Shakespeare’s “Othello” (1564-1616) Shakespeare Actor and playwright Formed his own theatrical company Built the Globe Theatre Stockholder Greatest plays produced here Burned in 1613 During performance of Henry 8th - cannon went off Globe Theatre Enclosed space with partial roof Seated as many as 2500 3 galleries of seats around 3 sides Platform stage extending from rear wall Groundlings Intimate atmosphere The Old Globe Theatre replica, which opened in Balboa Park, Sandiego, 1935 http://www.sandiegohistory.org/timeline/timeline3.htm Conventions of Elizabethan Drama Trapdoors Inner stage Upper stage Simple scenery Elaborate costumes Female roles by males Elaborate sound effects Shakespeare’s Greatness Deep understanding of human nature Knowledge in a wide variety of subjects Influence on language Freely experimented with grammar, vocabulary Created words: click this link to see some http://shakespeare.about.com/library/weekly/aa042400a.htm Originated phrases A Note on Reading Shakespeare Keep track of characters from list Poetic language - read slowly & carefully Pay attention to the annotations Listen to recording; read summary; view a video http://www.tumblebooks.com/talkingbooks/full_book.asp?ProductID=831 Othello, the Moor of Venice (page 1263) Plot: Identify which conflicts occur in the play and where. Person vs. person Person vs. self Person vs. environment Person vs. God Plot: Identify movement Exposition Complication Climax Denouement Setting: Venice and Cyprus Is the setting natural or artificial? Is it hostile or friendly? Is it limited to one place? Shakespeare clearly breaks with Aristotle’s classical unities in this play: one plot, one location, over 24-hours. Time of Play Othello elopes with Desdemona; same night takes ship for Cyprus Cassio is disgraced 1st night after arrival in Cyprus Desdemona is killed 2nd night in Cyprus The play spans 3 days, two locations, and has multiple plots. Characterization Antagonist = Iago Protagonist = Othello Characterization: Iago Laurence Olivier as Iago www.peopleplayuk.org.uk Ambitious Envious of Cassio’s promotionSexually jealous of Othello and Cassio Greedy Deceitful Lustful Iago Intelligent Cunning Capable of tempting and controlling characters around him Villain without conscience Diabolically evil while appearing to be honest, trustworthy Iago Reduces human nature to its least attractive traits Coarse, blunt Suspicious view of human nature allows him to locate weakness in others and encourage its dominance of whole personality Iago’s Techniques for Deception Instigates others to act Pretends to speak only out of the best motives Works through insinuation rather than through explicit lies Othello Greatness Tragic hero Virtues carried to excess Loves - “too well” Trusts - too much Great sense of moral virtue punishes sin Sensitive nature - vivid fantasies Othello “Free and open nature” “Constant, loving, noble nature” Energetic Desire for perfection Trusting Othello’s Insecurities HIS BLACKNESS A Moor (North Africa) Negative stereotyping by other characters Lascivious Unnatural mate for white woman Practitioner of black magic Othello’s Insecurities HIS LACK OF SOPHISTICATION Not a native of Venice At home on battlefield, not in sophisticated Venetian society Lacks self-confidence Trusts Iago’s view Othello’s Insecurities HIS AGE Older than Desdemona Iago plays on this insecurity Desdemona Admirable Self-contained Speaks forcefully and to the point when she confronts her father Speaks playfully with Iago while waiting for Othello’s ship Desdemona Is known for her innocence, purity Can plead for Cassio - but not for herself Dutiful, obedient Can be regarded as model Elizabethan wife Symbol: dramatic irony All the characters believe in Iago’s honesty. Othello believes in Desdemona’s guilt. Confidant(e) - serves a major character as a friend Emilia is confidante to Desdemona Iago is confidant to Roderigo Foil - illuminates a more important character Emilia and Bianca are foils to Desdemona Cassio and Iago are foils to Othello Theme Human nature is easily manipulated. Jealousy is like a disease. Humans can have a terribly dark and cunning side.