English Essay Interpretation of texts can shift and change with time and place. Considering your time and place, reflect on the ways In which context shaped your critical interpretation. The way in which texts are read and understood is heavily dependent on when and where you are. It is obvious that Othello would not be understood and interpreted as the same character in a country with different social views in a different time period.
Othello was written by William Shakespeare during Elizabethan times in England where the views of society were very different to today. Shakespeare rated the characters In this play to build the story he was telling such that It would gain popularity with the people of his time and thus It Is generally true that the people would have interpreted his play and thus his characters and their actions differently than one would today. Within Othello, the major characters are Othello, Desman, and Ago as their presence and actions dictate most of the course of the play.
The interpretation of Othello and Desman will have changed the most as views on sexism and racism have vastly changed but the base interpretation of Ago ill have changed the least with time and place as he Is a villain and the word villain has universal meaning. The moor of Venice, Othello, will be Interpreted very differently given a vast difference in time and/or place given the physical and behavioral attributes assigned to him by Shakespeare. Shakespeare positioned Othello as an outsider in Venetian social because his skin color was black contrasting the white skin of those around him in Venetian society.
The racial remarks about Othello would not have been noticed or stood out as much in the time hen Othello was written as the audience was heavily discriminate against those of other races and this was considered normal In society. However, today since we have established that racism is socially unjust we tend to notice racist remarks against Othello more often. Lagos reference to Othello as a “Barbara horse” and “black ram” with explicit utilization of bestial imagery is much more provocative today than it was before and it leads the audience to despise Ago for more than his Just his villainous intent.
In one of critic A. C. Barley’s lectures he says “the modern view [of Othello] economies the main character as human and often places It under scrutiny”. However, this view is not as resonant throughout the play to audiences in this century reading it as the recognition of a character as human allows the audience to relate to them more which actually draws more sympathy from them. This is only added to by the outlawing of racial insults which are ever-present against Othello leading to us further pity the noble moor.
The difference in interpretation through noticing racial slurs against Othello today will arise from these racial remarks having our perception of Othello as discriminated against and lead to sympathy for him, altering our perception of the characteristics he was assigned by Shakespeare and the true cause of the tragedy in Othello. Desman, the loyal and loving wife of Othello, is a construction of Shakespeare whose actions will be interpreted very differently today than they were in the Elizabethan England context.
Today’s audience would see Desman as very near spoken, sensuously Ana undeservedly Innocent. However, in 1604, when this play was performed, it would have been considered idealistic for women to be like this as there was a strong acceptance of sexism and the idea that men were worth more than females. Females were expected to be submissive and do what was asked of them by men. Today we notice the character much more as this is not the norm in society. Women are expected to be equal to men and for someone to have the characteristics of Desman would be considered very strange.
After foreshadowing her death with the “willow’ song, she prays that the poor way in which she has been treated by Othello will teach her, not to hate or eek revenge, but to forgive and improve upon her own faults: “Good night, good night/God me such uses send/Not to pick bad from bad, but by bad mend! ” Despite knowing that she has done no wrong and still blaming herself is perceived as abnormal and unrealistic but during Shakespearean time it would have embodied the idealistic woman. A. C.
Bradley 1905 critique of Othello resonates the idea that women were thought inferior to males and they were treated like “property’ which reflected the “attitudes of Elizabethan society’. It can thus be said that Adhesion’s interpretation will change as time and place changes. Ago is a character whose base nature is villainous and treacherous. He is set up by Shakespeare as a very controlled, calm and refined character who takes advantage of every opportunity to make his enemies suffer.
His actions lead to the conflict within Othello and his Machiavelli character is interpreted as such despite a change in time and place as the idea of a villain is universal. The only interpretations that change of Ago are the motives he has against Othello which make him a villain. During Elizabethan times, paving had someone else sleep with you wife and having them deny you a promotion despite your would have sufficed as suitable reason to seek revenge upon them.
Women were considered property during that time and becoming a cuckold would lead to a loss of reputation comparable to being denied promotion despite considerable service and experience. However, today such an action would be considered extreme especially for such comparatively trivial reasons and the only reason or this behavior would be to consider that Ago enjoyed the suffering of others. Let us be conjunctive against him. If thou cants cuckold him, thou dost thyself a pleasure, me a sport. Shows how Ago thought of his “revenge” as a game to be enjoyed. Bernard Icepacks Ago Revisited shows his views that Ago is “a man of principle, witch subtle coherence between what he believes in general and what he believes in particular. ” His thoughts on Ago being a man of principle may be true but only to the extent that these beliefs connote destruction for sport. This reinforces his base interpretation as a villain. Thus, Lagos interpretation as a base villain is sustaining throughout time and place as the meaning of villain is universal.
The interpretations of a texts change as time and place do due to changing social views. Othello explores the characters of Othello and Desman which are bound to constantly changing interpretations due to their physical and behavioral aspects. Ago will have an overall unchanged interpretation as he is a villain and the term has universal meaning that is not bound by time and place. Thus texts do change in interpretation if even one of the characters has a changed interpretation.