Rating Othello

1404 Words6 Pages
Rating Othello

Is this Shakespearean tragedy Othello at the top of the rating chart, or is it just near the top? And why? This essay intends to examine various aspects of this subject, along with critical opinion.

This play ranks near the top. The Bard’s presentation of emotions, character, of good and evil actions that are down-to-earth – these are sometimes seen as the main reasons for the high ranking of Othello. Louis B. Wright and Virginia A. LaMar in “The Engaging Qualities of Othello” maintain that the popularity of this play has been consistent for about 400 years because

it treats emotions that are universal and persistent in human nature. Its characters do not exist on a plane far removed from
…show more content…

Such human wisdom can be found in Iago’s initial words to sleepy Brabantio: “Zounds, sir, y’are robbed! For shame, put on your gown! / Your heart is burst; you have lost half your soul.” Indeed, the disappearance of Desdemona from home would seem as such to an elderly father. Human wisdom is obvious again and again; for example, when the senator escorts the general to the council, the duke addresses the “valiant Othello” without even noticing the senator at first: “I did not see you. Welcome, gentle signior.” As Othello begins his address before council, he employs much wisdom in the first two verses: “Most potent, grave, and reverend signiors, / My very noble, and approved good masters,” by being as complimentary as possible, it would seem.

Shakespeare’s human wisdom no doubt comes partially from his understanding of the workings of man’s mind. He possesses the ability to analyze in a psychological manner. Harry Levin’s General Introduction to The Riverside Shakespeare includes these comments regarding the psychological aspect of Shakespeare’s characters:

During the later eighteenth and most of the nineteenth century, Shakespeare’s interpreters practiced what Bernard Shaw liked to call “Bardolatry.” They all but deified the Bard of Avon because he was the creator of so many characters who could be treated as if they were human beings – could be identified with, psychologized over [my
Get Access