the cedar ledge

Othello

Date: April 09 2022

Summary: A review of the book Othello and some thoughts on the central conflict

Keywords: ##summary ##book #play #tragedy #racism #boredeom ##blog

Bibliography

W. Shakespeare and others, “Othello:[1622],” Oxford Text Archive Core Collection, 1991.

Notes

Racism and Deconstruction of the Noble Savage

It is surprisingly progressive in some ways I found - even by today’s standards which was interesting. The racist overtones in the book were very much in your face but with the treatment of Othello, I did not find it similar to the idea of the “noble savage” literary idea but rather much different. Instead, it felt like Othello was treated by all other accounts either an equal or due to his experience, exempt from the racial overtures his peers had towards him generally.

Manipulation as Enigmatic Entertainment

What I enjoyed the most was this could be also retitled: “Gaslighting: the Book” with how the villain Iago manipulated everyone in the book. It was breathtaking the amount of animus Iago had to everyone and what stuck with me the most at the end when the character was finally caught in his schemes was that Iago didn’t really have a reason. Even when Iago himself was trying to justify himself, it was very shaky at best and he knew it. I think he was just a character who knew he could be good at being very bad and enjoyed the power trip it gave him.

I quite liked the fact that he did not have a real motive. It drove home the pettiness of him but is not unrealistic. To me, he reminded me of a man who was very bored and his most fun was in controlling the lives of others in some way even if it meant his ruin. It has been said that the most dangerous people to watch for are those who have nothing to lose when you have every thing to lose. The think this is a very apt description of Iago as a man who has nothing but is happy to see some one lose everything.

Transcendental Love

Finally, what has stuck with me is how much Othello and Desdemona were in love with each other. It was typical of Shakespeare to write these deep romances where the bonds between the lovers could transcend the times that the people were from. It is both saddening and interesting that the situation described here is not too dissimilar to the world we live in still. In the start of the book, you can see the bigotry at full display in the father of Desdemona which is eerily like modern discussions.

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Discussion:

CC BY-SA 4.0 Jacob Zelko. Last modified: May 14, 2022. Website built with Franklin.jl and the Julia programming language.