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There Are As Many Readings Of Othello As There Are Readers.

2484 words - 10 pages

There are as many readings of a text as there are readers; Every text has a myriads versions of different critical "readings", such as "Feminist", "Liberal Humanist" or "Deconstructionist" readings depending how each readers perceives its meanings. In each of the readings, the audience is given an ideologically determined text, which incorporates aspects of the original, but rejects or understates other aspects that might contradict these particular readings. In Othello, there are likewise also many different readings, for example, Feminist, Postcolonial and Aristotelian. It is possible to suggest two readings which perhaps may link to audiences psychologically and ideologically more successfully - the Aristotelian and Feminist reading, and this is evident through the plot, characterization language, and themes underpinning the text Othello.

Aristotle, the famous Greek philosopher first captured the Aristotelian reading. This reading in general perceives the text as a serious tragedy with the possession of certain tragic characteristics, such as progressing from harmony to chaos. Shakespeare had written many famous tragedies, and being one of the most famous and heartbreaking, the play Othello, written in the Elizabethan times targeting mature audiences who would empathize with the human emotions of its tear-jerking storyline, could certainly be considered with Aristotelian reading, especially when examining its upsetting plot, extraordinary characters, unusual context, emotions-evoking style of language and its society-related themes.

The plot of Othello may be considered as a plot of a typical tragedy is various senses. In almost all tragedies ever written, for example, Hamlet and King Lear, the play begins with harmony and ends in tempest created by the protagonist himself. In Othello, the play began with the peacefulness of Othello and Desdemona's relationship and being a love story against the backdrop of a racially divided society, their relationship had not been agreeable to all but there is still some hopes from audience that all may be well. However, through chances, villain's manipulations and most importantly his own mind's weakness, Othello undergoes a mental collapse, which leads to the tragic fall of the protagonist and an ultimate ending of the play in turmoil. Also, derived by Aristotle is that all tragedies have a plot built around a "downturn" or catastrophe and eventual recognition of a true and appalling state of affairs. In Othello, the "downturn" would be the temptation scene in Act 3, which had given Iago the initial opportunity to deceive Othello regarding Desdemona.

The setting of the play, a postcolonial society with the central characters from high social status also reveals the calamitous nature of Othello. As generalized by Aristotle, most classical tragedies possesses characters of superiority, usually being kings or nobles, for example, King Lear from King Lear, Macbeth from Macbeth and Royal Prince Hamlet...

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