Othello- Historical Context

The Moors, basics- From north Africa. Means Black in Greek. The moors were Muslim (Othello converted to Christianity).
The Moors, how they were regarded- Regarded as exotic and strange, lawless and barbarous. Black characters in plays were usually villains, Elizabeth tried to expel foreigners as many arrived around 1588.
Elizabethan England- Monarchy- Queen Elizabeth reigned, and was a very popular monarch, was an actual ruler not a figure head.
Elizabethan England- Religion- Elizabeth was a Protestant making it the official religion but she was tolerant of Catholics
Elizabethan England- Education- Education was mainly for boys, girls were discouraged from it unless from a rich, wealthy family then learnt differently from boys- housewifery, cleaning , music.
Elizabethan England- Illness The Elizabethan Era was particularly unlucky – bubonic plague and typhoid fever. Medicine wasn’t very helpful. Disease spread from the Thames and poor sanitation
Stock Characters- Examples Senex Iratus- Old man, over possessive father. Inpatient man- talks about being patient. Other- Beautiful women, the villain, braggart soldier.
Stock Characters- why use? Audience can relate to characters, like them, guaranteed reaction to characters, enhances suspension of reality
Context of the performance of Othello Othello was performed to James I, 20 months after it was written. King James I- Othello could be influenced as a character by James.
Elizabethan Marriage and Courtship Wife effectively became husbands property, Ladies would be wooed with gifts, visits and compliments, ask permission from the father, Women were regarded as second class citizens. there was no such thing as divorce, it was considered to be a terrible thing
Venice in Shakespeare’s Era Was most important place in Italy, English astonished by it’s beauty, status due to banking system, multi-culturism blossomed, many different races and faiths.
The basis of Othello- Giraldi Cinthio’s ‘Un capitano Moro’ created in 1565 inspired Othello. The message throughout was that women should not marry men from other nations and is based off a true story in 1508.
Basis of Othello- Altered Story Shakespeare took the story and altered it for the English audience. In ‘Un Capitano Moro’ Iago seeks revenge after his love for Des is unrequited and Roderigo asks Des to marry him but she marries Othello secretly.
The Globe- facts Theatre seen as lowly, theatre relied on imagination and not effects, Economy of the Stage- only 12 actors on at a time,