History

Discuss how attitude gender in Shakespeare’s play Othello affect the outcome of the play

e bed is at the very heart of the tragedy of Othello. offstage but dramatically the center of attention in the first scene and again in the first scene of the second act, it is literally and symbolically at the center of the last scene and is explicitly hidden from sight at the conclusion. Whether the marriage is consummated, when it is consummated, and what the significance of this consummation is for Othello and Desdemona have all been an important source of debate about the play. Throughout its critical history, Othello, like the other problem plays, has generated passionate and radically conflicting responses–responses that are invariably tied to the critics emotional responses to the characters and to the gender relations in the play. Othello, Iago, and Desdemona have been loved and loathed, defended and attacked, judged and exonerated by critics just as they are by characters within the play.Almost damned in a fair wife is Leslie Fiedlers alternate title for his chapter on Othello in The Stranger in Shakespeare. In it he asserts of the women in the play: Three out of four, then, [are] weak, or treacherous, or both. Thus he seconds Iagos misogyny and broadens the attack on what Leavis has called The sentimentalists Othello, the traditional view of the play held by Coleridge, Bradley, Granville-Barker, Knight, Bayley, Gardner, and many others. These Othello critics, as I shall call them, accept Othello at his own high estimate. They are enamored of his heroic music, affirm his love, and, like him, are overwhelmed by Iagos diabolism, to which they devote much of their analysis. Like Othello, they do not always argue rationally or rigorously for their views and so are vulnerable to attacks on their romanticism or sentimentality. Reacting against these traditionalists, Iago critics (Eliot, Empson, Kirschbaum, Rossiter, and Mason, as well as Fiedler and Leavis) take their cues from Iago. Like him, they are attracted to Othello, unmoved by his

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