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Othello William Shakespeare 1604 First performed November 1, 1604 for King James I. Written during Shakespeare s great tragic period (Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Othello

William Shakespeare1604

  • First performed November 1, 1604 for King James
  • Written during Shakespeares great tragic period
    (Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth)
  • Shakespearean tragedy involves human character
    above all else. It is the fall of one person
    the Hero who is of a high degree in society,
    with his fate affecting the welfare of the whole

What is the tragedy?
  • A tale of suffering and calamity that leads up to
    and includes the death of the hero
  • His misery is exceptional as it extends beyond
    him to the whole environment
  • The heros fall, which is caused by some evil
    force, contrasts the powerlessness of man in the
    face of the caprice of Fate

Where does it come from?
  • The tragedy issues from conflict, either between
    persons or groups or forces within the heros
  • The calamities of tragedy proceed from the
    actions of men tragedy being caused by a series
    of deeds leading to a catastrophe

The Tragic Hero
  • He is a man of noble character and is depicted
    as somewhat larger than life. The events of the
    play must happen to a conspicuous person, and
    they are contrasted with his previous happiness
    or glory
  • The character of the tragic hero must be complex
    because the tragedy lies, not in his death which
    is looked on as a relief or escape, but in his

Hamartia or Tragic Flaw
  • The main source of the tragic situation is moral
    evil which reveals itself in defects of character
    irresolution (Hamlet), ambition (Macbeth),
    jealousy (Othello), rashness (Lear).
  • The evil may grow worse and infect the entire
    figure of the leading figure (Macbeth) or it may
    become better and purge itself by suffering (Lear)

Tragic Flaw continued
  • What continues to motivate the tragic hero is
    generally his basic goodness and the tragic
    situation is ironic because the tragedy largely
    stems from the depiction of the waste of this
  • The tragic flaw is not always a simple one ,
    although the evil is more often than not
    identified with one flaw

  • Through the fall of the tragic hero and the
    events of the tragedy, the audience is able to
    experience catharsis.
  • Catharsis is a purging of emotion (usually pity)
    by vicariously experiencing the events of the
  • Due to the universal themes of Shakespeares
    plays (love, hate, jealousy, revenge, etc) a
    connection between a character, event or theme is
    almost guaranteed

The Play Othello
  • The play is set against the backdrop of the wars
    between Venice and Turkey from the latter part of
    the sixteenth century
  • The island of Cyprus, the major setting for the
    play, became subservient to Venice in 1471
  • Cyprus was attacked by the Turks in 1570 and
    conquered the following year

  • The History of the Turks by Richard Knolles
    (1603) and the Italian tale by Giovanni Battista
    Giraldi Cinzio
  • Both stories deal with the character Othello and
    work with similar themes
  • Shakespeare added characters and took the minor
    character of the ancient and created one of his
    greatest villains in Iago

The Moor
  • The origin of Othellos roots are unsure as he
    could have been of African or Arabic descent
  • Moorish characters are evident in other
    Shakespearian plays (Titus Andronicus) but none
    as heroic as Othello.
  • Although loved by most, the stereotypical racism
    in the play that looms below the surface is
    clearly shown by Iago

  • Illusion vs. reality truth vs. falsehood
  • Evil masquerading as good
  • Friendship and betrayal
  • Destruction of jealousy unchecked passion
  • Loyalty, trust vs. treachery
  • Prejudice
  • Love and Hate

  • Othello- General, husband to Desdemona
  • Desdemona Othellos wife, daughter of
  • Iago ancient to Othello
  • Brabantio Senator, father of Desdemona
  • Cassio Othellos lieutenant
  • Roderigo pawn of Iago, fromer suitor of
  • Emilia wife of Iago, Desdemonas lady
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