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Shakespeare's Representation of Weather, Climate and EnvironmentThe Early Modern 'Fated Sky'$
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Sophie Chiari

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474442527

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474442527.001.0001

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Othello: Shakespeare’s À bout de souffle

Othello: Shakespeare’s À bout de souffle

(p.111) Chapter 4 Othello: Shakespeare’s À bout de souffle
Shakespeare's Representation of Weather, Climate and Environment

Sophie Chiari

Edinburgh University Press

Chapter 4 shows that Othello (1604) is a play obsessed with breath and wind, a cosmological piece in which climate and air coalesce to make the Moor the victim of his own humours as much as of the satanic Iago. The importance given to cosmic elements as well as to the planets and their influence on men and women’s behaviour serves to elevate and magnify a play sometimes wrongly reduced to the genre of the domestic tragedy. Besides, the recurring imagery related to pneuma turns the scene into a dark carnival with its frightening disaster at the end epitomised by the image of the ‘tragic loading of [the] bed’ (5.2.374). If a providential tempest preserves Cyprus from the assaults of the Turkish fleet, Othello and Desdemona’s love quickly becomes a highly tempestuous affair that ends in tragic suffocation.

Keywords:   Othello, astrology, eclipse, humours, choler, water, sea-battle, breath, pneuma

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