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Othello (1604)

Pizzabeak

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Othello is based on "A Moorish Captain", by Cinthio, from 1535.

My real life experiences keep reminding me of this, for some reason. It is either that people are experts on this and are abusing it, or they never read or saw the play. It's about a moor with a fair wife, and his jealous ensign who plots his ruin via manipulation, so that Othello ends up killing her (Desdemona), then himself. It's a tragedy, basically not unlike Romeo & Juliet (1594) except the main character is a black man, although the girl is still white.

I don't think knowledge of this work will stop people from being an Iago. The play is similar to any adaptations you may have seen. I don’t think watching them necessarily helps you understand the text more, although the book being better than the movie or vice versa doesn’t mean much here.
 

Pizzabeak

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Pizzabeak

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Lol
The book is pretty similar to the movie
 

Pizzabeak

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Bump
 

The Grey Man

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Othello is good. I prefer Hamlet. It's my favourite work of fiction of all time, for so many reasons that I could spend all day trying to explain them. For now, I will satisfy myself by mentioning its agile allusions to the relationship between appearance and reality. The perennial philosophical notion of a radical dualism between the soul, the moral "kernel" of a man and his manifest corporeal "shell" is the cornerstone of my metaphysical belief system and, consequently, of my interpretation of Hamlet as well.

Hamlet said:
“Seems,” madam? Nay, it is. I know not “seems.”
'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
Nor customary suits of solemn black,
Nor windy suspiration of forced breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected 'havior of the visage,
Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief,
That can denote me truly. These indeed “seem,”
For they are actions that a man might play.
But I have that within which passeth show,
These but the trappings and the suits of woe.
Actually, since you brought up Iago, it might be fun to compare him to the main antagonist of Hamlet, Claudius. I seem to recall Spengler saying that if Othello and Hamlet had traded places, they would have solved each other's problems in an afternoon, since Hamlet would not have fallen for Iago's tricks and Othello would not have been so indecisive as to allow Claudius to freely plot against him as he pondered the meaning of life. This is true, but part of the reason why Claudius is such a formidable opponent for Hamlet is that they are blood relations. The uncanny Chapel Scene in which Hamlet is about to kill Claudius, but relents because the latter is in prayer owes some of its credibility, I think, to the fact that they are kin, and that Hamlet understands some of the private spiritual distress that Claudius is experiencing as he stalks him. Here, what Schopenhauer called the principle of individuation is weakened—the veil of Maya is pierced by the light of reason, as it were, and Hamlet sees himself in his uncle.* There is no analogous encounter, as far as I can recall, between Othello and his disgruntled subordinate, or between any two characters in Othello for that matter.

* We could take Hamlet's word and say that he didn't kill Claudius because he wanted him to go straight to hell and thought that he might not if he was in prayer when he died, but I do not think that such a prosaic interpretation does justice to the gravity of the scene.
 

Pizzabeak

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The pen is mightier than the sword is one thing they say. Hamlet was written for procrastinators. Othello is a tragedy. They were different as Hamlet had the option to kill his antagonist directly whereas Othello didn’t really know and was more so shadowboxing than anything else. This just makes it looks worse since the art depicts him as being fully unable to solve the problem. In the end they die, and the conclusion of the grudge is to just clean up the mess with the successor taking on the responsibility after the fact. What’s more remarkable than that is any of the foresight you’d get. Of course, though, the limited amount of human actions and conflict can only be repeated and patterned so many times before they become cliche, so by the turn of the 17th century it was no surprise Shakespeare could not just satirize the topics in a play but make them timeless. They’re something the family or friends don’t have to enjoy. That being said, what would it mean? You take Othello and go one step further, you basically have the Bible describing a moral conflict. Scripture is less “entertainment” based, though.
 
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