Presentation on theme: "Othello William Shakespeare. Historical Background The primary source for Othello is a short story from Gli Hecatommithi, a collection of tales published."— Presentation transcript:
Historical Background The primary source for Othello is a short story from Gli Hecatommithi, a collection of tales published in 1565 by Geraldi Cinthio. “The Unfaithfulness of Husbands and Wives” provides an ideal place for an Elizabethan dramatist to look for a plot.
Historical Background Pliny’s Natural History enhances Othello’s exotic adventures and his alien origins. John Pory’s translation A Geographical History of Africa distinguishes between Moors of northern and southern Africa and characterizes both groups as candid and unaffected, but prone to jealousy.
Historical Background Shakespeare was also familiar with fifteenth and early sixteenth century accounts of wars between Venice and Turkey, during which time Venice regained temporary control of Cyprus. It is agreed by most scholars that Shakespeare wrote Othello in 1604. The earliest recorded performance of the play was that by the King’s Men “in the Banketinge house at Whit Hall” on November 1, 1604.
Themes Reality and Illusion (Perception and Trust) Jealousy Human evil Honor and Reputation Iago avers: "Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving. You have lost no reputation at all, unless you repute yourself a loser" (II.iii.259- 262). Racial and age implications
Principle Topics Manipulation of Time "short" time: action on stage is an unbroken sequence of events; "long" time: characters' statements and other indications suggest that a much greater period of time has passed. A black man as a hero Iago expresses his own racism and plays on the prejudices of others in his schemes against Othello. Shakespeare also presents characters who attack the hero's color and use his race to isolate and destroy him.
Modern Connections A number of issues in Othello that twenty- first century audiences can connect with: crimes of passion, Infidelity, jealousy, and racism seen in the treatment Othello receives from the other characters in the play.
Modern Connections Shakespeare was writing about the racism in his own society, not just the racism in the Venetian society depicted in the play. Set in Venice and Cyprus the Venetian society's fear of cultural difference, manifested in its racism an indicator of Elizabethan England's concern to maintain its cultural identity in the face of extensive exploration and initial colonization of the New World
Modern Connections What excites fear and pity in the modern reader is an identification with Othello's frailty and the suspicion that those unstoppable forces are produced by the fears and ignorance in society.
Shakespeare’s Language Shakespeare’s language can create a strong pang of intimidation, even fear, in a large number of modern-day readers. All that is needed to master the art of reading Shakespeare is to practice the techniques of unraveling uncommonly structured sentences and to become familiar with the poetic use of uncommon words.
Shakespeare’s Language In English, or any other language, the meaning of a sentence greatly depends upon where each word is placed in that sentence. Poetic dramas shift from average word arrangements to the strikingly unusual so that the line will conform to the desired poetic rhythm.
Shakespeare’s Language Paraphrasing Activity Act I Scene I has Iago and Roderigo in conversation. Paraphrase Iago’s speech that starts with “Despise me”. Work with a partner, and then share your interpretations with the class.