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Abstract

Troilus and Cressida is concerned with love and war, Othello with love and a war that does not happen. The play opens in an atmosphere of public as well as private crisis: not only the night elopement and marriage of Desdemona, but the threat of Turkish attack which makes it so important to establish the whereabouts of Othello, Venice’s most trusted general. Through the first act we see this as an imminently menacing threat, in the conventional stream of messengers bringing new news every twenty-five lines, in the efforts of the Senate to construe their apparently contradictory signals as to the movements of the Turks, in the speed with which the business of Othello’s marriage is dispatched and he is shipped for Cyprus. It may have come as something of a surprise to the original audience when this war, so elaborately prepared for, disappears with a few casual lines from a nameless Third Gentleman at the beginning of At II:

Keywords

Paradise Lost Commanding Officer Inverted Comma Sexual Jealousy Sexual Love 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    See G.M. Matthews, ‘Othelloand the Dignity of Man’, in Shakespeare in a Changing World, ed. Arnold Kettle (London, 1964 ), pp. 123–45.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    This is the hypothesis of Emrys Jones, ‘Othello, Lepanto and the Cyprus Wars’, reprinted from Shakespeare Survey in Aspects of Othello eds Kenneth Muir and Philip Edwards (Cambridge, 1977), pp. 61–6.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    G.K. Hunter, ‘Othello and Colour Prejudice’, in Dramatic Identities and Cultural Tradition (Liverpool, 1978), pp. 31–59.Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    Terry Eagleton, William Shakespeare (Oxford, 1986), p. 68.Google Scholar
  5. 11.
    See Kenneth Muir (ed.), Othello (Harmondsworth, 1968), I.i.66n.Google Scholar
  6. 12.
    Stephen Greenblatt, Renaissance Self-Fashioning: From More to Shakespeare (Chicago, 1980), p. 242.Google Scholar
  7. 13.
    Helen Gardner, ‘The Noble Moor’, Proceedings of the British Academy 41 (1955), 192.Google Scholar
  8. 14.
    Norman Sanders (ed.), Othello (Cambridge, 1984), III.iii.91–2n.Google Scholar
  9. 15.
    William Empson, The Structure of Complex Words (London, 1951), p. 219.Google Scholar
  10. 21.
    See T.R. Henn, The Living Image (London, 1972), pp. 17–18, for commentary on this image.Google Scholar
  11. 22.
    Michael Long, The Unnatural Scene: a Study in Shakespearean Tragedy (London, 1976), p. 58.Google Scholar
  12. 24.
    Pointed out by David Kaula, ‘Othello Possessed: Notes on Shakespeare’s Use of Magic and Witchcraft’, Shakespeare Studies 2 (1966), 112–32.Google Scholar
  13. 26.
    Mark Rose, ‘Othello’s Occupation: Shakespeare and the Romance of Chivalry’, English Literary Renaissance 15 (1985), 306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 28.
    Robert Hapgood, ‘Othello’, in Shakespeare, Select Bibliographical Guides, ed. Stanley Wells (Oxford, 1973 ), p. 166.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Nicholas Grene 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas Grene
    • 1
  1. 1.Trinity CollegeDublinIreland

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