Online Literary Criticism Collection
Sites about Othello
Characters: Othello, Iago
Critical sites about Othello
- Approximations: Iago as a Plautine leno
- http://www.marshall.edu/english/OVSC/SR1997.html#Approximations: Iago as a Plautine
- This paper explains that “in the Plautine figure of the leno, the pimp, we find another character whom Iago approximates. “
- Contains: Character Analysis,
- Author: K. J. Gilchrist
- From: Selected Papers of the West Virginia Shakespeare and Renaissance Association Volume 20, 1997
- Shakespeare on Screen: Threshold Aesthetics in Oliver Parker’s Othello
- “This paper considers the theme of liminality and threshold in Shakespeare’s Othellofrom the perspective of film adaptation. The text establishes a most fascinatingrelation between Iago and Janus, the Roman double-faced god of doorways andthresholds, and patron of beginnings. As such Iago presides over all sortsofbeginnings, initiating the perception — visual as much as verbal — only to repress itimmediately, conducting Othello to the threshold of the visible and keeping himthere. Oliver Parker’s 1995 film adaptation of the play teems with images of gatesand doorways of all sorts invested mostly by the villainous ensign of stealthy step.Iago is found many times dangling in a doorway between inside and outside, orleaving any room (or place) he is in last, and lingering behind the other characters.On several occasions, the camera moves sidewise, and reveals Iago standing by acharacter, suggesting that there is a beginning before the beginning, and openingthe gates of the cinematographic limbo, over which Iago seems to have full control.Alternately Iago, who is stationed in the background, comes progressively intofocus, while the character in the foreground blurs and fades out of focus,producing a reversal backward / forward. Meanwhile Othello is confined on thethreshold, and beholds his wife’s adultery from outside the bedchamber throughsome peephole or something transparent like an opaque veil. On several occasionsin Parker’s film the Moor watches Desdemona through the opaline bedcurtains,suggesting a screened vision. Iago is also hinged between the spectator, whom headdresses in his many monologues or asides, stepping out of the dramatic universe,and most of the play in its metadramatic dimension. Like the double-faced god,Iago is facing two opposite directions, within (towards the intra-dramatic universe)and without (towards the spectator — the extra-dramatic universe). At anotherkey moment in the film, Iago grasps a red hot brand, and spreads some soot overhis hands, before placing one blackened hand over the camera lens, with the effectof a black-out. Iago appears as absolute master of the gaze, showing and hidingthings at will.”
- Author: Patricia Dorval
- From: Early Modern Literary Studies 6.1 (May, 2000):1.1-15
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Last Updated Apr 29, 2013