Othello: Too Much Love Analyze Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

He complains to Roderigo that he has been denied promotion because of Cassio's youth, breeding, and better name. "Preferment goes by letter and affection, / Not by the old gradation" (1.1.37-38). Then he vaguely alleges that the Moor may have had a tryst with Emilia, which Emilia later denies, and which seems impossible, given that Emilia and Othello have the most openly adversarial relationship in the play. Iago may be one of the most ambiguous characters in all of Shakespeare (White 283).

Iago seems to know that he is condemned to hell -- even in the first scene, he has a premonition of his damnation: "Though I do hate him as I do hell-pains" (I.1.161). Iago seems to be searching for motivations to excuse his bad deeds, rather than to be motivated by malice alone, like a devil. Iago calls the Moor a devil: "Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you," he says to Brabantio (I.1. 96). But it is Othello who seems to have a premonition of Iago's evil when Othello says, after Iago has whipped him into a murderous fury with his false evidence: "Whip me you devils!" (I.5. 278). And of course, despite being injured by the great general he defamed, Iago lives on at the end of the play. Iago vows to speak no more, as if without doing evil deeds, he has no reason for being in the world

In the film version of Othello, who dominates the play, Fishburne or Branagh? In either case, support your commentary by referring to inherent strengths and weaknesses written into the characters the play. Is the interpretation of the play given in the film version what you imagined when you read the text? Does the film interpretation agree with the perspective of the Elizabethans -- or do you think that the director has attempted to supply motivation not provided in the text for Iago's motivation (specifically in the conclusion of Act III, Scene 2, when Branagh react in a peculiar way to Othello's offer of love). Does this interpretation fit with the text?

Branagh is the more gifted Shakespearean actor -- he seems more comfortable with the language of Shakespeare, and in Shakespearean acting, linguistic proficiency and dexterity gives the actor the advantage. Othello's complexity as a character depends on understanding the tenuous social relationship of the Moors in Venetian society, and also for the audience to really believe that Othello is a great general who is suffered much, and thus has a sense of dignity and honor that is easily bruised and prone to jealous rage, as the result of racism. Because this only comes through tenuously in flashback scenes, Branagh's inner conflict dominates. The film lacks a social context for Fishburne's actions, in the way it depicts his relationship with his soldiers and wife.

Furthermore, the types of sexual conflicts Branagh seems to have are consistent with the play, and the homoerotic nature of a great deal of Shakespearean discourse (White 292). Iago's depiction of Cassio's dream seems far too detailed, and has an intense homoerotic quality, as Cassio is said to physically grasp Iago. It is difficult not to wonder if Iago subconsciously wants this to happen, as Cassio sleeps beside him. It also may be his anger at the Moor is a way of extinguishing desire within himself that he fears. He frequently voices his disgust with women in general: "You rise to play and go to bed to work" (II.1.133). This could be the result of a loveless marriage -- he sees Emilia as a tool for his schemes, nothing more.

Works Cited

The Riverside Shakespeare, 2nd Edition. Edited by G. Blakemore Evans, J.J. M Tobin.

New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1996.

White, R.S. From "Shakespeare Criticism in the Twentieth Century." From the Cambridge

Companion to Shakespeare. Edited by Margreta de Grazia…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

The Riverside Shakespeare, 2nd Edition. Edited by G. Blakemore Evans, J.J. M Tobin.

New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1996.

White, R.S. From "Shakespeare Criticism in the Twentieth Century." From the Cambridge

Companion to Shakespeare. Edited by Margreta de Grazia and Stanley Wells.

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