Presentation on theme: "Othello: The Moor of Venice Background Notes. Introduction to the Play –Written after Hamlet (1600-1601) –One of Shakespeare’s four great tragedies: Hamlet."— Presentation transcript:
Introduction to the Play –Written after Hamlet (1600-1601) –One of Shakespeare’s four great tragedies: Hamlet Othello King Lear Macbeth
Focuses on issues of both national and personal importance Explores domestic issues –Tale of passion –Fidelity, honor, justice, and personal struggle
In the opening act...… –Venetians are searching for the “valiant Othello” to lead its army to fight off the advancing Turks –Othello was called away from his honeymoon to go to war By the opening of Act II, the war is over, the Turks are defeated, and the victors are ready to land in Cypress. –War takes place offstage Othello is about times of peace, times of domesticity, and the battles that fill domestic life.
Sources for the Play Although he stands out as one of the finest Western dramatists ever, none of Shakespeare’s stories were entirely original.
Sources for the Play –Othello: The Moor of Venice finds its roots in Giraldi Cinthio’s Hecatommithi (1565) His work is built around short stories, most centering on the theme of marriage Two sections revolve around marital infidelity and how a husband seeks revenge on his wife for “supposed” infidelity, culminating in her “accidental” death.
Setting –Venice For Elizabethans, Italians were a wicked people, living lives of treachery, murder, and loose morals.
Setting Shakespeare gives his most evil character (Iago) a Spanish name because Spain was England’s worst enemy.
Themes Appearance versus reality Society’s treatment of the outsider The problem is to make a hero an outsider, one who doesn’t quite belong in the society in which he lives. –Othello is a Moor (North African) Jealousy
Othello Protagonist Born a Moor – Black man from Northern Africa (Arab) Looked upon with suspicion –Pagan- not converted to Christianity –Descended from “men of royal siege” or rank
Othello Well-liked by his soldiers –Comes to Venice as a soldier of fortune to help Venice win their war against the Turks
Othello Tragic Flaw: Believes that others are honest and sincere until he has proof they are not –Lives by a code of honor (military and private) –When a man’s honor is lost, he must win it back –Passionate man with a fiery temper –Allows jealousy to prevail over common sense *Always considered a stranger*
Iago Antagonist Othello’s ensign- low ranked commissioned officer Married to Emilia –They seem to tolerate each other
Iago Very complex character –Loves evil for evil’s sake –Motivated by jealousy –Seeks revenge –A wonderful actor –Amoral – he has no standards at all –Highly intelligent –Egotist: His opinion of everyone EXCEPT himself is very low
Iago –Amoral – he has no standards at all –Highly intelligent –Egotist: His opinion of everyone EXCEPT himself is very low –Cynic: Shows contempt for all convential standards of decency –Extremely proud
Desdemona Young Venetian woman Sheltered her entire life by her father Portrait of a lovely, courageous, gentlewoman May represent the good that evel often destroys Is guilty only of loving her husband too much
Cassio Attractive, likeable young man Othello’s lieutenant Innocent victim of Iago’s treachery
Emilia Iago’s wife Desdemona’s lady-in- waiting Low opinion of men
Brabantio Desdemona’s father Venetian senator Feels as if he OWNS his daughter Not well-regarded by others in the government/society (silly man)
Roderigo Venetian nobleman in love with Desdemona Has more money than sense – pays Iago to help woo her for him Roderigo’s gullibility and trust of Iago gets him killed.