Othello Critical Views A05

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  • Othello Critical Views A05
    • Neoclassicist Approach
      • Thomas Rhymer & Samuel Johnson
        • Rymer =  Compares Othello to classic literature. Said Othello wasn't a proper tragedy because it didn't have enough poetic justice and because it was unrealistic.
        • Johnson =  Said play was realistic. Impressed by: "the fiery openness of Othello", "the cool malignity of Iago.", "the soft simplicity of Desdemona
    • Romantic Approach
      • Coleridge,  Hazlitt,  Swinburne
        • Samuel Coleridge = Othello DIDN'T kill Des out of jealousy, but because of Iago's manipulation. Othello isn't to blame. Iago is "a being next to devil", his monologues are "the motive-hunting of motiveless malignity". Iago has no reason to be evil but he's evil anyway.
        • William Hazlitt = Othello has great "depth of passion", evokes a lot of PATHOS. Sympathizes with Othello, says he's "noble". Iago is only evil because he knows how to exercise his intellect more than anyone else.
        • Algernon Swinburne = Agrees with Coleridge that Iago's evil was "fathomless and bottomless"
    • 20th Century Critics
      • A.C Bradley, T.S Eliot, F.R Levis
        • A.C Bradley=- The Tragedy of the play is that Othello is "exceptionally noble and trustful" and is manipulated by Iago. - Othello is a "great man"-  Iago is tragic because his intellect and skills backfire and hurt him - Iago is "a thoroughly bad, cold man" who is "supremely wicked"
        • T.S Eliot= Eliot said that Othello's final speech was a "terrible exposure of human weakness" - The final speech was weak because it was full of "an attitude of self-dramatization", Othello is too aware of the audience and the other characters
        • F.R Levis=Othello's downfall was because of his own weakness, not because of Iago- Iago's success isn't due to his "diabolical intellect" but due to Othello's weakness and hubris - Othello gives in too quickly- Othello is self centered
      • Otherness Concept
        • Otherness = people or things which don't fit in with social norms of the time. Being an 'other' means being outside the norm, and being excluded from society as a result. Desdemona is an other because of her rebellious nature. Othello is an other because he's black.
      • 20th Century Feminism
        • French, Jardine, Tennenhouse
          • Marlilyn French= Othello is a masculine play because it rejects female sexuality and freedom- Men hold all the power in the play reflects how men hold all the power in society.
          • Lisa Jardine=Elizabethan drama as a whole only presents a male point of view. - Desdemona is punished for being "too-knowing" and "too-independent" - Desdemona's death is her being taught a lesson in what happens if you go against the patriarchy
          • Leonard Tennenhouse=- Desdemona's death = silencing a rebellious female voice. - Elizabethan/Jacobean tragedies use violence against women to challenge the patriarchy - Women who die in these plays blame themselves for their death - Desdemona as a character must die because she is "the embodiment of power" when she first arrives in Act 1
    • Performance Criticism
      • A modernist Criticism to the play, Performance critics consider the way a reader or audience would react to Othello - Example: considering the way the play could be presented on screen
    • Marxist Criticism
      • - Interested in the political and social context of Othello- Power structure of society - The relationship between 'master' and 'servant'
    • New Historicist criticism
      • - Marsh, Dolan- Consider 'Othello' in it's social and historical context. - The ideology and beliefs of Shakespearean society - KEY = whether or not 'Othello' reinforces or subverts the values of Shakespeare's society

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