The Hero Cheering Himself Up, he takes the viewpoint that Othello is both influenced by and influences Seneca, the Roman philosopher and author of tragedies. It is not the Attitude of Seneca; but i is derived from SenecaO(153). He also compares Shakespeare to other authors such as Chapman and Marston, who he says were quite influenced by Seneca. The main thing that he says they have in common is the way that the heroes of their plays are dramaticized at the height of the tragedy. He does, however, state that it is his opinion that Shakespeare does this much better.
He works it in to fit naturally with the human nature of his characters. Elliot states that the final speech of Othello is the most Oterrible exposure of human weakness- of universal weaknessO(153. He says that this speech is usually read quite superficially, but when one looks deeper, he can see that Othello is trying to cheer himself up. He wants to escape reality and think only of himself. He does this because thinking good of yourself, in ElliotOs opinion, is one of the easiest things to do. Elliot also compares the death of Othello to the deaths of some ShakespeareOs other heroes- mainly Antony and Coriolanus.
H believes that these deaths were also strongly influenced by Seneca. Gray, Garry OIagoOs MetamorphosisO Iago. Ed. Harold Bloom, Chelsea House, 1992. 212-218 Garry GrayOs essay, OIagoOs Metamorphosis,O is based on the belief that society does not allow for or encourage personal individualization. He states that ShakespeareOs Othello is concerned with this issue. This is mainly expressed through the character of Iago. he goes through a metamorphosis in the play. He starts out being socially dominated, and ends up being in a state of total psychological freedom.
GrayOs opinion is that this allows him the opportunity to victimize and exploit others. Gray also believes that Shakespeare is attempting to express his own opinion that one has to conform to a socially accepted behavior in order to attain a goal, such as when Iago wanted a promotion. Gray points out, however, that conforming to these socially accepted rules for behavior does not always result in achievement of a goal. He therefore believes that the reason for IagoOs metamorphosis was bitterness and frustration. After his metamorphosis, Gray believes Iago is living in a world of two realities.
In one, he is able to entice and control his victims, and in the other he is controlled completely by his own thoughts. Johnson, Samuel OGeneral Remarks on Othello. O JohnsonOs Shakespeare Ed. John Wain, 1994. Macmillian Press. 50-53 Samuel Johnson has a very positive view of ShakespeareOs play Othello. It is his belie that the beauty of it is so strong that any attempt to illustrate it would never be able to do it justice. He gives very thorough descriptions of many of the characters, including Othello, Iago, and Desdemona.
It is obvious to the reader that he enjoyed getting to know the characters while reading the story. He really appreciates what each character adds to the plot. he demonstrates this by also showing appreciation for the smaller characters such as Cassio and Roderigo. He says that they are so well written that they could be main characters in any other play. They are simply minor characters in Othello because all of the others are so much more developed. Kaula, David OOthello Possessed: Notes on Shakespeare Os use of Magic and Witchcraft. O The Works of Shakespeare Ed. J. Leeds Barron, University of Cincinnati, 1966. 2-130 In his essay OOthello Possessed: Notes on ShakespeareOs Use of Magic and WitchcraftO David Kaula observes the fact that, unlike in many of his other plays, Shakespeare did not include and supernatural elements such as ghosts, apparitions, soothsayers of demoniacs in Othello. Kaula has the opinion that this is due to the fact that Shakespeare supposedly wanted to make this play a marital tragedy. He does, however, touch on the fact that Shakespeare does make reference to magic and witchcraft. This is mainly when Brabantio accuses Othello of seducing Desdemona with Odrugs, charms or other unnatural devices.
O Some people rationalize this by saying that it was used mainly to demonstrate the love that Othello has for Desdemona. It is KaulaOs view, though that it was used to demonstrate hate, fear and jealousy. Another reason the Kaula thinks that Shakespeare did not include many supernatural elements in Othello, mainly witchcraft, is because it was written and performed at a time when fear of these things was exceptionally high. Most of the references to witchcraft in Othello, Kaula says, imply that OThe belief in Witchcraft is a delusion and that is arises from and serves as a protection against violent feelings of resentment and fearO (113-114).
It is KaulaOs opinion that Shakespeare did not write the play to prove a point about witchcraft, but he used the current feelings about witchcraft to enhance his play. Lockett, Joseph OThat Which Heaven Hath Forbid the Ottomites: the Turks in Shakespeares Othello. O Mr. William Shakespeare on the Internet Criticism of individual plays. In his essay OThat Which Heaven Hath Forbid the Ottomites: the Turks in ShakespeareOs Othello,O Joseph Lockett discusses the role that the Turks play in Shakespeare Os play Othello. He begins his essay with a lot of background history about the Turks and the ottoman empire, which is very helpful.
He then points out that the Turks are not mentioned in the play until scene three when the Duke, senators and officers are deciding on how to deal with a Turkish invasion. They really donOt have much detail on the attack, this shows that the Turks are a deceptive group. Lockett then goes on to compare the Turks to Iago, who in the previous scene was also being deceptive by tricking Roderigo and exciting Brabantio, then disappearing. Lockett also points out that in act two, after a storm destroys the fleet of the threatening Turks, Iago seems to take their place.
LockettOs point of view is that Shakespeare wanted to portray the Turks as fierce and destructive in order to be able to compare them to the other characters. Even Othello himself, Lockett says, becomes quite Turkish in Nature. Lockett believes that the Turks and everything having to do with them add to the play the crises that puts in in motion. They also add to the theme and imagery. Nearly all of the crises in the play can supposedly be traced back to the Turks, according to Lockett. It is also Locketts belief that Shakespeare was strongly ethnocentric and works this in to his play quite well.