Othello critics

Lynda E. Boose on masculinity in Othello “male heroism, male power, male conquest”
Lynda E. Boose on Desdemona “[Desdemona] falls in love with romance itself”
Lynda E. Boose on the audience and Othello “the audience has been led into the forbidden space of this hitherto offstage room”
Lynda E. Boose on the ‘behind closed doors’ motif in Othello “repeatedly eroticized… discreetly hidden… behind…fictive doors that we have consented to imagine”
Lynda E. Boose on “the erotic violence” in Othello “the erotic violence… Desdemona strangled on her wedding sheets… in the violent embrace of the alienated black husband”
Lynda E. Boose on the structure of Othello “a voyeuristic structure [to the play]”
Lynda E. Boose on literary context of Othello “one of the first (extant) plays of its kind in English drama”
F.R. Leavis (1937) on Othello and Iago (1) Iago’s success isn’t due to his “diabolic intellect” but to Othello’s “readiness to respond”
F.R. Leavis (1937) on Othello and Iago (2) “the mind that undoes him is not Iago’s but his own”
T.S. Eliot (1927) on Othello’s last speech Eliot claimed he’d never read “more terrible exposure of human weakness” than Othello’s last speech; saw an “attitude of self-dramatization” as he stopped think about Desdemona “and is thinking about himself”
Samuel Johnson (18th cent.) on ‘Othello’ Argued that the play’s moral is “not to make an unequal match” and “not to yield too readily to suspicion”
Fintan O’Toole (1990, 2000) on the language of Iago and Othello “so close are Iago and Othello, indeed, that they start to melt into each other… Othello’s grand verse breaks down into jagged, disordered prose. Iago’s prose becomes triumphant verse”
Fintan O’Toole (1990, 2000) on racism in ‘Othello’ “this racism isn’t just the context in which Othello lives. It has entered his mind and soul… a piece of the outside world which he carries in his most intimate, private self… It is the connection between the world around him and his thoughts, desires, feelings… Iago makes this connection… takes shame and doubt and gives them visible substance”
A.C. Bradley (1904) on Othello’s romantic heroes “[Othello was] the most romantic” of all Shakespeare’s heroes because of his poetry and exotic background
A.C. Bradley (1904) on Iago Believes Iago is defeated by the “power of love” as he couldn’t understand this