Othello: Critics

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  • Othello Critics
    • Othello
      • 'Othello yokes together and reshapes [stereotypical] images of...Moros'- Ania Loomba
        • O: 'chop her into messes', 'sold to slavery'
        • B: 'damned...enchanted'
        • R: 'lascivious moor'
        • I: 'lead by the nose as asses are'
        • D of V: 'valiant Othello'
      • 'Othello is [already] predisposed to believing [Iago's] pronouncements about the inherent duplicity of women, and the necessary fragility of [his] 'unnatural' relationshp' - Ania Loomba
        • O: 'haply [prehaps she has been unfaithful],for I am black and have not those soft parts of conversation that chambers have'
        • O: 'I took you for that cunning whore of Venice that married with Othello'
      • '[At the end] He remains the same Othello; he has discovered his mistake, but there is no tragic self-discovery' - F R Leavis
        • 'Speaks of me as...one that loved not wisely but too well...Speak of me...one not easily jealous'
    • Iago
      • [Iago engages in] the motive hunting of motivelessmalignity' - Samuel Taylor Coleridge
        • I: 'if thou canst cuckold him, thou dost thyself a pleasure , me a sport'
      • '[Iago is unconsciously motivated by] his resentment of social privilege' -  E A J Honigmann
        • 'bookish....counter-caster'
        • 'He hath a daily beauty in his life that makes me ugly'
      • 'Dramatic perspective can...make us the villain's accomplices' - E A J Honigmann
        • 'He takes her by the palm: ay, well said, with as little a web as this I will ensnare as great a fly as Cassio'
      • 'He enjoys a godlike sense of power' - E A J Honigmann
        • 'He takes her by the palm: ay, well said, with as little a web as this I will ensnare as great a fly as Cassio'
      • 'despite his cleverness he has [not] understood the spiritual impulses which bind...human beings together...Emilia's love (of Desdemona) is Iago's undoing' - E A J Honigmann
        • 'I take this that you call love to be a sect or scion
      • '[Othello is responsible for his own downfall and Iago is] subordinate and merely ancillary' - F R Leavis
        • 'Were they as prime as goats, as hot as monkeys'
    • Desdemona and Emilia
      • 'Through too often played by mature actresses, there are many hints that D is meant to be very young...perhaps 15 or 16' -  E A J Honigmann
      • 'It is possible...to see Desdemona as the strongest, the most heroic person in the play' - E A J Honigmann
        • 'That I did love the Moor to live with him, My downright violence and storm of fortunes may trumpet to the world'
      • 'Through the willow song, she has assimilated herself to the literary trope of the innocent girl dying for the love of a false-hearted man...Into this...breaks Emilia's disquisition on the sexual double standard. It might be read as a last attempt by Emilia to save Desdemona from her self-destructive 'feminine' passivity' - Penny Gay, feminist critic
        • 'Barbary...was in love, and he she loved proved mad and did forsake her: she had a song of 'willow'; it express'd her fortune...she died singing it'
        • 'have not we affections,desires for spot, and fragility, as men have?'
      • 'Either...Shakespeare wants us to consider Emilia exceptionally dimwitted or...he made her (link the Ensign's wife in Cinthio) too afraid of Iago...to challenge him until it is too late' - E A J Honigmann
        • 'I know not madam'
        • 'Often he begged of me to steal'
      • 'Just about every character misunderstands her' - E A J Honigmann
        • 'A maiden never bold'
  • '[At the end] Othello...is cheering himself up. He is endeavouring to escape reality...byadopting an aesthetic rather than a moral attitude...he has ceased to think about Desdemona and is thinking about himself' - T S Elliot
    • 'Speak of me as...one that loved not wisely but too well', 'in Aleppo...Where a Turk...Beat a Venetian and traduced [insulted] the state, I took by the throat the circumsised dog, and smote him, thus'
  • '[Othello is] a near schizophrenic hero' - Ania Loomba
    • 'in Aleppo...Where a Turk...Beat a Venetian and traduced [insulted] the state, I took by the throat the circumsised dog, and smote him, thus'

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