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Shakespeare's Othello Performed for the First Time (1604) Options
Daemon
Posted: Thursday, November 1, 2012 12:00:00 AM
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Shakespeare's Othello Performed for the First Time (1604)

First performed at London's Whitehall Palace, Shakespeare's Othello—a timeless story of jealousy, betrayal, and racism—is still studied and debated today. The play is likely an adaptation of a short story by Italian writer Cinthio called "Un Capitano Moro" and may have been inspired by certain events of the day—such as the arrival of a Moorish delegation in London in 1600. In Shakespeare's tale, the protagonist strangles his wife, but in Cinthio's story, she is killed in what brutal way? More...
excaelis
Posted: Thursday, November 1, 2012 2:52:10 AM

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" Ya great black fool ! Can't you see she's innocent ? " ( best heckler ever )
jcbarros
Posted: Thursday, November 1, 2012 7:38:11 AM

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Racism.
GabhSigenod
Posted: Thursday, November 1, 2012 8:46:10 AM

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Quite an opening for Shakespeare in 1604.
excaelis
Posted: Thursday, November 1, 2012 1:42:03 PM

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jcbarros wrote:
Racism.



Stereotyping definitely. Racism ? A little more complex, perhaps. I've always argued that both this and Merchant are not really about race but rather examinations of ' otherness '. You'll notice that in both these plays the worst characters are actually Italian ( which brings in a whole religio/political aspect ), not black or Jewish. The fundamental feelings of insecurity ( which precipitate the tragedy ) of both titular characters are driven by their sense of difference to their cultural milieu, and by the actions of the ' establishment ' figures that represent the thoughts and feelings of that milieu.

One also has to take into account that WS really knew very little about either Jews or Moors. The Jews had been expelled from England in 1190 and only re-admitted officially in 1656. As to ' Moors ', they were known but still regarded as exotic, different and even glamorous, but certainly not familiar.
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