Critics: Othello – G Wilson Knight, ‘The Othello Music’ (1930)

crysoliteG Wilson Knight, ‘The Othello Music’ (1930) “Nay, had she been true, / If Heaven would make me such another world / Of one entire and perfect chrysolite, / I’d not have sold her for it.” (V ii [143])’Notice the single word ‘chrysolite’ with its outstanding and remote beauty: this is typical of ‘Othello’.
natural imagesG Wilson Knight, ‘The Othello Music’ (1930) ‘natural images are given a human value. They are insignificant, visually: their value is only that which they bring to the human passion which cries out to them.’
chiselled phraseG Wilson Knight, ‘The Othello Music’ (1930) ‘…the dominant quality in this play is the exquisitely moulded language, the noble cadence and chiselled phrase, of Othello’s poetry.’
domesticG Wilson Knight, ‘The Othello Music’ (1930) ‘The ‘Othello’ world is eminently domestic, and Desdemona expressly feminine. We hear of her needlework …, her fan…, gloves, mask…’
reasonG Wilson Knight, ‘The Othello Music’ (1930) ‘Here is [Iago’s] reason for hating Othello’s and Desdemona’s love: he hates their beauty, to him a meaningless, stupid thing. That is Iago. Cynicism is his philosophy, his very life, his ‘motive’ in working Othello’s ruin.’
uglinessG Wilson Knight, ‘The Othello Music’ (1930) [about Act 4] ‘the accumulative effect of ugliness, hellishness, idiocy, negation.’
formless, colourless, essenceG Wilson Knight, ‘The Othello Music’ (1930) [about Act 4] ‘It is a formless, colourless, essence, insidiously undermining a world of concrete, visual, richly-toned forms. That is the Iago-spirit embattled against the domesticity, the romance, the idealised humanity of the ‘Othello’ world.’
contrast of Othello’s stylesG Wilson Knight, ‘The Othello Music’ (1930) ‘Here, too, we find the reason for the extreme contrast of Othello’s styles: one exotically beautiful, the other blatantly absurd, ugly. There is often no dignity in Othello’s rage.’

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