Othello Detailed Criticism

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  • G Wilson Knight 1930
    • 'Outstanding differences'
      • Pechter: 'our willingness, even eagerness, to engage with the play's disturbing sexuality'
      • Othello's career = cause of undoing
        • Gardner - 'Othello's absolute soldiership is the symbol of his entire masculinity'
    • Blackness Made Visible Philip. C. Kolin
      • Cultural seismograph
        • 1979 - Paul Winfield - letter protesting him kissing a white woman
        • Apartheid
          • Moved from erasure to emancipation
            • 20th century criticism harsher on Othello
              • TS Eliot - cheering himself up
              • FR Leavis 'the essential traitor is within the gates'
                • Bradley - 'Noble Moor'
                  • TS Eliot - cheering himself up
                  • 'She can do nothing whatever. She cannot retaliate even in speech'
                  • Julian C Rice - 'she shares responsibility for her own murder'
                  • 'Othello is the most powerfully exciting and the most terrible
                • Neill - Iago usurps Des & Cassio's positions - Othello becomes 'occupied territory'
                • Coleridge - 'Desdemona has no character at all'
      • Contemporary feminists - post-millennial battered wife
        • Ruth Vanita
        • Adamson - 'Desdemona's innocence coexists with rich sexuality'
          • Burke - 'ownership in the profoundest sense of ownership'
      • Othello Criticism
        • Susan Snyder
          • Gardner - 'distaste for the heroic'
            • 18th and 19th C regularly cut out Willow Scene
              • Contradictions between women's body = property and 'cannot control their appetites'
        • Othello and Interpretive Traditions - Pechter
          • Links to OJ Simpson Case
            • earliest recorded performance - 1st Nov 1604
              • 2nd revival - restoration - initially very popular
            • Edmund Lean - premier Othello 19th century
              • Preston - 'Othello was a white man'
            • anti-catholic feeling difficult to exaggerate
              • 'Iago's blatant misogyny... represented an entirely unexceptional story to the play's first audience'
          • Criticism transformed by feminist, AA and post-colonial influences
      • Iago
        • Pechter - 'It is Othello tragedy but Iago's play'
        • Vanita - 'villany is as successful as it is because he speaks to the lowest common denominator, the most widely accepted prejudices
        • Only Shakespeare villain to survive
          • Machiavel vs allegorical
        • Victim of upper-class privilege?
          • Leavis - 'we should see in Iago's prompt success nnot so much Iago's diabolic intent as Othello's readiness to respond
  • Paul Robeson 1930s
    • 'Othello won't play in Memphis'
      • Hogan- 'Shakespeare was deeply critical of racial hatred'
        • Black characters v popular on Elizabethan stage
          • Handkerchief - central icon - referenced more than 30 times
        • Ania Loomba - 'Othello is not merely a black man who is jealous, but a man whose jealousy and blackness are inseperable'
    • Cultural seismograph
      • 1979 - Paul Winfield - letter protesting him kissing a white woman
      • Apartheid
        • Moved from erasure to emancipation
          • 20th century criticism harsher on Othello
            • FR Leavis 'the essential traitor is within the gates'
              • Bradley - 'Noble Moor'
                • 'She can do nothing whatever. She cannot retaliate even in speech'
                • Julian C Rice - 'she shares responsibility for her own murder'
                • 'Othello is the most powerfully exciting and the most terrible
              • Neill - Iago usurps Des & Cassio's positions - Othello becomes 'occupied territory'
              • Coleridge - 'Desdemona has no character at all'
  • Germaine Greer
    • 'an authentic and sensitive portrayal of a black hero in a white society'
    • Contemporary feminists - post-millennial battered wife
      • Ruth Vanita
      • Adamson - 'Desdemona's innocence coexists with rich sexuality'
        • Burke - 'ownership in the profoundest sense of ownership'
  • Bathelomy
    • 'Our sympathy for Othello, however, is sympathy for his struggle to accept his fate'
  • Granville-Barker
    • 'It is a tragedy without meaning, and that is the ultimate horror of it'
    • Blackness Made Visible Philip. C. Kolin
      • Othello Criticism
        • Susan Snyder
          • Gardner - 'distaste for the heroic'
            • 18th and 19th C regularly cut out Willow Scene
              • Contradictions between women's body = property and 'cannot control their appetites'
        • Othello and Interpretive Traditions - Pechter
          • Links to OJ Simpson Case
            • earliest recorded performance - 1st Nov 1604
              • 2nd revival - restoration - initially very popular
            • Edmund Lean - premier Othello 19th century
              • Preston - 'Othello was a white man'
            • anti-catholic feeling difficult to exaggerate
              • 'Iago's blatant misogyny... represented an entirely unexceptional story to the play's first audience'
          • Criticism transformed by feminist, AA and post-colonial influences
      • Iago
        • Pechter - 'It is Othello tragedy but Iago's play'
        • Vanita - 'villany is as successful as it is because he speaks to the lowest common denominator, the most widely accepted prejudices
        • Only Shakespeare villain to survive
          • Machiavel vs allegorical
        • Victim of upper-class privilege?
          • Leavis - 'we should see in Iago's prompt success nnot so much Iago's diabolic intent as Othello's readiness to respond
  • Othello in performance
    • 'tawny moor'
      • Paul Robeson
        • Whitewashing in 20th and 21st centuries

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