365 Days of Shakespeare

That's right – the Bard in a year.

Posts Tagged ‘Othello

363. My top five Shakespeare plays: number 3

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Eek! Two more entries after this and I will have reached nirvana! Wait, that’s not how these things work?


Oh well. Number three!

NUMBER 3: Othello

It’s not just because Emilia was chosen as my number-one Shakespearean badass, but that doesn’t hurt the cause. The way the play explores the idea of insecurity in even the most secure relationships in a terrifying way – I mean, Othello and Desdemona practically worship each other, but a few words and misunderstood gestures and a misplaced handkerchief is all it takes for Othello to murder her. The manipulation employed by Iago in this play is absolutely masterful, and it is always interesting to explore his motivations, relationships to the others in the play, and why he is so infuriatingly scary and wonderful at the same time. It’s hard not to root for him, to be honest, when you consider how effortlessly his work takes effect. Shivers. For all its complexity and horrific relationship commentary, Othello takes the number three slot.


Written by Caroline Mincks

September 29, 2010 at 11:00 AM

356. Top 11 Shakespearean badasses: number 1

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NUMBER 1: Emilia from Othello

You know how sometimes you get stabbed in the gut and yet are still able to keep from bleeding to death long enough to condemn your manipulative, murderous husband? No. No you do not. Because you are not Emilia and you will never be as badass as she is. This woman is the definition of “hardcore”. She doesn’t take any crap from anyone, isn’t afraid to speak her mind, dies trying to defend her mistress’s reputation and accusing her husband for his guilt, and even while dying manages to do just this. Also, she’s a woman. Find me a male character who does this. Okay, Laertes a little, but he was just as guilty as Claudius, whereas Emilia was innocent of any crime. So hats off to you, Emilia, the toughest of the tough, for managing to make us laugh, cry, cringe, and dream of being as totally badass as you are. 

Written by Caroline Mincks

September 22, 2010 at 11:33 PM

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226. Othello in three minutes

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Okay, now apart from the fact that this guy totally sounds like I do when I attempt to rap (which, incidentally, only happens when I am doing the “Othello Rap” from Complete Works), this is actually a pretty good little video. Some kid did it for his high school English final and there are some pretty hilarious rhymes in there. Take a look!

Written by Caroline Mincks

May 15, 2010 at 11:14 PM

210. Sexual Nausea?

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Critics have remarked on the unpleasant portrayal of female sexuality in Shakespeare’s late plays, even going so far as to call it “sexual nausea.”  Based on your reading of all of the plays we’ve looked at this semester, how would you describe Shakespeare’s treatment of female sexuality?  Which elements of that treatment remain stable, and which change?  How do they change?  Is there a development from the period of the tragedies and problem plays to the period of the romances?  What does the development (or lack thereof) suggest about Shakespeare’s thought on the subject?

This was the topic for my “big” essay on my Shakespeare final exam, and I found it so interesting to write about. I mainly focused on Hamlet and Othello. In a nutshell, I argued that Desdemona was unfairly charged with the crime of sex; that had she been accused of infidelity of the heart rather than the body, she would have lived. As far as Hamlet is concerned, the “sexual nausea” exists in the disgust Hamlet has toward Gertrude’s new marriage, of course, and it is the idea that his mother is actually engaging in sex with her husband – her former brother-in-law, of course – that makes the situation so much harder for Hamlet to handle. As far as Ophelia goes, in her madness, she sings crude songs about sex, and in Shakespeare’s day, it was considered a sign of madness for a woman to be hyper-sexual.

Once I get my exam returned, I will post the actual essay. Until then, I am curious about your thoughts…so share them!

Written by Caroline Mincks

April 29, 2010 at 9:22 PM

203. Exactly WHO did not realize these were Shakespeare?

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I stumbled across a webpage that has a list of five films that “You Might Not Know Were Shakespeare”, listing five recent, popular movies that have plots based (sometimes rather loosely) on Shakespeare’s plays.

Okay, if you are part of the child/adolescent set that is the key demographic for these movies, you have an excuse. Apart from that, if you didn’t at least hear that these movies were based on Shakespeare, you may, perhaps, have been in a cave.

The list:

1. 10 Things I Hate About You: Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew gets a modern-day face-lift in this high school comedy starring Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger. Because of its cult-like following, the movie even inspired a TV show on ABC Family.

2. O: Again with teenagers in high school doing Shakespeare, this dark film is an update of Othello. The coach’s son, Hugo, is a little too jealous of teammate Odin … well, you know how this ends.

3. She’s the Man: And while we’re on the subject of teenage flicks, this one’s a twist on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Main character Viola is disguised as a man; chaos ensues.

4. The Lion King: King is killed by brother; son of king must avenge his death. It’s impossible not to see the similarities between this Disney film and Hamlet. (I thought this list wasn’t supposed to be obvious!)

5. West Side Story: Musical adaption of Romeo and Juliet is just as heart-breaking as the real deal.

190. Shakespeare essay topics, Part II

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More essay topics – these come from the exam I took today in my Shakespeare class! These have to do with Othello, Macbeth, and Coriolanus. I wrote on the second topic, and hopefully it went well!

  1. Othello, Macbeth, and Coriolanus all feature tragic heroes who are soldiers.  Compare and contrast the importance of the soldier hero in the three plays. To what extent does it matter that the heroes are soldiers?  How does that affect their tragic downfalls?
  2. In all three plays we’ve read since the first midterm, the hero is to some extent urged on to his fall by other persons.  To what extent are the heroes then responsible for their own fall?  What do the plays suggest about treachery and personal responsibility?
  3. Although they inhabit very different societies, Lady Macbeth and Volumnia have many intriguing similarities.  Compare and contrast the roles these two women play in the tragedies in which they appear.

Written by Caroline Mincks

April 9, 2010 at 10:21 PM

176. Shame this character never made it to the First Folio.

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Okay, in all seriousness: these are pretty fantastic. He says basically everything we’re thinking when we read and see these plays, doesn’t he? I’d love to see them handle a couple of the comedic heroines. Maybe Helena?

Written by Caroline Mincks

March 26, 2010 at 10:20 PM