Othello - A2 - Critical Quotes

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  • Created on: 05-01-13 15:57

Othello - Criticism

John Bayley

“No one in Othello comes to understand himself or anyone else. None of them realize their situation.”

“Iago maintains to the end the dreadful integrity of his own ignorance

“Othello retains to the end his agonized incomprehension

“His love for Desdemona was to him a marvellous revelation of himself

“she is going to heaven and he is going to hell

“We are in the bafflingly relative world of social observation

Othello begins at the moment when the fairy-story ends, and the great ‘love-duet’ at the beginning of Act II announces what should be the post-marriage détente: it is the prelude to domesticity, ‘suckling fools and chronicling small beer.’

Verdi’s Otello is the most successful of all operas based on poetic drama, and the greatest performance of Othello was given by Salvini, an actor whose voice and bearing were trained in opera.

“It is then abruptly checked and reversed by the presence of Iago.”

“we see him [Cassio] to some extent through Iago’s eyes.” – because of the asides he gives to the audience.

“if certain characters speak poetry it is because it is the idiom of the love theme in the play.”

Eliot and Leavis … essentially negative approach to the play’s presentation of love.”

Wilson Knight … fails to see its dramatic point. The reason for this failure lies in Iago’s parodying”

“Othello’s is the masculine and romantic: his opening hyperbole invokes the romantic commonplace – ‘Love calls to war’ – and also receives Desdemona into his wholly martial personality”:

‘O my fair warrior!’

Liebestod, death as the only fit and comparable peer of love.” LINK to Malfi and Donne

“Both love and war are summed up in the image of storm, a manifestation both glorious and terrifying.”

“Othello’s sentiments … delight of achievement and possession and … the loss of freedom”:

                ‘unhoused free condition’

“Desdemona is as much imprisoned in her assumption of love as is Othello in his”

Proust, for whom A can never love B but only his idea of B”

“He has permitted the spaciousness of his own love vision…


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