Othello critical views

Dr Johnson “The character of Iago is so well constructed that from the first to the last scene he is hated and despised”
Charles Lamb “We think not so much of the crimes they commit as of the ambition…the intellectual activity that prompts them to overleap these moral fences”
Richard Baker Iago “possessed a subconscious affection for the moor”…”for which he could not understand”
William Hazlett Iago as a natural villian – “without sufficient motive””love of power is natural to man”
Martin rosenberg Iago as wronged “a deserving soldier wrongfully passed over for a less able book soldier”
F. R. Leavis “There is no tragic self-discovery””The noble hero is now seen as tragically pathetic”
Dr Jerry Brotten “Othello loses his status as an insider and Iago can portray him much more as an outsider”
Ania Looma “Othello is predisposed to believing [Iago’s] pronouncements about the inherent duplicity of women””Othello is a victim of racial beliefs precisely because he comes an agent of misogynistic ones”
Jan Knott “Desdemona is the victim of her own passion””Her love testifies against her not for her”
Leonard Tennenhouse Desdemona’s “interest in court dealings as war makes her sexually monstrous according to the Jacobean understanding of power””her body becomes susceptible of misreading because she overturns the natural subordination of female to male when she married Othello in the first place”
Patsy Hall “perhaps, however, she is too confident. She willfully refuses to see Othello’s change of mood for what it is. She denies Emilia’s suggestion that he is jealous…she makes excuses for Othello’s strange behaviour” – is this her tragic flaw?
Felicity Corrie “But the Other can never win”. In everything that Othello presupposes, he is crucially deceived: he makes reference to a morality that does not exist.” – On Othello’s tragic first speech to the senateCassio as an “undisciplined, womanising, rank-pulling prick””Since when has being a black prince meant anything in white racist societies? Prince Nelson Mandela was demonised and thrown into prison for twenty-seven years” – On Othello’s confidence”There is no other Shakespearean Tragedy which hurtles toward its inevitable catastrophe with such terrifying speed” – on time frame
A. W Von Shegel describes Iago as “a complete master in the art of dissimulation”, the “excellent observer of men”
A. C Bradley Othello as a “great man, naturally modest but fully conscious of his worth”

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