Othello critical quotes

Caryl Phillips says: “Othello’s love of Desdemona is ‘the love of possession. She is a prize, a spoil of war”
Caryl Phillips commented: “Othello is a man of action, not a thinker. In his first speech he subconsciously acknowledges the social pressure he is under” “Othello feels constantly threatened and profoundly insecure”
E. A. J. Honigmann (introduction to Othello 2001) comments that: “Iago is a seductive character, who is able to get the audience to collude with him. Because ‘his victims lack humour, Iago appeals to us as more amusing'” “His humour seems to make him cleverer than his victims”
In Othello and the radical question,1998, Ania Loomba writes: “England was increasingly hostile to foreigners, both officially and at popular level.”
John Russell Brown in ‘Shakespeare: The tragedies’ (2001) reminds us of the Christian context of the 17thC: “An audience that believed in Devils might see Iago as someone working in close allegiance to an evil power”
Lisa Jardine (Still Harping on Daughters, 1983) suggests a feminist reading old Desdemona: ” Desdemona becomes a stereotype of female passivity”
Marxist critic Dympna Callaghan considers the cultural significance of Desdemona’s weeding sheets and handkerchief, commenting on their economic and symbolic value in the Renaissance: “The handkerchief acts as a miniature of the nuptial linens”
Bonnie Greer argues that: “it is only “Othello’s jealousy, not Iago’s hatred, that is the real tragedy”
Fred West argues that: “As a soldier, Iago was rewarded for displays of cunning behaviour; in peacetime though there was not the same outlet for these aspects of his character””Iago has all of the psychological traits of a psychopath.” “It is not sufficient to simply drape Iago in allegorical trappings and proclaim him Mister Evil. Such a limited view of Iago is an injustice to the complexity of his character…”
Valerie Wayne comments: “Iago is thepresence of misogynist discourse in the Renaissance “It suggests the instability of the view of women. It was not that no one any longer associated women with evil, but that the ideology was at issue and not an unquestioned presupposition or a given of the culture”
Andy Serkis, who played Iago in 2002, said: “He is not the devil. He’s you or me being jealous and not being able to control our feelings”
A.C Bradley argues that “a Shakespearean tragedy is characterized by the “tragic flaw,”
Rymer argues in “A Short View of Tragedy” “The play’s setting and change in location was unnecessary””There was no instructive moral or poetic justice because Othello isn’t punished, so the ending is barbarous”
Romanticism critic Samuel Coleridge argued that:He described Iago as being: “Othello didn’t kill Desdemona in jealousy but that it was forced upon him by the almost superhuman art of Iago” “Next to the devil who looks for excuses to be evil, motivelessly”
Critics such as A.C Bradley maintain that: “Othello is a sympathetic and noble character whose downfall is created by a being of pure evil”
Critics such as T. S. Eliot and F. R. Leavis believed that: “Othello is responsible for his own downfall” (and downplay Iago’s villainy) “Iago simply exploits a weakness that already existed in Othello’s character”
A Freudian interpretation would be: “Iago’s pain and distrust is caused by his repressed homosexual desire for Othello that is completely unrequited”Indeed in 1938 at London’s Old Vic, Laurence Olivier played Iago as gay, as did David Suchet and Sir Ian McKellen.
Bonnie Greer recognises: “In our journalistic age we demand precise answers. Many have been given through the ages: sexual jealousy, racism and so on. But the truth is we don’t know. That is why the play is called “Othello”. We will come to know Othello and exactly who he is”.
Kenneth Tyan “Othello is the most easily jealous man that anybody’s ever written about”
Karen Newman “Possession of a woman’s handkerchief was considered adultery”

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