Othello: studying papers
Othello: studying papers
Othello: studying papers
Characters Social background Historical background Themes Imagery Language
Characters Bianca (a Courtesan) loves Ouke of Venice Cassio (Othello's lieutenant) Montano (Othello's friend and loyal supporter) plots against Othello imprisons -Protagonist - noble black general - referred to as the Moor", Mick namens like Thief, Barbary horse - christian - Outsider in Venice - highly respected & honoured in bis profession-> urgently needed in militairy function - many misfortunes happened to him-> sold to slavery - beginning: calm, brave, reliable, rational, honest, loyal (good husband), dutiful (has done many services for the venetian government) - end: violent, jealous, envious, paranoid, frustrated, self-destructive - dramatic change in his behaviour because of lago poisoning his mind (believes in the unfaithfulness of his wife) othello appoints Othello (a Moor, a general. husband to Desdemona) unwisely trusts hates lago (Othello's ensign who is passed over for a promotion) dislikes loves and Kills coife of plots against uses and kills Brabantio (a Venetian senator) Jago - Antagonist - experienced officer cadet in Othello's army - jealous & envious - clever villain, cunning, evil, feels superior, dishonest, egoistic, self-serving, malicious, manipulative, cold-hearted, two-faced, deceitful - married to Emilia - pretends to be Roderigo's friend, uses his money - makes Othello believe Desdemona is unfaithful, acts like a loyal servant - acts lie he wants to help Cassio - motives: revenge (wants to be lieutenant instead of Cassio); jealousy (thinks Othello had an affair with Emilia); hatred; ambition to take a higher position; wants honour Desdemona (a venetian, faithful of Othello) Emilia lago's coife and Desdemona's lady-in-waiting father to faithfully Serves Roderigo (a Venetian nobleman) Desdemona loves - wife to Othello - Brabantio's daughter - pretty, young, pure, smart, innocent, honest, faithful, sometimes submissive -> dies declaring her love for him) - divided duty -> to her father...
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and to her husband; but chooses her husband Social Michael Cassio - an honourable lieutenant, truly devoted, loyal to him - honest, dutiful - reputation got destroyed by lago, lost his position - extremely ashamed after being implicated in a drunken brawl - relationship with Bianca - charming and handsome gentleman, respectful and flirty towards women, innocent and virtuous Shakespeare's Good to know Moors in Shakespeare's Roderiga a gulled gentleman of Venice - is utilised by lago for his Intrigues - is killed by lago - dishonest, naive, easy to influence (gives lago his money) - lovesick - Desdemona background • fiercely patriarchal society with laws that heavily restricted what women could and could not do • not allowed to attend school or university, even acting was off limits to women • only trades legally available to them were at home, such as hat making, brewing • bound by strict social expectations that did not apply equally to men • Legally a girl could marry as young as 12 with her parents' consent →> father had a large degree of control of who she married -> husband becomes her legal master • Many people believed that all women were tainted by Eve's original sin. Therefore, women were believed to have a naturally insatiable desire for sex, which is why it was confined to marriage and restricted to acts of reproduction. • majority of his life an unmarried woman occupied the throne. • Throughout Queen Elizabeth I's reign, debates raged about whether a woman could rule as effectively as a man. So Elizabeth constantly struggled to prove herself. • Muslim people who populated northwest Africa during the Middle Ages and the early modern period • Although Moors had dark skin, it is important to note that in Shakespeare's time Europeans had not yet developed the concept of "race" as it came to be understood in later centuries. • Unlike today, early modern Europeans did not link skin color to genetic or evolutionary heritage • Prejudices: "most honest people” but also “subject to jealousy." They are “proud,” “high- minded,” “addicted unto wrath,” and "credulous." -> Othello, demonstrates many of these traits - Shakespeare only ever wrote two plays with original plots: Love's Labor's Lost and The Tempest. For all his other works he borrowed plots from other writers, often re-ordering events, inserting subplots, and adding or removing characters. - Shakespeare also occasionally drew inspiration from current events. Historical background Microcosm and Macrocosm theory to describe human beings and their place in the universe · early thinkers viewed the individual as a little world (microcosm) whose composition and structure correspond to that of the universe I great world (macrokosm) Kosmos at this time meant "order" and implied a harmonious arrangement of parts in a system hence it also referred to order in human societies The great chain of beings. God Angel Heaven Human Beast Plant Flame Stone Jealousy Venetian society race → there's also a hierarchy among humans : : · concept everything in the world has its own place no matter what you do, you cannot make your way up the chain you are all that you are bom with, for the rest of your life, no matter what English society depended on a certain order → → Obedience you Hierarchy U Themes · Othello → a study of how jealousy can be fueled by mere circumstantial evidence and can destroy lives many forms sexual suspicion, professional competition, destructive patriarchal society; men rule the world women have to be obedient, restaint to family traditions, expectations women determined by female duties; have to bring honour to the family cannot decide on their own racist attitudes non- Venetians are given powerful positions, but not equal rights; not accepted in one's family one of the first black heroes in English literature a black-skinned foreigner in Venice → outsider; exposed to pretty overt racism (Brabantio) impossible to discuss "race" in Othello without also discussing gender and society do Imagery Animals - isulting, especially when used by lago (old black ram) - As Othello comes under lago's influence, he echoes his choice of image: I had rather be a toad...) - exposed as a villain, lago is called "inhuman dog" and "viper" L Poison and disease - reflects the supposed corruption of Venetian society, and becomes a metaphor for the corruption of Othello's mind - lago's words act as poison in the play Othello's jealousy acts like poison Othello's opinion of lago - loving - honest Seeing and not seeing at the beginning of the play, Desdemona is very clear about what she sees in Othello (loving husband) and disregards his outward experience - stormy weather in act 2 foreshadows the troubles and conflicts ahead Black and white imagery black and white can be equated with dark and light; hell and heaven; good and bad conflict is usually at the heart of all drama audience automatically makes negative associations → Black-skinned Othello is linked to evil (lago's picture) expectations are reversed within the actions of the play ⇒ white-skinned lago turns out to be evil Desdemona: white ewe, pure, innocent Othello black ram, lustful, bad - loyal - considerate -> chooses his words wisely; thinks before he speaks - as a friend - trustworthy, reliable - -> values his advice - thinks that lago carefully reflects on what he says before speaking - feels supported by lago - Othello is convinced by things he does not seen (Desdemona- cheater) Hell and Devil lago's strategy as he makes Othello Suspicious - drops hints -> II. 6-7: asks if Cassio knew about Othello's love for Desdemona - tries to get his head by saying things, but not saying thinks - his random question (out of nowhere) confuses him; makes him suspicious - asks him to think without further explanation -> gets into his head; Othello starts overthinking - does not state suspicioun immediately - pretends to be reluctant - retain a pretence of innocence and uninvolvement - pretends to not want to interfere and/ or destroy Othello's positive view of Cassio Language in Othello Verse: - Shakespeare give verse to his high-status characters - lines are often run on as ideas are developed in a coherent and confident way - in contrast: lago's speeches are often end-stopped →> suggests he is a plain-speaking man Useful phrases - May I interrupt you for a moment, please? - If I understood the question correctly... - That illustrates perfectly what I would like to say... - Did you really mean to say that...? - We must also consider ... - I don't know whether that is leading into the correct direction, but... - Some are in favour of..., others against..., but in general you can say that... - Well, I must admit you have a point there. - I'm afraid I didn't follow. - I'd like to bring this to a close with.….. Language good bad Show advantageous detrimental elucidate common ubiquitous prove Substantiate Prose: - Prose is commonly used by comic or low-status characters (the Clown; the musician - Act 2 Scene 3: as Cassio becomes more drunk, he switches to prose however So 8 ask need get Contrast - in my judgement... as far as I'm concerned... - I surmise... inquire require obtain - I suppose.…..... - I reckon... - I presume... conversely subsequently dichotomy