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Othello- Revision watch

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    It will probably be a question on Montano or somebody! :rolleyes:
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    Knight is also an important modernist critic. he says of desdemona that:
    'She becomes a symbol of man's ideal, the supreme value of love'
    Iago is 'cynicism incarnate', and the 'primary fact' of the play is that 'something of solid beauty (othello) is undermined, wedged open so that it exposes an extreme ugliness'.
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    Hope these notes will be off some help to people

    Symbols -The Handkerchief

    :suitd: 'Othello' has been merely called 'a play about a handkerchief' by critics.

    :suitd: It was the first gift Othello gave Desdemona. Iago manipulates the handkerchief to prove Desdemona’s unfaithfulness.

    :suitd: It represents martial fidelity to Othello and is a sign of Desdemona’s chastity.

    :suitd: The pattern of strawberries, on a white background is indicative of a virgin on her wedding night, reinforcing the symbolism of chastity. Also the strawberries may be a depiction of 'deflowering' or the 'fruits of love'.

    :suitd: A handkerchief in Othello's time was a family heirloom, only the noble possessed such items. It was a romantic love token either given to a suitor or dropped for a chivalrous response.

    Irony in Othello

    :suitd: There is a lot of dramatic irony in 'Othello'. Iago embodies irony; he informs the audience of his intentions but his victims do not know that they are being manipulated. This therefore increases the tension.

    :suitd: Iago professes 'my Lord, you know i Love you' he refers to 'love' Othello a number of times, presenting Othello with a false sense of security. What is ironic is that he is destroying Othello and Desdemona’s true love 'I did thrive in this fair ladies love and she in mine'.

    :suitd: Iago's downfall is ironic, he thinks he is cunning and clever. Emilla his wife destroys his reputation as an honest man, this is appropriate as the success of Iago’s revenge on Othello was reliant on the destruction of Desdemona’s reputation.

    :suitd: It is also ironic that Othello falls from grace, once he has reached success by marrying the 'divine Desdemona' but then he is convinced he has married the 'whore of Venice'.

    :suitd: Desdemona expects to consummate her marriage in Cyprus but it is transformed into her death bed 'I kissed you ere I killed you no way but this killing myself to die upon a kiss'.
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    Iago:

    Summary of Character:
    • Iago is a man of opportunity, he manipulates the situations he faces to best suit his plans.
    • He is very manipulative and caniving, yet all of the other characters deem him to be honest.
    • He is very jealous, and seeks revenge from the very beginning of the play, to aveng himself.



    Key Quotes:
    • "honest Iago"
    • "a man he is of honesty and trust"
    • "Fie upon thee- slanderer!"
    • "O damned Iago! O inhuman dog!"
    • "not everyone can be a master, nor can all masters be truly followed"
    • "I am not what i am"
    • "I shall be wise, for honesty's a fool"
    • "I follow him to serve my turn upon him"
    • "nothing can or shall content my soul until i am evened with him, wife for wife"
    • "And what's he then that says i play the villain When this advice is free I give and honest."
    • "Heaven is my judge"


    Key Themes:
    • Appearance/Seeming
    • Revenge
    • Jealousy


    Key Critic's Quotes for Iago
    • "The cool malignity of Iago, silent in his resentment, subtle in his designs, and studious at once of his interest and venegance" Johnson
    • "Iago is an aesthete of evil" Hazlitt
    • "The joker in the pack, a practical joker of a particularly appauling kind"- W.H. Auden
    • "the motive hunting of motiveless malignity" -Coleridge
    • "Iago was inconsistent" - Rymer
    • "he [Iago] was despised with burning hatred and burning tears"- A.C. Bradley
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    Iago

    :suith: Iago is undoubtedly the catalyst to all the action in the play. The Machiavellian villain, who is a compelling and sophisticated villain. He appears to be inherently evil. He enjoys having an audience (Rodrigo) to outline his devious plots to. However, at the end of the play his is mysterious as he refuses to talk.

    :suith: Professional jealousy is his initial motive for disgracing Cassio; motives for destroying Othello’s happiness are based on negative urges. But some critics have argued that Iago destroys Othello’s marriage because he has homosexual feelings toward Othello.

    :suith: Iago ego is wounded due to the denial of promotion, his schemes and manipulations allow him to establish his sense of power and authority over the other characters.

    :suith: Iago is successful because he can play a number of roles convincingly and is able to adapt to different situations. He enjoys his ability to hoodwink other’s into believing his is ‘honest Iago’. With Cassio, he is bluff, coarse and genial. He offers plausible, practical solutions for his problems. With Montano and Lodovico he stresses he has the State and Othello's best interests at heart. His ego is absent when dealing with these people. They are above him socially and professionally. This is however, deliberate. With Rodrigo and Emilia, he is self-serving, materialistic and cynical.

    :suith: He is a slanderer, able to destroy with negative words all the reputations which are built on positive ones e.g. Desdemona’s reputation as ‘virtuous’ into ‘lewd minx’.

    :suith: Iago is also a vice figure, whose aim is to lure every one of the characters onto the wrong part. For example convincing Othello that his is wife is having an adulterous affair with Cassio.

    :suith: He is humble and pleasant in public but scheming in private (hypocrite).

    :suith: Iago has difficulty seeing the individual only the stereotypes, e.g. all women are false and all black men are evil, here is therefore unable to relate to the real people because of his prejudice.

    :suith: He could be considered a former admirer of Othello, but is devastated by being rejected, so in turn transforms his love into hate. ‘I will make the Moore love me hate me, respect me and thank me’.

    :suith: He is clearly a misogynist, who has a deep rooted hatred of women, although he dies not explicitly state this. ‘You rise to play and go to bed to work’. He is also a megalomaniac in love with power for its own sake.

    :suith: He often speaks in soliloquies, giving us his perspective and in part making the audience his accomplices, drawing them into his web.

    :suith: It is Iago’s talent for understanding and manipulating the desires of those around him that makes him both a powerful and a compelling figure. Iago is able to take the handkerchief from Emilia and know that he can deflect her questions; he is able to tell Othello of the handkerchief and know that Othello will not doubt him. Though the most inveterate liar, Iago inspires all of the play’s characters the trait that is most lethal to Othello: trust.
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    Here's a few quotes I've picked out for the main charcters. The're short so easy to remember!

    Othello
    • My parts, my title and my perfect soul.
    • O fool, fool, fool!
    • Keep up your bright swords
    • I fetch my life and being/From men of royal siege.
    • Give me the ocular proof
    • honest, honest Iago
    • I loved her, that she did pity them


    Iago
    • det my revenge
    • tupping your white ewe
    • beware, my lord, of jealousy
    • make the Moor thank me, love me and reward me
    • I am not what I am.


    Desdemona
    • Women do abuse their husbands/ In such gross kinds?
    • That song tonight/ Will not go from my mind
    • Commend me to my kind lord.


    Emilia
    • it is a great price for a small vice
    • I have a thing for you
    • You shall not write my praise
    • They are all but stomachs, and we all but food
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    Has anyone got any good notes on jealousy they could post please?
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    Desdemona / Women

    :suith: Women are not equal to the men of the play in neither size nor stature. However, there could be an explanation for this as it is set in a military context; one which is traditionally male dominated.

    :suith: In Shakespearean society actresses were not socially accepted, all female characters were played be males. The battle between men and women further extends into their personal lives.

    :suith: Women lack both power and importance in the play, as made clear by Iago 'You rise to play and go to bed to work' , making it clear women have no particular role in military society

    :suith: Women portrayed as victims by Shakespeare, men determine society and social organisation.

    :suith: Women are viewed as trophy wives; true of Desdemona, indicative of this is Barbanttio and Othello’s discussion of trading Desdemona. Othello comments ' i won his daughter'. This demonstrates that Othello who is perceived as an honourable man can sympathize with the view that women are possessions.

    :suith: The Female suffering in Othello is solely the result of men’s actions. Murder is considered a fit punishment for dishonesty or supposed unfaithfulness. Contrasting male characters as Iago is not killed for his dishonesty

    :suith: Desdemona does not seem to have any strong female influences she is motherless and practically has no friends. She has led her life under the protective influence of her father.

    :suith: Ironically her name in Greek means 'The unfortunate' and as we know she is ultimately murdered by her Husband who believes her to be unfaithful.

    :suith: She is abused by 4 of the male characters
    :suitc: Othello who ignored her protestations of innocence
    :suitc: Barabntio who misjudges her and then rejects her
    :suitc: Iago who uses her for his revenge
    :suitc: Rodrigo who seeks an adulterous affair
    she demonstrates that a woman can be manipulated and deceived by men.

    :suith: Desdemona can be considered a sacrificial victim for Iago's web of lies and deceit. Christ refused to condemn the women who committed adultery, yet Othello who professes to be a devout Christian, takes the role into his own hands.

    :suith: Men wished to marry virgins but have whores available at their disposal (double standards). Desdemona is ignorant of sex, but there is typical of her class, (Queen Victoria refused to believe in the existence of Lesbians). She refused to believe that men could be unfaithful to their husbands. It is possible she may not even have known what was involved in the consummation of marriage

    :suith: Desdemona’s active sexuality is necessary to the play. As Iago makes a great deal that she deceived her Father in order to choose her Husband. Her sexuality is also used as a means to destroy her marriage.

    :suith: Desdemona refuses to blame Othello for her unhappiness, she declares it is her 'wretched fortune'.

    :suith: Othello values his wife dearly, she is considered a trophy for his military victims, he compares his loss of Desdemona to the possible loss of Cyprus to the Turks. It can be questioned if Desdemona was seduced by Othello's storytelling powers.

    :suith: It is poignant that Othello greets Desdemona before the other characters when he arrives in Cyprus. Demonstrating Love is put before war and emphasizing the domestic focus of the tragedy.
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    (Original post by sc132)
    since it's a play and it depends entirely on the speech and stage directions).
    Bit of a late reply for this , but remember that Shakespeare did not write the stage directions - he didn't (i don't think) even write the play as a whole at first. He would write out the pieces individually and give them to the individual actors. The stage directions were then added later by editors. I don't know if this is any use, or even if it's relevant, but it may be something to remember.
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    (Original post by polkadot)
    Has anyone got any good notes on jealousy they could post please?
    JEALOUSY

    :suitc: Iago is perhaps jealous of the the power Desdemona has over Othello

    :suitc: Iahgo's jealousy of not being promoted is arguably the source of this tragedy.

    :suitc: Othello's jealousy is exploted by Iago, as can be seen when he begins to mirror Iago's crude and bitter language.

    :suitc: Othello's insistence for 'ocular' proof suggests his nobility.

    :suitc: This play shows how jealousy is terrifying and destructive.

    :suitc: Othello's jealousy is reflected in Bianca's jealousy over the handkerchief.

    :suitc: Shakespeare presents to the audience how jealousy is a part of all of us.
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    Quick glimpse of Jealousy

    It's usual for this play to be actually called a tragedy of jealousy.

    I mean Iago's jealous of Othello and Cassio, Othello's jealous of Cassio, Emilia is jealous of Desdemona, very complexing.

    Iago first uses the word warning Othello to 'beware the green-eyed monster'. Othello says he's not a jealous man and so does Desdemona - Irony flowing here people!!! Emilia says quite nicely that 'jealous souls' are 'jealous for they're jealous' - there is no cause. Jealousy is therefore innate, in other words we're born with it.
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    (Original post by Fraction Man)
    Quick glimpse of Jealousy

    It's usual for this play to be actually called a tragedy of jealousy.

    I mean Iago's jealous of Othello and Cassio, Othello's jealous of Cassio, Emilia is jealous of Desdemona, very complexing.

    Iago first uses the word warning Othello to 'beware the green-eyed monster'. Othello says he's not a jealous man and so does Desdemona - Irony flowing here people!!! Emilia says quite nicely that 'jealous souls' are 'jealous for they're jealous' - there is no cause. Jealousy is therefore innate, in other words we're born with it.
    and then Othello reiterates in the last act "it is the cause it is the cause..." good on you, othello :rolleyes:
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    Awwww where would I be without you backing me up lol, thanks!!! Delicate times at the moment.
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    awwbless, i'm always here though not necessarily particularly helpful but still...:p:
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    Hi guys! This is really helpful!

    I was just wondering if anyone could give me a run-down on who these critics are... eg when they lived, to give me some impression of their perspectives and so that I can use them when I'm talking about different perceptions of the play through time...

    I only just found out that we have to include critic's comments just now because I have a completely hopeless teacher!

    It would be an absolute life-saver if anyone could help! Thank you!
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    Emilia is jealous of Desdemona??? :eek:

    *starting to worry about this exam...*
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    (Original post by Steph!)
    Hi guys! This is really helpful!

    I was just wondering if anyone could give me a run-down on who these critics are... eg when they lived, to give me some impression of their perspectives and so that I can use them when I'm talking about different perceptions of the play through time...

    I only just found out that we have to include critic's comments just now because I have a completely hopeless teacher!

    It would be an absolute life-saver if anyone could help! Thank you!
    This site appears quite good http://www.enotes.com/othello/s724

    Other critics worth looking at:
    :suitc: A.C. Bradley on othello..."by far the most romantic figure among Shakespeare's heroes...He does not belong to our world, and he seems to enter it we know not whence-almost as if from wonderland"
    :suitc: F.R.Leavis (July 14, 1895 - April 14, 1978) was an influential British literary critic of the early-to-mid-twentieth century. "He really is beyond any question, the nobly massive man of action, the captain of men, he sees himself as being...In short, a habit of self-approving, self-dramatisation is an essential element in Othello's make-up..."
    :suitc: Coleridge (offers extensive criticism on Iago)
    :suitc: Sean McEvoy "He is living the life of a chvalric warrior in a world run by money nd self-interest."
    :suitc: Helen GardnerHis only reaction is calculation, and the desire to manipulate..."
    :suitc: Germaine Greer "Iago is still alive and kicking and filling migrants' letterboxes with excrement."
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    Quite often the questions seem to be about the credibility of the characters so I thought that maybe we could share ideas about how credible the characters seem.

    Othello
    Not credible


    -It doesn't seem credible that he would so easily be manipulated by Iago, that he would change his opinion of Desdemona so quickly. In Act 3 Scene 3he states he needs "ocular proof" and that I'll see before I doubt however only 100 lines later he is accusing her of being a "lewd minx"

    -If he does place such trust in and hold such a high regard of Iago then we are left wondering as to why he was not made Lieutenant initially

    -It could be said that it doesn't seem credible that there is such a marked difference in his language, from his eloquent speech to his rantings

    Credible


    -He is an outsider to Venetian society- therefore he is insecure and relies on Iago, a man whom knows with a Leaned spirit of human of dealings Therefore it IS plausible he would be so easily manipulated by Iago. Iago takes advantage of Othello's inability to see characters clearly, saying how he "thinks men honest that seem to be"

    -Iago is able to manipulate the other characters, why not Othello
    He also uses clever insinuations and never directly accuses anyone- it is plausible therefore that Othello would be taken in.

    -Othello's language changing directly reflects his state of mind, he even states "my mind misgives" and in his rantings says "farewell content". It also mirrors Iago's animalistic, bestial langauag shwoing his influence. His deterioting language could be seen as plausible therefore.

    -When the Turks are drowned Othello's use as a warrior diminishes and although he still has authority, war, the only concept he is comfortable with has been removed- allows for descent into paranoia, jealousy
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    (Original post by ChrissyBoy5)
    Quite often the questions seem to be about the credibility of the characters so I thought that maybe we could share ideas about how credible the characters seem.

    Othello
    Not credible


    -It doesn't seem credible that he would so easily be manipulated by Iago, that he would change his opinion of Desdemona so quickly. In Act 3 Scene 3he states he needs "ocular proof" and that I'll see before I doubt however only 100 lines later he is accusing her of being a "lewd minx"

    -If he does place such trust in and hold such a high regard of Iago then we are left wondering as to why he was not made Lieutenant initially

    -It could be said that it doesn't seem credible that there is such a marked difference in his language, from his eloquent speech to his rantings

    Credible


    -He is an outsider to Venetian society- therefore he is insecure and relies on Iago, a man whom knows with a Leaned spirit of human of dealings Therefore it IS plausible he would be so easily manipulated by Iago. Iago takes advantage of Othello's inability to see characters clearly, saying how he "thinks men honest that seem to be"

    -Iago is able to manipulate the other characters, why not Othello
    He also uses clever insinuations and never directly accuses anyone- it is plausible therefore that Othello would be taken in.

    -Othello's language changing directly reflects his state of mind, he even states "my mind misgives" and in his rantings says "farewell content". It also mirrors Iago's animalistic, bestial langauag shwoing his influence. His deterioting language could be seen as plausible therefore.

    -When the Turks are drowned Othello's use as a warrior diminishes and although he still has authority, war, the only concept he is comfortable with has been removed- allows for descent into paranoia, jealousy
    :eek: they're really good points, points I haven't covered at all, so now I'm worried!!!! eek!
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    Aww no, there were lots of points and quotations you mentioned that i hadn't thought of/learnt and if the question starts focusing on specific parts of the play or characters like Cassio, Bianca and Roderigo I'm screwed
 
 
 
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