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Epilepsy in Othello

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Christen L. Waldron

on 15 March 2013

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Transcript of Epilepsy in Othello

Epilepsy Symptoms and Causes Epilepsy in the Renaissance Epilepsy Now Othello's Seizure A seizure occurs when the message delivery system becomes unbalanced. • Causes are divided into acute
and remote causes. • Epilepsy in newborns

• Children and Adults

• Elderly • Symptoms of epilepsy: simple partial seizures and complex partial seizures. • Today, we have a much better understanding of epilepsy than we did during Shakespeare’s time. Because we know more about it, diagnosis and treatment can come at a much earlier age, so it can be effectively treated. • After being diagnosed, patients are first prescribed anti-epileptic medication. Because epilepsy is related to a lack of the inhibiting transmitter known as GABA, anti-epileptic drugs are used to stimulate the production of GABA. This lowers the amount of random misfiring of neurotransmitters in the brain, helping prevent seizures. • Medications typically work, but in some cases, more extreme measures are required. If the area of the brain causing the seizures is not vital to cognitive ability, the area can be removed via surgery. If it cannot be removed, a surgeon can make several incisions—or lesions—in the area to prevent seizures from spreading to other parts of the brain. Another method is therapy, which involves the implantation of a nerve stimulator that acts as a type of pacemaker for your brain. Some children can go on a diet high in fats and low in carbohydrates to reduce seizures, eventually being weaned off as their bodies learn to use fats for energy instead of carbohydrates. • Today, epilepsy can be effectively treated, and epileptics can lead exceedingly normal lives despite their condition. • People in the Renaissance thought that people with epilepsy were prophets and that they could see into the future when they were having a seizure. OTHELLO --Is't possible?--Confess--handkerchief!--O devil!--
(Falls in a trance.)

IAGO Work on,My medicine, work! ...

CASSIO What's the matter?

IAGO My lord is fall'n into an epilepsy:
This is his second fit; he had one yesterday....
The lethargy must have his quiet course:
If not, he foams at mouth and by and by
Breaks out to savage madness. Is Othello Epileptic? • Usually in Shakespeare's plays, what a character says about others, or what someone else says about them- is the truth. However, this is Iago who says this, and we all know Iago is a liar. So, the fact that it is Iago who says this is epilepsy, it could not be true there is no way of knowing. • Epilepsy is the same condition as the "falling sickness" which Shakespeare refers to in Julius Caesar. Iago takes the credit for driving Othello into a frenzied emotional/mental state that brings on an epileptic seizure. • Here's the short answer: There is no textual evidence that this is an epileptic seizure. • It was still regarded as a terrible disease by the common people. Nobility and the church believed it was a sign of great excellence. • A guide to witch hunting (Malleus Mallificarum) saw epileptic seizures as a form of witchcraft and many people died because of this. • It was called the “falling disease”. • For treatment they used chemical substances such as copper, zinc oxide, silver nitrate, mercury, bismuth, and tin. All treatments had no effect. • "Othello Syndrome"
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