Othello: Critical Views

Sean McEvoy Feminist critics read Othello’s jealousy as the product of a social system where women are dominated and possessed by men
Newman 1987 Suggests that the tragedy of Othello is derived from a number of assumptions; made both by others about him and by Othello about himself
Aristotle Tragic hero, had a tragic flaw. Shakespeare uses catharsis?
feminist criticism Tries to ascertain whether the play challenges or accepts and endorses the patriarchal ideology and misogyny of its time
Post-colonial criticism Studies the way Othello is perceived as the ‘other’ in a white world
Structuralist criticism Looks at Language to expose the shifting and ambivalent relationship between words and meaning (signified and signified)
Post-structuralist criticism Looks for what is not there as well as what is, at how the plot is framed and at the assumptions being made
Psychoanalytical criticism Seeks to expose and interpret images and repressed desires; these become symbols that construct personal and social identities
Marxist criticism Addresses the politics of the world outside of the text to show how literature is governed by a set of socioeconomic beliefs and assumptions that distort the presentation of social reality
New historicist criticism Rejects the autonomy of the author and the literary work, and sees both as inseparable from the broader historical context. The literary text is part of a wider cultural, political, social, economic and religious framework, which determines the morals of authors and of characters
Cultural materialist criticism Similar to new historicism, this focuses on the role of ideology and institutions in the construction of identity, and on the potential for dissidence; it is particularly interested in groups marginalised by society
Presentist criticism Believes that the consumption of texts in the present is paramount, and the only way of making literary criticism directly relevant to the ‘now’

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