The Tragedy of Othello The Moor of Venice - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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The Tragedy of Othello The Moor of Venice
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The Tragedy of Othello The Moor of Venice

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  1. The Tragedy of OthelloThe Moor of Venice William Shakespeare

  2. The Main Characters • Othello: a black army general in the service of the Duke of Venice • Desdemona: Othello's wife, daughter of Brabantio • Iago: Othello's ensign (standard-bearer) thought to be a friend of Othello's • Emilia: Iago's wife, companion to Desdemona • Cassio: Othello's lieutenant • Bianca: in love with Cassio • Brabantio: A Venetian senator, father of Desdemona • Roderigo: A Venetian gentleman, in love with Desdemona

  3. Symbolic Geography • Turkey (Turks/Moors) • Un-Christian – “infidels” • Tricky (war tactics) – seen as sneaky • Barbarous, monstrous – use of power without morality • Source of disorder and destructiveness • Venice • Idealized city • Christian stronghold • Wealth, trade, political cunning, good government, achievement of social harmony through law • Cyprus • Border land between Venice and Turkey • Outpost – not strongly defended • Island nation – isolated by a stormy sea • Passions are closer to the surface

  4. Map

  5. Venice • Elizabethanssaw the Italians as wicked, murderous, and of loose morals. • To portray wickedness - playwrights often created Italian characters causing problems in England, or set the plays in Italy • Venetian women were rumored to be very beautiful, and very interested in making love • Venetian men were considered hot-tempered, aggressive, and easily jealous • Iago is a Spanish name (Italian form is Giacomo) • Most evil character gets a Spanish name (probably because Spain was England's worst enemy) • True evil, according to the Elizabethans, came from Spain

  6. Themes • Jealousy • Jealousy can be fueled by mere circumstantial evidence and can destroy lives. • Iagouses jealousy againstOthello yet jealousy is likely the source of Iago's hatred in the first place • Takes many forms- from sexual suspicion to professional competition • Always destructive • Race • Othello is one of the first black heroes in English literature • Military general -risen to a position of power and influence • Status as a black-skinned foreigner in Venice marks him as an outside and exposes him to some pretty overt racism • In Shakespeare's England, black people were considered exotic rarities • They were commonly feared as dangerous, threatening figures, sexually unrestrained and primitive • On stage, black people were often stereotyped as villains

  7. Themes • Gender • Antagonistic view • Unmarried women are regarded as their fathers' property • Most male characters assume that all Venetian women are inherently promiscuous, which explains why female sexuality is a huge threat to men in the play. • Sex • Impossible to discuss gender and sexuality without considering race • several characters in the play, including Othello, believe that black men sexually contaminate white women, which may partially explain why Othello sees his wife as soiled • Common 16th Century anxieties about miscegenation (interracial sex and marriage) • Possible for Iago to so easily manipulate Othello into believing his wife is having an affair • Portrayal of homoerotic desire a factor in Iago's plot to destroy Othello and Desdemona

  8. Themes • Marriage • Portrayal is bleak • Desdemona's father sees her elopement as a kind of theft of his personal property • Desdemona and Emilia both unfairly accused of infidelity • Manipulation • Iago – literature’s most impressive master of deception • Plots with consummate sophistication- carefully manipulating Othello Understanding of the human psyche is phenomenal • Ability to orchestrate a complicated interweaving of pre-planned scenarios • Iago'sdeception is potent because of his patience, his cleverness, and what seems to be his intrinsic love of elegant manipulation • Appearance and reality Iagofools everyone in the play into believing he's honest

  9. Themes • Warfare • Protagonist is a military general- war is always hovering in the background • Only actual battle the play promises is avoided, thanks to bad weather • The real battleground is the mind • Many critics read it as an extended war allegory; • Possible to see Iago's machinations as the strategic planning of a general, individual victories as minor battles, and the three resulting deaths the casualties of psychological combat • Also - relationship between masculine identity, war, and sexuality • Hate • Villain is motivated by a hatred that seems to elude any reasonable definition • Iago'shatred seems out of proportion with the reasons he gives for it • Iago'sloathing has been famously called a "motiveless malignancy" that redefines our understanding of hatred, making it seem a self-propelling passion rather than the consequence of any particular action.

  10. Themes • Identity • Factors that play an important role in the formations of one's identity – race, gender, social status, family relationships, military service, etc. • How an individual's sense of identity shapes his or her actions • Other/Outsider • Hero is an outsider - one who doesn't quite belong in the society in which he lives • Stands apart from the beginning • From another race and another country

  11. Symbols/Motifs and Imagery • Keep on the look out for the use of these symbols/motifs and the imagery: • Handkerchief • The word “honest” or “honesty” • War • Gardens • Willow trees • Animals • Candle

  12. Lit Terms • Double Entendre: a figure of speech in which a spoken phrase is devised to be understood in either of two ways • Example: "for the bawdy hand of the dial is now upon the prick of noon" – Romeo and Juliet • Pun: a play on words • Example: “Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man” – Romeo and Juliet • Allusion: a passing reference, without explicit identification, to a literary or historical person, place, or event, or to another literary work or passage • Example: “Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?” - Macbeth • Metaphor: a word or expression that in literal usage denotes one kind of thing is applied to a distinctly different kind of thing, without asserting a comparison • Example: “Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? /Thou art more lovely and more temperate” – Sonnet 18 • Simile: a comparison between two distinctly different things explicitly indicated by the words “like” or “as” • Example: Pity is “like a naked newborn babe.” - Macbeth • Synecdoche (sin-eck-doe-key): a part of something used to signify the whole • Example: “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!” – Julius Caesar

  13. More Lit Terms • Metonymy: the literal term for one thing applied to another with which it has become closely associated because of a recurrent relation in common experience • Example: “the crown” = a king • Personification: either an inanimate object of an abstract concept is spoken of as though it were endowed with life or with human attributes or feelings • Example: “The gray-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night” – Romeo and Juliet • Antithesis: contrary ideas expressed in a balanced sentence • Example: “My only love sprung from my only hate” – Romeo and Juliet • Oxymoron: a paradoxical utterance that conjoins two terms in that in ordinary usage are contraries • Example: “Parting is such sweet sorrow” – Romeo and Juliet • Paradox: a statement which seems on its face to be logically contradictory or absurd, yet turns out to be interpretable in a way that makes sense • Example: “One fire burns out another’s burning, / One pain is lessen’d by another’s anguish.” – Romeo and Juliet