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Drama - Othello.odt

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Marjorie Rubright

June 11, 2012 Drama: Tragedy Othello ➢ Shakespeare based many of his ideas onAristotle ➢ Shakespeare probably didn't read Aristotle in Greek ➢ Johnson: a critic; says a lot about Shakespeare; says he probably didn't edit his work ➢ Shakespeare was an actor; did a lot of workshopping of plays ➢ Ben Johnson  Contemporary of Shakespeare  Published Shakespeare's works  Authority on Shakespeare's  According to him, Shakespeare wasn't very well educated ➢ HowAristotleAffects Shakespeare  When we think of Othello as being a tragic figure, we see influences ofAristotle  Notion that Shakespeare is writing plays that are a response to Greek tragedy  Signs, Symbols, & Signifiers  Shakespeare's playing with signs, symbols, and signifiers  Oedipus • a prediction based on a sign - “The Omen” • Examples of signs: scars, his name, *riddle of sphinx (creature that's hald woman, half lion)  Shakespeare creates a problem about how these symbols and significance relates  We get an indepth analysis of Shakespeare's characters – we know what's going on in their minds – as opposed to Medea  Othello – signs & symbols • Handkerchief becomes the symbol of Desdemona's chastity – belonged to Othello's mother so it has personal significance • But when Iago manipulates this, it comes to represent Desdemona's faithfulness • For Iago, handkerchief becomes the tool to manipulate – so it's something different for Iago • Desdemona doesn't really know what the handkerchief has come to symbolize • Shakespeare is trying to get us to see that we could misread signs & symbols, the same way Othello misreads • *Cognitive Dissonance • Amisreading of one's reality • Ex: You can't believe what you see if there is an unexpected event. So what you see vs what you expect to s
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