills his own partner. Iago is Othello’s ensign and the main antagonist in the play.
He is a dazzling manipulator who wishes to take a revenge on Othello, however his inspirations are not plainly expressed in the play. Desdemona is a beautiful, young, white girl, who declines to marry any of abundant males and has a relationship with Othello. This posture confronts 16th century mindsets about society, marriage and race. Roderigo is a rich, foolish and envious suitor of Desdemona who is consistently controlled by Iago. Michael Cassio is selected as Othello’s lieutenant, which makes Iago furious. Emilia is Iago’s partner and Desdemona’s attendant. She is a negative female, who is loyal to her mistress.
Periodization and historical context Shakespeare is the best understood author from Elizabethan age, which is a time period in between 1558 and 1603. Elizabethan literature can be explained not only as the duration of growth, but also can be defined “by a brand-new energy, originality, and confidence” (TalkTalk, 2013, [online]. “Elizabethan drama often utilized poetical metre (rhythm) for its discussion, especially the five-foot iambic pentameter” (TalkTalk, 2013, [online]. Nevertheless, the term Elizabethan literature is just chronological reference and “does not explain any special quality of the writing” (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2013, [online].
According to Encyclopaedia Britannica (2013, [online] some of the other key authors of this duration are Sir Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, Roger Ascham, Richard Hooker, and Christopher Marlowe. Both Shakespeare and Marlow were very popular authors during Elizabethan age. Both used “controversial subjects for their drama, including the question of political power” which we can see in Tamberlaine the Great by Marlow and in Shakespeare’s Macbeth (TalkTalk, 2013, [online]. There were even more authors writing about similar concerns.
For instance, Thomas Kyd was affected by William Shakespeare a lot, which can be seen in his play called The Spanish Tragedy because it is extremely comparable to Shakespeare’s Hamlet (TalkTalk, 2013, [online]. Social conditions were doubled throughout this period– there were abundant people who became even richer and on the other side bad individuals who ended up being even poorer. This provided reasons to numerous authors to compose the pamphlets supplying view of “a dreadful world of vagabondage and criminal offense, the Elizabethans’ most significant, unsolvable social problem” (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2013, [online].
The handouts of Thomas Harman and Robert Greene, as well as Shakespeare’s King Lear are the most crucial and widely known ones. Furthermore, during this duration many works focused on black and unique individuals began to be composed. As the examples we can utilize Shakespeare’s Othello, and Johnson’s The Masque of Blackness. Literary influence on producing Othello According to Johnsen-Neshati (2005, [online] the standard source for the plot of the play Othello was a narrative composed by Italian writer Cinthio Giambattista Giraldi. The plot of Cinthio’s story centres on four characters, all of whom Shakespeare obtained for his disaster: the Moor, the Ensign, the Captain and the Moor’s other half, Disdemona” (Johnsen-Neshati, 2005, [online]. Nevertheless, all these characters are a little bit differentiated from the initial ones. For example, “Cinthio’s Moor shows certain racial stereotypes of the day, such as a predisposition towards jealousy and enthusiasm, whereas Shakespeare takes discomforts to develop Othello’s brave qualities together with his blind areas” (Johnsen-Neshati, 2005, [online]. The contrast of black and white colour in Othello
The contrast of black and white has a crucial significance in Othello. It is represented generally with a race because Othello is Moor and the contrast between a white stunning woman and a black Moor is remarkable for individuals through lots of centuries. (Hilsky, 2010, 538) The contrast can be seen in the speech of Iago when he wakens Brabantio with the news that his child eloped with Othello: IAGO Even now, now, very now, an old black ram Is tupping your white ewe. Arise, arise; Awake the snorting residents with the bell, Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you. Develop I state! (Shakespeare, 1968: 54)
The term Moor was used for non-whites or Muslims of any origins. These people were stereotypically referred to as devils or bad guys and their blackness was gotten in touch with ethical corruption, animal sexuality, sins, propensity to be jealous and indicate, while white colour was considered to be pure and noble (Johnsen-Neshati, 2005, [online]. Hilsky (2010: 542) pointed out that Roderigo and Iago are trying to impose their view of Othello that correspond with Elizabethan racist stereotype of black male or Moor: IAGO Since we pertain to do you service and you think we are ruffians, you’ll have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse; ou’ll have your nephews neigh to you; you’ll have coursers for cousins and gennets for germans. […] I am one, sir, that concerns inform you your child and the Moor are now making the monster with 2 backs. you’ll have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse; you’ll have your nephews neigh to you. (Shakespeare, 1968: 55) However, Iago’s words are hypocritical because when Othello appears we realize that he is a trustful, level-headed, smart and tranquil person which denies all stereotypes about Moors. Rather of a black devil there is a sensible man, a soldier who does not like worthless violence (Hilsky, 2010, 543).
However, throughout the play Othello modifications and becomes an envious and villainous individual since of his trustfulness. Throughout the play, Shakespeare uses black colour with an irony. For instance, when Desdemona sees Othello’s envious humour, she “refers to black bile, among the 4 ‘humours’ that were thought to affect human emotion” (Kay, [online]. Moreover, black colour is mentioned by Othello too. He calls Desdemona “begrimed and black as mine own face” (Shakespeare, 1968: 119) and talks of “black vengeance” (Shakespeare, 1968: 121). The paradox is that it is Iago with whom “black revenge” is associated.
In my perspective, this play is classic due to the fact that it deals with concerns like race or jealousy that are still valid these days, although this play was composed practically 4 centuries earlier. As I see it, the truth that Shakespeare was able to write about these issues makes him a dazzling and special playwright. References: Encyclopaedia Britannica: Elizabethan Literature. Encyclop? dia Britannica, Inc. [online] 2013 [cit. 2013-12-30] Readily available from: http://www. britannica. com/EBchecked/topic/ 184911/Elizabethan-literature HILSKY, Martin. Shakespeare a jeviste svet. Praha: Academic community, 2010. ISBN 978-80-200-1857-1. JOHNSEN-NESHATI, KRISTIN. A Cultural Context for Othello. In: Shakespeare Theatre Company [online] 2005 [cit. 2013-12-30] Readily available from: http://www. shakespearetheatre. org/plays/articles. aspx?=83 KEY, Karen. Race in Othello. In: Britain in print [online] © 2013 [cit. 2014-01-01] Dostupne z: http://www. britaininprint. net/shakespeare/study _ tools/race. html SHAKESPEARE, William. Othello. London: Penguin Books, 1968. ISBN 0-14-070707-7. TalkTalk: Elizabethan Literature. © TalkTalk [online] 2013 [cit. 2013-12-30] Readily available from: http://www. talktalk. co. uk/reference/encyclopaedia/ hutchinson/m0026117. htm