Othello Background Info

Shakespeare Birth & Death Born: April 23, 1564Death: April 28, 1616
Shakespeare Birthplace on Henley Street, Stratford – upon – Avon, Warwickshire, England
Who was Shakespeare’s Wife Anne Hathaway; married at 18+-; 8 years his elder
Shakespeare’s Children Suzanna/ Judith + Hamnet (died at 11; twins)
Shakespeare in London Moved 1592; wrote sonnets (theaters were shut down);
Shakespeare’s 1st Acting Company Lord Chambermen’s Group
What happened in 1599? Built the Globe Theatre; burnt down because of a cannon misfire
Shakespeare’s 2nd Acting Company Kingsmen
Shakespeare’s number and types of plays 37; tragedy (classical focuses on the role of FATE), history, comedy
Shakespeare’s number and type of sonnets 154; about fair youth; dark lady (darker poems – Tragedies)
Shakespeare’s words coined more than 3000 words
Shakespeare’s type of writing style Blank verse: no rhyme scheme; 5 units, memorable, sounds like the heart
Shakespeare’s being remarkable would take a one page story and turn it into a long 3 – 5 act play with events and emotions mixed into it; use of language –> uneducated people like it because it’s raunchy but educated people like it because of the amount of sophistication; integrated types of psychology into it
Where did Shakespeare get most of his poetics? Aristotle:
What does Aristotle say that Art is? An imitation of Reality; encapsulated existence
Tragic Hero Person born of Nobel/Royal character; Hamartia (tragic flaw); Peripeteia (reversal of fortune); Pathos (uncommon suffering); Anagorisis (self-realization);
What is Catharsis? Compassion and fear
What is Othello’s full name Othello: Moor of Venice (“we open, in Venice / the next play / paroma / then on to / cramona . . .)
When was the first performace of Othello 1604 (written in 1603)
What is Othello about? A Moorish general who falls in love with a Venetian, aristocratic woman and is tricked into thinking she was unfaithful
What did Othello originate from? Cinthio; a short Italian story
Where was Othello set? Act 1: Venic: 1500sAct 2-5: Cyprus: outside the moral, social codes of Venice; savage place
What was Venice like in the 1500s? a cultural centre; powerful empire that spanned the Mediterranian coast; the pleasure capital of Europe
Why/What did the Turks and Venice fight (over)? land, honor, money, religionConflicts: Christian vs. Muslim; European vs. Foreign; “Civilized” vs. Barbarian/Savage (we see a connection to Heart of Darkness and Things Fall Apart here)
What is a Moor? a man of arab and caucasian decent; the “Moor of Venice” : a North african man, well – educated, raised Muslim but converted and baptized Christian as an adult
8th Century Moorish art Does not have humans or animals in it –> insulting; all geometric shapes
What is a Moor of Barbary a darker skin, but not black like a native of the Congo (moor or Blackamoor)
What did Queen Elizabeth Proclaim in 1596? “Her Majesty understanding that several blackamoors have lately been brought into this realm, of which kind of people there are already too many here . . . her Majesty’s pleasure therefore is that those kind of people should be expelled from this land” Attitude: Racism. Bigotry. Fear of outsiders. Xenophobia She pretty much wanted to get rid of all of the “blacks”
Moors in Elizabethan England A moor like Othello in this time would be viewed with the same curiosity, fascination, fear, and hate
Shakespeare’s Time Schemes Double time scheme; plays are suppose to take place within one revolution of the sun, but this one was 3 days in 5 acts = Confusion
Main Chatacters of Othello OtHELLo; DesDEMONa (greek for unlucky); Brabantio; Cassio; Iago; Roderigo; Emilia; Blanca
Themes of Othello Love, Jealousy, Manipulation, Loyalty + Honor; Trust; The “other”; Violence
Motifs in Othello Color, Water, Plants, Satan, Slaves, Music, Lightness vs. Darkness; Vision; Animals; Poison; Disease vs. Medicine