Venetian Ideology or Transversal Power? Iago’s Motives and the Means by which Othello Falls

  • Joseph Fitzpatrick
  • Bryan Reynolds


This chapter presents a new perspective on the means by which Othello falls from his position of high status both within Venetian society and in the eyes of the play’s audience. By examining the pertinent critical history of Othello, especially criticism accounting for the effects on Othello of lago’s machinations, this analysis explores the social and ideological relations between Iago and Othello through the lenses of several different critical approaches, including new historicist and cultural materialist. Our aim is to reveal the contradictions and limitations in this critical history that encourage an examination of the play according to a more inclusive approach that we call “transversal theory,” which will be explained as the analysis progresses.1 In doing this, we hope to emancipate the critical history of Othello from the delimiting analytical parameters that have characterized it, and to show the transversal ways in which Iago paradoxically opposes and reifies Venetian state ideology.


Transversal Movement State Apparatus Subjective Territory Binary Opposition Critical History 
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Copyright information

© Bryan Reynolds 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph Fitzpatrick
  • Bryan Reynolds

There are no affiliations available

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