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Transcript of Othello
The Moor of Venice Iago's Motivations Iago
History Coleridge-'Motiveless malignity'
Iago is unconsciously trying to find reason for his actions- when he has none.
Disinterested love of evil.
Cassio, Othello and Desdemona's positive attributes make Iago more aware of his internal ugliness.
A.C Bradley- 'desperate theory' EVIL Rand- 'His stated motive is jealousy. He thinks that Othello has been too familiar with Emilia'
'Why scholars, generally, have been so reluctant to accept jealousy as the key to the heart of Iago's mystery, i do not know. Perhaps they thought would make interpretation too easy'
'To see jealousy through the comparable but contrasting experiences of Othello and Iago is nto see it in focus, as the most desperate passion of man and the most devastating.'
A.C Bradley- 'common-place' view. JEALOUSY POWER Hazlitt and Swinburne- 'The most delightful thing to such a man would be something that gave an extreme satisfaction to his sense of power and superiority; and if it involved, secondly, the triumphant exertion of his abilities, and thirdly, the excitement of danger, his delight would be consummated.'
A.C Bradley- 'Iago's longing to satisfy his sense of power is, I think, the strongest of the forces that drive him on,' A.C Bradley- 'Once embarked on his course, Iago could not turn back, even if this passion did abate; and it is also true that he is compelled, by his success in convincing Othello, to advance to conclusions of which at the outset he did not dream. He is thus caught in his own web, and could not liberate himself if he would.' FATE Vote Who is this play about? Who prompts action in the play? Who do you sympathise most with? Iago Iago's character traits cont. Relevance in play
Othello Iago's character traits A.C Bradley (1909) "...to consider how Iago appeared to those who knew him and what inferences may be drawn from his illusions..." Previous 'incorrect' criticism
-Iago is "an ordinary villain"
-Iago is a "being who hates good simply because it is good" These explanations are not strong enough for Bradley. For him Iago is a huge force within the text - "Iago's insight...into human nature...his quickness and versatility in dealing with sudden difficulties" "powers of dissimulation and self control"(Bradley, 1909) The play is titled Othello, and follows the actions of Othello (in addition to Iago) Textual ref - "This fellow of exceeding honesty,/And knows all quantities, with a learned spirit,/Of human dealings (3.3, 288-290) "Cold by temperament - there was never in him any violent storm to be controlled" (Bradley, 1909) "...destitute of humanity, of sympathetic or social feeling" (Bradley, 1909) "passion of ambition, passion of hatred" (Bradley) Iago is clever - allows manipulation to be made ever the easier. TR - "I have rubbed this young quat almost to the sense,/And grows angry. Now weather he kill Cassio/Or Cassio kill him, or each do kill the other, /Everyway makes my gain" (5.1, 11-14) "Iago's insight, dexterity, quickness, address, and the like, are in themselves admirable things; the perfect man would possess them..." (Bradley 1909) "...The audience are taken on a disturbing journey into the mind of someone suffering a mental disturbance..." (Base and Rasmussen, 2009: 175) Iago's Tragedy Iago has experienced his own fall. Iago has "let loose the forces within him and is at once destroyed" (Bradley 1909) The moment his truth becomes known - Iago panics and addresses Emilia only "Come, hold your peace" (5.2, 248) "Villainous whore!" (5.2 261), self control released and inner fury. Iago's punishment "Demand me nothing: what you know you know/From this time forth I will never speak a word" (5.2 342,342) Iago is game maker Causing actions in play to unfold? Iago and Othello stats Iago - 31% of lines, 272 speeches, 12 scenes on stage Othello - 25% of lines, 274 speeches, 12 scenes on stage Using the extracts, argue that Iago is motivated by: Group 1:
MOTIVELESS MALIGNITY Group 2:
JEALOUSY Group 3:
HIS DESIRE FOR POWER Group 4:
FATE Clip Comparison Early Othello Modern Iago First performed in roughly 1604.
Was successful during the restoration.
There have been over 25 adaptations and derrivations for the screen. Using the extracts, what are the theorists saying about Othello/Iago/both?
How does this relate to the representation of Othello as Moor?
Do you agree? : Group 1:
Orkin 1987 Group 2:
Barry 1990 Group 3:
Adelman 1997 Looking at Act 3 Scene 3 L.370-528,
focus on a section of your choice and represent the relationship between Iago
and Othello. Group 1:
Costume / Appearance Group 2:
Staging / Film Setting Group 3:
Performance / Stage Directions "Othello is essential man in all his prowess and protective strength" (Wilson Knight 1930) Othello's narrative Language Othello begins in control of his language but as the play develops his language becomes more erratic Empathy for Othello? Can we relate to Othello because he is essentially responding to what he is being told by someone he trusts? "Othello is concretely human...a symbol of human especially masculine 'purpose, courage and valour, and in a final judgement, is seen to represent the idea of human faith and value in a very wide sense" (Wilson Knight 1930) Richard Burbage Margaret Hughes Joseph Taylor was Burbage's successor in the King's Men, playing notable roles and particularly noted for his portrayal of Hamlet and Iago.
Motivation Othello is mysterious "Most potent, grave, reverend signiors,
My very noble and approved good masters" (1.3, 86-87) "O monstrous! Monstrous!" (3.3, 469)
"I'll tear her all to pieces" (3.3, 475) "highly coloured, rich in sound and phrase, stately" (Wilson Knight 1930) -powerful, lack of emotional control -eloquent, polite, respectful "Othello is neither Everyman nor human savage" (Barry 1990) He is a 'Moor', an other, but defends the Christian faith