Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Shakespeare in Theory and Practice$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Catherine Belsey

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748633012

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748633012.001.0001

Show Summary Details

Iago the Essayist

Iago the Essayist

Chapter:
(p.157) Chapter 10 Iago the Essayist
Source:
Shakespeare in Theory and Practice
Author(s):

Belsey Catherine

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748633012.003.0010

This chapter approaches Othello experimentally from a formal perspective to assess the part played by Iago's mode of address in this tragedy of racial hatred. Most evidently, his dry, low-key style stands in direct contrast to the passionate poetry that defines the hero. Othello defines his passion in the poetry that characterises all Shakespeare's tragic heroes and seems to invite the sympathy of the audience, whatever the measure of the protagonist's failures of insight or of ethics. Iago aligns himself with the manner of the essayists: terse, prosaic, forthright. His adoption of the dispassionate manner of the essayists is more than a charade, a pose designed to fool the people he plans to destroy. Shakespeare's tragedy of love and nihilism shows a contention of genres, as well as passions, in the poetic hero's contest with an essayist who cloaks racial hatred in casual indifference.

Keywords:   Othello, Iago, racial hatred, Shakespeare, essayists, love, nihilism

Edinburgh Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.