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Sites about Othello

by William Shakespeare

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 Othello from the perspective of film adaptation. The text establishes a most fascinating relation between Iago and Janus, the Roman double-faced god of doorways and thresholds, and patron of beginnings. As such Iago presides over all sortsof beginnings, initiating the perception — visual as much as verbal — only to repress it immediately, conducting Othello to the threshold of the visible and keeping him there. Oliver Parker’s 1995 film adaptation of the play teems with images of gates and 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, or leaving 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 a character, suggesting that there is a beginning before the beginning, and opening the gates of the cinematographic limbo, over which Iago seems to have full control. Alternately Iago, who is stationed in the background, comes progressively into focus, while the character in the foreground blurs and fades out of focus, producing a reversal backward / forward. Meanwhile Othello is confined on the threshold, and beholds his wife’s adultery from outside the bedchamber through some peephole or something transparent like an opaque veil. On several occasions in Parker’s film the Moor watches Desdemona through the opaline bedcurtains, suggesting a screened vision. Iago is also hinged between the spectator, whom he addresses 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 another key moment in the film, Iago grasps a red hot brand, and spreads some soot over his hands, before placing one blackened hand over the camera lens, with the effect of a black-out. Iago appears as absolute master of the gaze, showing and hiding things 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