Othello and Frankenstein Review Othello • • • • • • • • Written by William Shakespeare Characters: Othello – the Moor, a general (tragic hero) Desdemona – the fair and virtuous (wife of Othello) Cassio – the flirt, (Othello’s best friend) Bianca – Cassio’s girlfriend Emilia – friends with Desdemona (Iago’s wife) Iago – the villain (jealous of Othello, thinks his wife had an affair with Othello, angry because he didn’t get the promotion given to Cassio) • Roderigo – wants Desdemona (Iago’s fool) Othello themes • Jealousy – Iago’s jealousy of Cassio and Othello; Othello’s jealousy leads to D.’s death • Racism – inherent distrust of Othello since he is black (a Moor) • Identity - how an individual's sense of identity (which can break down and be manipulated by others) shapes his or her actions. Othello motifs • Sight and blindness – seeing truly or being blinded by jealousy – Lodovico says to Iago, “Look on the tragic loading of this bed. / This is thy work. The object poisons sight. / Let it be hid” (V.ii.373–375). – Othello, though he demands “ocular proof” (III.iii.365), is frequently convinced by things he does not see: Othello motifs • Animals – Iago calls Othello a “Barbary horse,” an “old black ram,” and also tells Brabanzio that his daughter and Othello are “making the beast with two backs” (I.i.117–118). – In Act I, scene iii, Iago tells Roderigo, “Ere I would say I would drown myself for the love of a guinea-hen, I would change my humanity with a baboon” (I.iii.312– 313) – these references to animals convey a sense that the laws of nature, rather than those of society, are the primary forces governing the characters in this play. Othello symbols • The Handkerchief – The handkerchief symbolizes different things to different characters. Since the handkerchief was the first gift Desdemona received from Othello, she keeps it about her constantly as a symbol of Othello’s love. Iago manipulates the handkerchief so that Othello comes to see it as a symbol of Desdemona herself—her faith and chastity. • The Song “Willow” – The song’s lyrics suggest that both men and women are unfaithful to one another. To Desdemona, the song seems to represent a melancholy and resigned acceptance of her alienation from Othello’s affections, and singing it leads her to question Emilia about the nature and practice of infidelity. Othello plot • MAJOR CONFLICT · Othello and Desdemona marry and attempt to build a life together, despite their differences in age, race, and experience. Their marriage is sabotaged by the envious Iago, who convinces Othello that Desdemona is unfaithful. • RISING ACTION · Iago tells the audience of his scheme, arranges for Cassio to lose his position as lieutenant, and gradually insinuates to Othello that Desdemona is unfaithful. • CLIMAX · The climax occurs at the end of Act III, scene iii, when Othello kneels with Iago and vows not to change course until he has achieved bloody revenge. • FALLING ACTION · Iago plants the handkerchief in Cassio’s room and later arranges a conversation with Cassio, which Othello watches and sees as “proof” that Cassio and Desdemona have slept together. Iago unsuccessfully attempts to kill Cassio, and Othello smothers Desdemona with a pillow. Emilia exposes Iago’s deceptions, Othello kills himself, and Iago is taken away to be tortured. Othello quotes • Iago - I hate the Moor: And it is thought abroad, that 'twixt my sheets He has done my office: I know not if't be true; But I, for mere suspicion in that kind, Will do as if for surety. (1.3.12) – O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock The meat it feeds on; (3.3.15) • Othello - Why, why is this? Think'st thou I'ld make a life of jealousy, To follow still the changes of the moon With fresh suspicions? • Cassio - Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial. My reputation, Iago, my reputation! (2.3.24) Frankenstein • • • • Written by Mary Shelley, published 1818 Epistolary novel, frame narrative Characters: Victor Frankenstein (possible tragic hero) – obssessed with death and defeating death due to his mother’s demise • The Creature (antagonist, possible tragic hero) – created “child” of Frankenstein, faces isolation, rejection, and prejudice that leads to his vengeance – wants a wife to overcome that rejection and loneliness • Robert Walton – sailor in the frame that writes to his sister of the tale of Victor Frankenstein as he goes on his own obsessive journey to the North Pole Frankenstein themes • Dangerous knowledge of science (making the monster) • Sublime nature (mountain cliff/Frankenstein’s childhood home) • Alienation and rejection • Feminism – loss of motherhood Frankenstein motifs • Letters – from Frankenstein, from Walton • Literary references • Passive women – Caroline (Frankenstein’s mother), Justine, Elizabeth Frankenstein symbols • Light – In Frankenstein, light symbolizes knowledge, discovery, and enlightenment. • Fire – light and fire represent the duality of progress and innovation: a fire might keep you warm, but you sure don't want to get too close. Frankenstein plot • • • • • • NARRATOR · The primary narrator is Robert Walton, who, in his letters, quotes Victor Frankenstein’s first-person narrative at length; Victor, in turn, quotes the monster’s first-person narrative; in addition, the lesser characters Elizabeth Lavenza and Alphonse Frankenstein narrate parts of the story through their letters to Victor. CLIMAX · The murder of Elizabeth Lavenza on the night of her wedding to Victor Frankenstein in Chapter 23 PROTAGONIST · Victor Frankenstein ANTAGONIST · Frankenstein’s monster SETTING (TIME/PLACE) · Eighteenth century; Geneva; the Swiss Alps; Ingolstadt; England and Scotland; the northern ice POINT OF VIEW · The point of view shifts with the narration, from Robert Walton to Victor Frankenstein to Frankenstein’s monster, then back to Walton, with a few digressions in the form of letters from Elizabeth Lavenza and Alphonse Frankenstein. FALLING ACTION · After the murder of Elizabeth Lavenza, when Victor Frankenstein chases the monster to the northern ice, is rescued by Robert Walton, narrates his story, and dies Frankenstein quotes • The Creature - I, the miserable and the abandoned, am an abortion, to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled on. – "I continued for the remainder of the day in my hovel in a state of utter and stupid despair. My protectors had departed and had broken the only link that held me to the world. For the first time the feelings of revenge and hatred filled my bosom, and I did not strive to control them, but allowing myself to be borne away by the stream, I bent my mind towards injury and death. (16.12) • Walton - One man's life or death were but a small price to pay for the acquirement of the knowledge which I sought, for the dominion I should acquire and transmit over the elemental foes of our race. (Letter 4.21) • Victor - "No one can conceive the variety of feelings which bore me onwards, like a hurricane, in the first enthusiasm of success. Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world."