Critical Interpretations - Othello (Honigmann ("As Iago's poison…
Critical Interpretations - Othello
"Othello feels constantly threatened and profoundly insecure."
"Othello's love of Desdemona is 'the love of possession. She is a prize, a spoil of war"
It is only "Othello's jealously, not Iago's hatred, that is the real tragedy"
"In our journalistic age we demand precise answers. Many have been give through the ages: sexual jealousy, racism and so on. But the truth is we don't know. That is why the play is called "Othello". We will come to know Othello and exactly who he is"
"Othello didn't kill Desdemona in jealously but that it was forced upon him by the almost superhuman art of Iago"
Describes Iago as being: "Next to the devil who looks for excuses to be evil, motivelessly"
"Iago's pain and distrust is caused by his repressed homosexual desire for Othello that is completely unrequited"
In 1938 at London's Old Vic,
played Iago as gay as did
"Iago is more a catalyst that precipitates destruction than a devil that causes it"
Iago - "Only balm is to spread sickness, to watch other suffer when he cannot admit he suffers guilt"
"Nowhere has he so nakedly expressed his need to love Desdemona, the sense that she has become the central rivet that serves his life, without which would not fall apart."
"The last scene presents many deaths, each of which symbolically reinforces the play's stress on the necessary link between loving and vulnerability... they are killed, emotionally and physically, solely because they were willing to love"
"As Iago's poison enters [Othello's] mind, he seeks to change more completely than other tragic heroes: we must not confuse his earlier later self. Secondly, we cannot believe him when he speaks about himself, anymore we trust Iago's self reflections...many kinds of uncertainty coexist and interact"
"Emilia's love (of Desdemona is Iago's undoing"
"Othello and Iago suffer from the same disease, and can be seen as parallel studies in so far as both are professional soldiers who take their wives abroad on active service, feel betrayed by them, kill them and thus in effect destroy themselves"
[Iago is a] Liar, betrayer, mental torturer of Others and Desdemona
Both are outsiders, Othello as a Moor, Iago as a Malcontent with a grudge against privilege. Both stand apart from their fellow men, both want to be accepted.
[Iago] "He enjoys a godlike sense of power"
"Othello never comes to an understanding of the gravity of his crime - he realises the error but consoles himself in his final speech with cheering reminders of his virtues"
"Othello is a terrible exposure of human weakness"
[Emilia] "she dies in service of the truth"
"Bianca is like Othello and Cassio an outsider"
[Othello] 'He allows Iago to replace Desdemona in his esteem and affection, and as his confidant and soulmate"
"Othello is a victim of racial beliefs precisely because he becomes an agent of misogynistic ones"
"Both blacks and Muslims were regarded as given to unnatural sexual and domestic practices, as highly emotional and even irrational, and prone to anger and jealousy; above all, both existed outside the Christian fold"
"Iago's machinations are effective because Othello is predisposed to believing his pronouncements about the inherent duplicity of women, and the necessary fragility of an 'unnatural' relationship (between white woman and black man)
"Usually typed as godless, bestial and hideous, fit only to be saved by Christians'
Goes as far to say that the central conflict in Othello is the racism of the white patriarchy and the threat posed by a black man being with a white woman.
"Othello is both a fantasy of interracial love and social tolerance, and a nightmare of racial hatred and male violence.
"Iago makes his superiors, his puppets'
'Characters divide into virgins and saints or whores and devils'
"Othello is responsible for his own downfall"
"Iago simply exploits a weakness that already existed in Othello's character"
'the mind that undoes him is not Iago's but his own"
[Desdemona], "Her last words are of a martyr'
"She's remains submissive till the end - begging Othello to let her live"
"She's seen as child who lies about the handkerchief - but when Othello strikes her she strands her ground with adult dignity" - 'I have not deserv'd this'
'One of the effects of Emilia's speech is to counter the male attitudes of females in the play"
Desdemona 'accepts her culture's dictum that she must be obedient to males'
'[Desdemona] falls in love with romance itself"
"the erotic violence... Desdemona strangled on her wedding sheets... in the violent embrace of the alienated black husband"
Iago's sexuality is key to understanding the play Claims that Iago has repressed homosexuality and that his stifled erotic desire caused him to despise and seek destruction of his rival for a general's affection, Desdemona
Desdemona becomes a stereotype of female passivity."
'All three [women] are wrongfully accused of sexual misdemeanor in the course of the play'