Introduction to Shakespeares Othello Then must you speak
- Slides: 41
Introduction to Shakespeare’s Othello Then must you speak Of one that loved not wisely, but too well…
William Shakespeare o Wrote 38 plays, including comedies, histories, tragedies, and romances o Wrote 4 lengthy poems and a sonnet cycle
William Shakespeare o Born in April 1564 in Stratford-on-Avon n n o Baptized in Holy Trinity Church in Stratfordupon-Avon (Warwickshire, England) on April 26, 1564. No record of his actual birthday was recorded, but it is widely accepted that he was born within a week of his baptism. Educated at the local grammar school, The King’s New School of Stratford-upon-Avon (15? ? -1578). Likely a classical education including Latin, Greek, history, math, astronomy, and music n Limited records prohibit full disclosure of the details, but he likely received the standard education for the day: a thorough understanding of Latin, supplements of English history (unsurprisingly biased based upon the current monarch), Greek philosophy/poetry, and Anglican Doctrine
William Shakespeare o o In his studies and own time, he became well-versed in Roman drama, which often retold Greek classics in their own ways. He often used earlier works as source material: he did not plagiarize; he “reimagined” or “updated” the narratives as he deemed fit. Married Anne Hathaway on November 27/28, 1582. He is 18 and she is 26. By the age of 21 he has 3 children and a wife to support. n o o This relationship has confused and intrigued scholars for centuries. By 1592, he was a well-known and actor and dramatist in London. In 1593, the Earl of Southampton became his patron and he made his formal poetic debut with Venus and Adonis. For the next two decades, he wrote 38 total plays (that we know of). In 1594, Shakespeare (re)joined the acting troupe, Lord Chamberlain’s Men, and further advanced his stage career. n This time, however, he began to focus more prominently on writing plays.
William Shakespeare o o 1594 also marks the first recorded instance of Shakespeare (as a part of Lord Chamberlain’s Men) performing before Queen Elizabeth I. n Shakespeare and theatre were rising in station and influence By 1596, Shakespeare finally had enough money and some social esteem to earn a coat of arms for his family—which was his father’s lifelong ambition. n n o This event, though fairly inconsequential, was significant for Shakespeare and slightly distanced him from the disreputable world of the South Bank. But he was still considered an outsider to more established classes 1599: Lord Chamberlain’s Men purchase the Globe Theatre and Shakespeare resigns himself to writing, producing, and directing plays, only taking minor parts when an additional actor was required.
William Shakespeare o o 1597: Bought a home in Stratford-upon-Avon, the estate to which he eventually retired and lived the final years of his life. No plays are attributed to him after 1613. Died on April 23, 1616. “His” works were not formally published until 1623 when friends John Heminges and Henry Condell printed The First Folio. Most of his early works were sketchy compositions of lines—quartos—from actors, not full works.
Theatre o Limitations of the Stage: n n n Performances took place during the day for lighting purposes. Effects were impressive for the time but fairly crude. The lower pit was generally filled with the lower class while the balconies and seated areas were dominated by those of “higher” classes.
Shakespeare Vocabulary o o o o Verse vs. Prose Meter Foot Iambic Pentameter Blank Verse vs. Free Verse Sonnet Quatrain Couplet o o o o o Aside Monologue Soliloquy Allusion Foil Tragedy Tragic Hero Tragic Flaw Dramatic Personae
Dramatic Personae o Characters listed and described at the beginning of each play n Page 701 in Literature to Go o o Othello, the Moor Barbantio, [a Venetian senator, ] father to Desdemona Cassio, and honorable lieutenant [to Othello] Etc…
Verse vs. Prose Verse: Poetic language that includes meter and sometimes rhyme; organized in lines with a consistent number of syllables Prose: Ordinary written language with no meter or rhyme; organized in sentences
Prose “Sir, he’s rash and very sudden in choler, and haply may strike at you. Provoke him that he may, for even out of that will I cause these of Cyprus to mutiny, whose qualification shall come into no true taste again but by the displanting of Cassio” (2. 1. 294 -298). Verse “Most potent, grave, and reverend signoirs, My very noble and approved good masters: That I have ta’en away this old man’s daughter, It is most true; true I have married her” (1. 3. 91 -94).
Verse vs. Prose: Usage o o Poetic style of verse used for high status characters, great affairs of war and state, and tragic moments. Prose used for low status characters (servants, clowns, drunks, villains), proclamations, written challenges, accusations, letters, comedic moments, and to express madness.
Verse vs. Prose o In Othello, pay careful attention to the situations in which Iago switches between speaking in verse and speaking in prose. o What importance does his choice of verse or prose seem to have?
Meter o Meter: the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables. o Meter is responsible for creating the rhythm of a line.
Meter and Foot o Foot: a group of syllables that forms one complete unit of a metrical pattern. o Meter is described in terms of the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables AND the total number of metrical feet in a line of verse. o Iambic pentameter is the most common metrical pattern in Shakespeare.
Iambic Pentameter Iamb: unstressed syllable, stressed syllable ˘ / Pentameter: Lines of five iambic feet; 10 syllables Example: ˘ / ˘ /˘ / But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?
Blank Verse vs. Free Verse Blank Verse: Unrhymed iambic pentameter One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. Free Verse: No regular meter One’s-Self I sing, a simple separate person, Yet utter the word Democratic, the word En- Masse.
Sonnet o 14 line poem, usually written in iambic pentameter o organized in three quatrains and a couplet o typical rhyme scheme abab cdcd efef gg o four-part organization has greater flexibility about where thematic breaks occur o most pronounced break or turn comes with concluding couplet
Sonnet: Quatrain and Couplet Quatrain: four-line verse stanza, usually rhymed Couplet: a pair of rhyming verse lines
Sonnet: Example A B When my love that she is made of truth, I do believe her, though I know she lies, That she might think me some untutored youth, Unlearned in the world’s false subtleties. C D Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young, Although she knows my days are past the best, Simply I credit her false-speaking tongue; On both sides thus is simple truth supprest. E F But wherefore says she not she is unjust? And wherefore say not I that I am old? Oh, love’s best habit is in seeming trust, And age in loves not to have years told: G G Therefore I lie with her and she with me, And in our faults by lies we flattered be.
Aside, Monologue, and Soliloquy Aside: Monologue: Soliloquy: a character’s remark, either to the audience or another character, that other characters on stage are not supposed to hear an extended speech by a single character that is uninterrupted by others a speech a character gives when s/he is alone on stage
Foil A character whose personality or attitudes are in sharp contrast to those of another character in the same work
Allusion o Allusion: reference to an event, person, place, or another work of literature o Shakespeare’s work contains numerous allusions to Greek and Roman mythology.
Allusion: Janus o o Roman god of gates and doors, beginnings and endings Depicted with a double-faced head, each looking in opposite directions Worshipped at the beginning of the harvest time, planting, marriage, birth, and other types of beginnings Also represents the transition between primitive life and civilization, between the countryside and the city, peace and war, and the growing-up of young people
Tragedy o o A serious play representing the disastrous downfall of the hero Achieves a catharsis by arousing pity and terror in the audience Hero is led into fatal calamity by hamartia (tragic flaw or error) which often takes the form of hubris (excessive pride leading to divine retribution Tragic effect depends upon audience’s awareness of the admirable qualities of the hero which are wasted in the disaster
Classical Tragic Hero o o The tragic hero is a good man, important to society The hero suffers a fall brought about by something in his nature The fall provokes the emotions of pity and fear in the reader The tragic character comes to some kind of understanding or new recognition of what has happened
Tragic Flaw Defect of character that leads to the hero’s disastrous downfall
Othello Terminology: Moor o o Muslim person of Arab and Berber descent from northwest Africa Moors invaded Spain and established a civilization in Andalusia lasting from the 8 th -- 15 th centuries Term Moor comes from the Greek work mauros meaning dark or very black In Renaissance drama, Moors often symbolized something other than human - and often, indeed, something devilish.
Othello Terminology: Cuckold o o a man whose wife is unfaithful to him Represented with horns growing out of his forehead “That cuckold lives in bliss Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger; But O, what damned minutes tells he o’er Who dotes, yet doubts; suspects, yet strongly loves!” (3. 3. 197 -200) “I have a pain upon my forehead, here” (326).
Othello: A Tragedy o o Written in 1604 One of the major tragedies -- after Hamlet and before King Lear and Macbeth Fascination with evil Study the devastating effects of the deadly sins of the spirit: ambitious pride, ingratitude, wrath, jealousy and vengeful hate
Othello: Setting o Journey from Venice, Italy to Cyprus o Venice = order, rule of reason ? o Cyprus = disorder, rule of passion ?
Othello: Poetic Images o o Focused on the natural world Most important pattern – contrast of light and dark, black and white One cluster is domestic and animal: goats, monkeys, wolves, baboons, guinea hens, wildcats, spiders, flies, asses, dogs, horses, sheep, serpents, and toads Other images include green-eyed monsters, devils, poisons, money purses, tarnished jewels, music untuned, and light extinguished
Othello: the Villain o o Delights in evil for its own sake Conscienceless, sinister, and amused by his own cunning Related to Vice, the figure of personified evil, from the medieval morality play whose role is to win Humankind away from virtue and corrupt him with worldly enticements Takes audience into his confidence, boasts in soliloquy of his cleverness, exults in the triumph of evil, and improvises plans with daring and resourcefulness
Othello: Thematic Ideas o o o Nature of love and marriage Nature of jealousy Nature and use of language Male mistrust of women Deception / Honesty Importance of reputation
The Plot o The plot is simple. A man, disappointed of promotion which he thought he had a right to expect, determines on revenge and in part secures it. By a series of careful moves he persuaded the General (Othello) of the adultery of the General's wife (Desdemona) with the lieutenant (Cassio) who has been promoted ahead of him. As a result, the general first kills his wife then himself, but the ensign (Iago) fails in the second part of his design, since the plot is disclosed. Cassio receives yet a further promotion and Iago is left facing trial and torture. The plot "scheme" is concerned with one of the strangest and most distressing of human emotions - jealousy and this is what makes the plot powerful.
Quotes about Jealousy n Jealousy is indeed a poor medium to secure love, but it is a secure medium to destroy one's selfrespect. For jealous people, like dope-fiends, stoop to the lowest level and in the end inspire only disgust and loathing. Emma Goldman
Quotes about Jealousy n Love may be blind but jealousy has 20 -20 vision. Anonymous
Quotes about Jealousy n Jealousy is the jaundice of the soul. John Dryden
Themes o The play’s central theme is love n n o o destruction of love = hate love and hate together arouse jealousy. The central conflict is between men and women and this is presented through a series of parallel and contrasting couples. Desdemona/Othello, Emilia/Iago, Bianca/Cassio and a number of fantasy couples: n Roderigo/Desdemona, Cassio/Desdemona, Othello/Emilia.