Othello as Tragic Hero From Hamlet, an ideal prince, and other essays in Shakesperean interpretation: In the matter of Othello and Iago, it cannot fairly be maintained that Iago was the sole cause of the calamities that befell Othello. In general it must be said that there is no Shakespearean tragedy in which the responsibility for the deed of the hero and the subsequent tragedy can be shifted from him to another person of the play. Shakespeare no doubt did not have the conception of the influence of social forces that some modern dramatists display, for that is a conception belonging to the nineteenth century.
Get Access Trying to psychoanalyse the nature of Iago is like trying to decipher the enigma. Iago is a character with so many different facets to his name that literary critics have been divided for years as to whether Iago is indeed a highly complex character or if he is one who is in fact very simple.
We as an audience try and understand his actions. Perhaps Iago is of such a mentality that his audience simply cannot grasp his nature and it is only through the imagination of Shakespeare that we gain an insight into this different mentality.
This would remove the much-popularised view that Iago had several motives — envy, humiliation, failure and inferiority. Either intentionally or unintentionally Iago creates an air of mystery about himself, which is subtly revealed in his soliloquies with the audience.
Critics have always felt that Othello and Iago are in some ways equal and opposite or rather, complimentary. However the Elizabethan audience would have considered them to be strangely similar, because they share common values. Both Iago and Othello suffer from the same disease — jealousy. So in this sense they can be seen as parallels.
I think that this is what Shakespeare intended, people who appear different but who share common values. Values that transcend race, class and religion something that Shakespeare may have felt very strongly about at the time of writing this play.
What better way is there of representing the opposite nature of two people than visually. Shakespeare does this in the most obvious of ways — Iago is white and Othello is black. I think Iago represents a part in every person. The part that is jealous without reason, the part that is adamant in achieving a goal, even when we know that the reward is not worth the trouble faced in achieving it.
It is in these individualities that Iago can be seen as a reflection of humankind. This begs the question do we ever really see who Iago is or is his entire life an act? Othello constantly refers to Iago as good and honest during the first half of the play.
During the whole play Iago acts differently towards different people in order to tip the scales in his favour, therefore it is only through his soliloquies that we get close to understanding who he is.
He may not consider himself to be a proper man, so to assume the role of Cassio may aid him in feeling more like one. In another soliloquy at the end of act 2 scene 1 Shakespeare has been criticised by the author E. Some as with E. An audience will always determine the immediate success or failure of a production.
These moments are often quite intimate and we, as an audience make a connection with Iago that is not apparent during any other time of the play. I think the reason for this is because when Iago speaks during his soliloquies it is as a stream of consciousness rather than constructed speech.
He often reveals things that simultaneously reveal a lot about him as a character. It is as if Iago is enjoying watching events unfold into his lap.Guide to Theory of Drama.
Manfred Jahn. Full reference: Jahn, Manfred. A Guide to the Theory of Drama. Part II of Poems, Plays, and Prose: A Guide to the Theory of Literary Genres. English Department, University of Cologne.
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grudges and motives to himself. Though Iago may be stretching the bounds of sanity, he goals despite his own miserable fate. Iago's deep resentment of his victims can only be. understood by. Othello (The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice) is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in It is based on the story Un Capitano Moro ("A Moorish Captain") by Cinthio, a disciple of Boccaccio, first published in The story revolves around its two central characters: Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army and his unfaithful ensign, Iago.
This webpage is for Dr. Wheeler's literature students, and it offers introductory survey information concerning the literature of classical China, classical Rome, classical Greece, the Bible as Literature, medieval literature, Renaissance literature, and genre studies.
July 3, 1. G. Wilson Knight on Shakespeare. A. The Occult and the Mystical in Shakespeare. I continue to be impressed by the work of the eminent literary critic and Shakespeare specialist G. Wilson Knight.