Othello (The Annotated Shakespeare)
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And who does he choose? A guy who knows more about numbers than fighting! This guy from Florence named Michael Cassio. Othello: Popular pages. Take a Study Break. Original Text. In his absence, Iago gets Cassio drunk, and then persuades Roderigo to draw Cassio into a fight. Montano tries to calm down an angry and drunk Cassio and this leads to them fighting one another.
Montano is injured in the fight. Othello reenters and questions the men as to what happened. Othello blames Cassio for the disturbance and strips him of his rank. Cassio is distraught. Iago persuades Cassio to ask Desdemona to convince her husband to reinstate him. Iago now persuades Othello to be suspicious of Cassio and Desdemona. When Desdemona drops a handkerchief the first gift given to her by Othello , Emilia finds it, and gives it to her husband Iago, at his request, unaware of what he plans to do with it.
Othello reenters and vows with Iago for the death of Desdemona and Cassio, after which he makes Iago his lieutenant. Act III, scene iii is considered to be the turning point of the play as it is the scene in which Iago successfully sows the seeds of doubt in Othello's mind, inevitably sealing Othello's fate. Iago plants the handkerchief in Cassio's lodgings, then tells Othello to watch Cassio's reactions while Iago questions him.
Iago goads Cassio on to talk about his affair with Bianca, a local courtesan, but whispers her name so quietly that Othello believes the two men are talking about Desdemona. Later, Bianca accuses Cassio of giving her a second-hand gift which he had received from another lover. Othello sees this, and Iago convinces him that Cassio received the handkerchief from Desdemona.
Enraged and hurt, Othello resolves to kill his wife and tells Iago to kill Cassio. Othello proceeds to make Desdemona's life miserable and strikes her in front of visiting Venetian nobles. Meanwhile, Roderigo complains that he has received no results from Iago in return for his money and efforts to win Desdemona, but Iago convinces him to kill Cassio. Roderigo, having been manipulated by Iago, attacks Cassio in the street after Cassio leaves Bianca's lodgings. Cassio wounds Roderigo. During the scuffle, Iago comes from behind Cassio and badly cuts his leg.
In the darkness, Iago manages to hide his identity, and when Lodovico and Gratiano hear Cassio's cries for help, Iago joins them. When Cassio identifies Roderigo as one of his attackers, Iago secretly stabs Roderigo to stop him revealing the plot. Iago then accuses Bianca of the failed conspiracy to kill Cassio. Othello confronts Desdemona, and then strangles her in their bed. When Emilia arrives, Desdemona defends her husband before dying, and Othello accuses Desdemona of adultery. Emilia calls for help. The former governor Montano arrives, with Gratiano and Iago.
When Othello mentions the handkerchief as proof, Emilia realizes what her husband Iago has done, and she exposes him, whereupon he kills her. Othello, belatedly realising Desdemona's innocence, stabs Iago but not fatally, saying that Iago is a devil, and he would rather have him live the rest of his life in pain. Iago refuses to explain his motives, vowing to remain silent from that moment on. Lodovico apprehends both Iago and Othello for the murders of Roderigo, Emilia, and Desdemona, but Othello commits suicide.
Lodovico appoints Cassio as Othello's successor and exhorts him to punish Iago justly. He then denounces Iago for his actions and leaves to tell the others what has happened.
No English translation of Cinthio was available in Shakespeare's lifetime, and verbal echoes in Othello are closer to the Italian original than to Gabriel Chappuy 's French translation. Cinthio's tale may have been based on an actual incident occurring in Venice about Cinthio drew a moral which he placed in the mouth of Desdemona that it is unwise for European women to marry the temperamental men of other nations.
Othello by Shakespeare - AbeBooks
While Shakespeare closely followed Cinthio's tale in composing Othello , he departed from it in some details. Brabantio, Roderigo, and several minor characters are not found in Cinthio, for example, and Shakespeare's Emilia takes part in the handkerchief mischief while her counterpart in Cinthio does not. Unlike in Othello , in Cinthio, the "Ensign" the play's Iago lusts after Desdemona and is spurred to revenge when she rejects him. Shakespeare's opening scenes are unique to his tragedy, as is the tender scene between Emilia and Desdemona as the lady prepares for bed. Shakespeare's most striking departure from Cinthio is the manner of his heroine's death.
In Shakespeare, Othello suffocates Desdemona, but in Cinthio, the "Moor" commissions the "Ensign" to bludgeon his wife to death with a sand-filled stocking. Cinthio describes each gruesome blow, and, when the lady is dead, the "Ensign" and the "Moor" place her lifeless body upon her bed, smash her skull, and cause the cracked ceiling above the bed to collapse upon her, giving the impression its falling rafters caused her death. In Cinthio, the two murderers escape detection. The "Moor" then misses Desdemona greatly, and comes to loathe the sight of the "Ensign". He demotes him, and refuses to have him in his company.
The "Ensign" then seeks revenge by disclosing to the "Squadron Leader" the "Moor's" involvement in Desdemona's death. The two depart Cyprus for Venice, and denounce the "Moor" to the Venetian Seigniory; he is arrested, taken to Venice, and tortured. He refuses to admit his guilt and is condemned to exile. Desdemona's relatives eventually find and kill him. The "Ensign", however, continues to escape detection in Desdemona's death, but engages in other crimes while in Venice.
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He is arrested and dies after being tortured. Cinthio's "Ensign's Wife" the play's Emilia , survives her husband's death to tell her story. Cinthio's "Moor" is the model for Shakespeare's Othello, but some researchers believe the poet also took inspiration from the several Moorish delegations from Morocco to Elizabethan England circa Another possible source was the Description of Africa by Leo Africanus. The book was an enormous success in Europe, and was translated into many other languages,  remaining a definitive reference work for decades and to some degree, centuries afterwards.
While supplying the source of the plot, the book offered nothing of the sense of place of Venice or Cyprus. The earliest mention of the play is found in a Revels Office account, which records that on "Hallamas Day, being the first of Nouembar Stamp in The play was entered into the Register of the Stationers Company on 6 October , by Thomas Walkley , and was first published in quarto format by him in One year later, the play was included among the plays in the First Folio of Shakespeare's collected plays.
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However, the version in the Folio is rather different in length, and in wording: as the editors of the Folger edition explain: "The Folio play has about lines that do not appear in the Quarto. Some of these cluster together in quite extensive passages. The Folio also lacks a scattering of about a dozen lines or part-lines that are to be found in the Quarto. These two versions also differ from each other in their readings of numerous words.
Othello is renowned amongst literary scholars for the way it portrays the human emotion of jealousy. Throughout the play, good-natured characters make rash decisions based on the jealousy that they feel, most notably Othello.
In the early acts, Othello is depicted as a typical heroic figure and holds admirable qualities, written with the intention of winning over the favour of the audience; however, as the play goes on, jealousy will manipulate his decisions and lead him into sin. While the majority of the evil that Othello carries out in the play can be cited as coming from Iago, it is jealousy that motivates him to perform wicked deeds. When Iago highlights the almost excessive amount of time that Cassio and his wife, Desdemona, are spending together, Othello becomes filled with rage and, following a series of events, will murder the one that he loves.
Shakespeare explores man's ugliest trait in this opus and perfectly represents the idea of the 'tragic hero' in Othello, who wins over the responders early on but proceeds to make bad, almost wicked, decisions that will make it harder for the audience to like him until his eventual undoing.
This idea of the tragic hero is made clear through the utilisation of jealousy, one of the various notable themes present in Othello. Although its title suggests that the tragedy belongs primarily to Othello, Iago plays an important role in the plot. He reflects the archetypal villain and has the biggest share of the dialogue.
In Othello , it is Iago who manipulates all other characters at will, controlling their movements and trapping them in an intricate net of lies. He achieves this by getting close to all characters and playing on their weaknesses while they refer to him as "honest" Iago, thus furthering his control over the characters. Bradley , and more recently Harold Bloom , have been major advocates of this interpretation.
Leavis , have focused on Othello. Although characters described as "Moors" appear in two other Shakespeare plays Titus Andronicus and The Merchant of Venice , such characters were a rarity in contemporary theatre, and it was unknown for them to take centre stage. Your browser is currently not set to accept cookies. Please turn this functionality on or check if you have another program set to block cookies.
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