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Flashcards in Othello Critics Deck (25)
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What does Samuel Johnson say about Iago?

“The character of Iago is so conducted that he is from the first scene to the last hated and despised”

Iago doesn’t change or undergo any personal journeys


What does Charles lamb say about Iago?

Shakespeare’s criminal characters: “we think not so much of the crimes which they commit, as of the ambition, the aspiring spirit, the intellectual activity”

We enjoy the ambition they have to climb the chain of being


What does W.H Auden say about Iago?

“Joker in the pack” “practical joker of a peculiarly appalling kind”

Dramatic perspective allows us to share his humour- his victims lack humour which makes him seem clever


Harold Goddard on Iago

“Highest intellectual gifts”


Samuel Coleridge on Iago

“The motive-hunting of motiveless malignity”


What did Samuel Johnson say is the key quality of the play?

Crucial insight into human nature


What are Anna Jameson’s views on Desdemonas role in the play?

She is “the source of pathos throughout”

The plays fundamental opposition is not the marriage but Iago and desdemonas relationship
“Her gentleness appears only a contemptible weakness”

The horror lies between the virtuous Desdemona and malevolent Iago


What does AC Bradley say about the character of othello

“Noblest soul on earth”


What are F.R Leavis views on othello

Self dramatisation
“Self pride becomes stupidity... an insane and self deceiving passion”


Bernard Spivak on Iago

He is the personification of evil with a dangerously privileged audience relationship


How did criticism change in 1960s

Influenced by same impulses of American civil rights movement- explore race


Cowhig view on race in othello

“A black man whose humanity is eroded by the cunning and racism of whites”


Coppelia Kahn on gender

Men’s expectations about women’s lustful nature is responsible for her death

Early modern anxiety about cuckoldry


Irene Dash on marriage

Desdemona experiences self degradation “with the aim of adjusting to marriage”

Death= sexist system that celebrates compliance in wives


Carol Thomas Neely- why are Desdemona and Emilia victims?

Not marriage but of males who view them through cultural lenses of romantic idealisation and anxious misogyny


Karen Newman- why was the marriage politically significant

It is a threat to Venice as it embodies the dangers of freely expressed female desire and miscegenation


Ruth Vanita on race

Play “combats racism by its presentation of othello as not at all different from any white husband”


Daniel Vitkus on othello and religion

He reverts back to “a version of the Islamic tyrant”


Johnathon Burton on othello

Begins to believe in his “irredeemable difference” and embraces misogyny he looses the ability to “unsettle the meaning of his skin”

Self doubt means he tries to price himself Venetian- marriage and fighting Turks- proof of his Christian faith


AC Bradley on Desdemona

She’s not a real character but the ideal “eternal womanly” Elizabethan woman


Harold bloom on Emilia

Emilia is the only character that Iago underestimates
Emilias revelation of Iago is “one of Shakespeare’s grandest ironies”


Carol Thomas Neely on Emilia

She’s the only character that realises the central conflict is between men and women


Penny Gay on Emilia

Final refusal to please her husband makes her more complex than Desdemona- she’s almost as much of a tragic figure as othello


Ania Loomba’s view on the play

“A nightmare of racial hatred and male violence”


E A J Honigmann’s view on dramatic perspective

“Dramatic perspective can even make us the villains accomplices”