03+Othello+1 - Lecture One: The Allegory of Evil and the...

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Lecture One: The Allegory of Evil and the Tragic Form
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3 Unities: Verisimilitude (unity of action), unity of space (stay in one place), unity of time (tragedy takes not much longer than actual tragedy – 2 hours, or at most a day – almost never obeyed by Shakespeare. Earliest fact : Thespis Athenian poet, performed a “tragedy” – probably a spoken dialogue – in around 535BC. Aristotle says he invented mask. Aristotle’s favorite, Oedipus Rex (ca 400 BCE): Involves people of high estate and issues central to the polis, characters neither wholly good nor entirely bad, and passing through change of fortune
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Tragedy = “goat song” abrupt change ( peripeteia ) recognition ( anagnorisis ) tragic flaw ( hamartia ) Catharsis = purging of emotions though fear, pity. Tragic protagonist is often a scapegoat, Pharmakos
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On Aristotle’s theory of tragic catharsis: “Medicine has no greater power, by means of poison, to expel poison form an afflicted body than tragedy has to purge the soul of its impetuous passions by the skilful expression of strong emotion in poetry.”
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allegorical embodiment of Evil, derives from a stock figure in English Medieval Moralities : Shakespeare’s Iago being the most famous example – or Richard III – a character so evil that his motives can hardly be understood, and yet funny, charismatic, sexy, even, in his own way – a great seducer. Edmund in King Lear . Histrionic = comic, theatrical, acting a part Instigator rather than doer Double-dealer = “Ambidexter” famous early
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ACT I, SCENE I. Venice. A street. RODERIGO. Tush, never tell me; I take it much unkindly That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse As if the strings were thine, shouldst know of this. IAGO. 'Sblood, but you will not hear me:- If ever I did dream of such a matter, Abhor me. RODERIGO.
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espise me, if I do not. Three great ones of the city, n personal suit to make me his lieutenant, ff-capp'd to him; and, by the faith of man, know my price, I am worth no worse a place:- ut he, as loving his own pride and purposes, vades them, with a bombast circumstance
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03+Othello+1 - Lecture One: The Allegory of Evil and the...

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