By Andrew Hadfield
Othello is one in every of Shakespeare's nice tragedies. during this Routledge Literary Sourcebook, Andrew Hadfield offers the best place to begin for college kids learning this play. besides large annotated extracts from the play itself, the sourcebook contains fabrics on: modern files; early serious reception of the play; 20th century feedback and the play in functionality.
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Additional info for William Shakespeare's Othello: A Sourcebook
They also illustrate the feeling of discomfort that the play has induced in subsequent audiences and writers and so set the agenda for much of what has followed. For Rymer, it was against nature that Othello, a black warrior, could be a tragic hero and a woman of Desdemona’s class could fall in love with him (see Hunter’s essay below, pp. 66–70). Just as the plot of a play had to obey certain rules of decorum, so did the characters within it. Although there was considerable opposition to Rymer’s prescriptive view of tragedy, the stage history and critical history of Othello show how the play was modernised and made less barbarous in line with a more loosely interpreted version of neo-classical principles.
Next day Disdemona was buried, amid the universal mourning of the people. But God, the just observer of men’s hearts, did not intend such vile wickedness to go without proper punishment. He ordained that the Moor, who had loved the Lady more than his life, on ﬁnding himself deprived of her should feel such longing that he went about like one beside himself, searching for her in every part of the house. Realizing now that the Ensign was the cause of his losing his Lady and all joy in life, he held the villain in such abhorrence that he could not bear even to see him; and if he had not been afraid of the inviolable justice of the Venetian lords, he would have slain him openly.
However, his main aim was to establish an interpretation of tragedy’s meaning in a modern world in which the reality of a deity was hard to perceive. His comments on Othello try to show how the play is the most claustrophobic of Shakespeare’s great tragedies, and that the unbearable enclosed atmosphere marks it out as a particular dramatic experience within the Shakespeare canon. It should also be noted that Bradley universalises the experience of tragedy, which enables him to ignore the problems of racial and sexual identity that have troubled so many other critics.