EN 1006 Lecture Notes - Sexual Jealousy, The Infamous

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Published on 17 Apr 2013
School
York University
Department
English
Course
EN 1006
Page:
of 4
ENG 1100 B October
22, 2008
Othello, the “honourable murderer”
- Tragedy features disastrous downfall of protagonist
- Order of Venice vs. Disorder of Cyprus
- Othello’s strong military focus: little knowledge of “worldly”
matters
- “My life upon her faith!” (I, iii, 292)= Othello’s intense,
impassioned love
- Very level headed, mature, focused, very unlike someone young
Othello in Cyprus
- Disorder begins to surface
- Brawl between Casio and Rodrigo
o“Going Turk” (II, iii 161-63)
oIronic, because Othello himself “goes Turk”
- Othello surrenders his passions
- Othello’s truth (promise) to Iago
o“I am bound to thee for ever” (III, iii, 216) = perversion of
marriage vow
Importance of Eyes and Seeing
- Conflict between suspicions and proof
- “Seeing is believing”
- Othello: “Show me thy thought” (III, iii, 119)
oOthello falls prey to Iago’s manipulations
- Othello loses faith in cold, hard facts
oBelieves whatever he is told
o“Hearing is believing”
Othello and Passion
- 4 humours are imbalanced
- Tormented by monster of Jealousy
- Employs misogynistic language
o“Unnatural” and animalistic descriptors
oToad metaphors
III, iii, 273-76
IV, ii, 61-2
- Othello’s collapse
- Commits suicide on marriage bed, linking sex with death
- Othello’s jealousy and proneness to manipulation seem to be his
tragic flaws
oCannot distinguish appearance from reality
Honest Iago – “I am not what I am”
- Puppet master/chief orchestrator of tragedy
- Motives:
oHatred of Cassio
oHatred of foreigners
oResentful of being cheated out of rightful place
oSexual jealousy
- Coleridge: “motiveless malignity”
- Deceitful: Janus, god of doorways
- Usurps Desdemona’s rightful place
o“I am your own for ever” (III, iii, 479)
- The name Iago is actually a Spanish name – used ironically, since
he hates foreigners
Gender Relations: “Maiden” – “Bauble” – “Whore”
- Subordination of women
- Desdemona’s “divided duty” – to father, to husband
- Struggle for power and ownership over Desdemona’s body
- Desdemona owes husband obedience
oIntegrity of Desdemona’s obedience is hotly contested
- Independence of spirit gives way to submissiveness by end of
tragedy
- Relationship between colour, paganism
The Infamous Handkerchief
- Fabric prepared from the blood of virgins
- Parallel for bloodstained bed sheets of marriage bed
oBy the end, marriage bed is transformed to a place of
punishment
- Strawberries: link to Venus, goddess of love
oChastity and fertility
oDeceit
- A controversial symbol over which the characters debate
Misogyny vs. Proto-Feminism
- Iago and Othello’s misogynistic descriptions of women
- Emilia condemns men’s exploitation of women in marriage

Document Summary

Othello"s strong military focus: little knowledge of worldly matters. My life upon her faith! (i, iii, 292)= othello"s intense, impassioned love. Very level headed, mature, focused, very unlike someone young. Brawl between casio and rodrigo: going turk (ii, iii 161-63, ironic, because othello himself goes turk . Othello"s truth (promise) to iago: i am bound to thee for ever (iii, iii, 216) = perversion of marriage vow. Othello: show me thy thought (iii, iii, 119) Seeing is believing : othello falls prey to iago"s manipulations. Othello loses faith in cold, hard facts: believes whatever he is told, hearing is believing . Employs misogynistic language: unnatural and animalistic descriptors, toad metaphors. Commits suicide on marriage bed, linking sex with death. Othello"s jealousy and proneness to manipulation seem to be his tragic flaws: cannot distinguish appearance from reality. Honest iago i am not what i am .