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Free Othello Women papers, essays, and research papers.

Free Othello Jealousy papers, essays, and research papers.

William Shakespeare’s Othello – Act 1 Scenes 2-3 – …

A (very) long paper written in my Shakespeare and Film (Fall 2006) seminar, taught by Dr
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Shakespeare used Desdemona to personify a Christ-like figure, a representation of good in the battle of good versus evil, and an independent warrior to prove that she is a round character in Othello....

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“She, dying, gave it me, and bid me, when my fate would have me wive; to give her.” Desdemona and Othello confess their love for one another in hopes of a blissful life together....


Quentin Tarantino is an anti-black racist

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Critical interest in Othello continued into the early twentieth century, when, thanks to A.C. Bradley's Shakespearean Tragedy (1904), the play gained a place alongside Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth in the pantheon of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies. Bradley finds Othello "the most painfully exciting and the most terrible" of the tragedies, arguing that "the reader's heart and mind are held in a vice, experiencing the extremes of pity and fear, sympathy and repulsion, sickening hope and dreadful expectation" (131). In the midst of this maelstrom Bradley locates a thoroughly romanticized Othello, a noble and mysterious everyman whose destruction results from the cunning Iago's ability to turn his virtues against him and whose ruin speaks to a universal experience of tragedy. Like Othello, Desdemona is not a particularized character in Bradley's account, but a representative figure, "the 'eternal womanly' in its most lovely and adorable form, simple and innocent as a child, ardent with the courage and idealism of a saint," and the story of her love for the "noblest soul on earth" becomes for Bradley the story of anyone who has ever aimed high and been held back: "She met in life with the reward of those who rise too far above our common level" (150). While Bradley's brand of character criticism—his practice of treating the literary text as a "little world of persons" (28) populated by characters whose behavior could be explored just as one might discuss the behavior of one's neighbors—is the defining feature of his approach to Shakespeare's tragedies, he is also attuned to matters of dramatic structure. Of Othello, he argues that it was "not only the most masterly of the tragedies in point of construction, but its method of construction is unusual. And this method, by which the conflict begins late, and advances without appreciable pause and with accelerating speed to the catastrophe, is a main cause of the painful tension" (131). This analysis of the structural basis for the feelings of frantic and claustrophobic intensity generated in the play has gone on to shape the insights of many later critics.

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The role of emotions in our experience of art and literature is anobviously promising area which has received much attention in recentdecades. Robert Gordon (1987) was one of the first to suggest that theknowledge we have of the states of mind of others, and particularly oftheir emotional condition, is derived not from any psychologicaltheory, but from an active simulation of that other's state. There issuggestive neurological evidence that this might be on the right trackfrom the discovery of “mirror neurons” that aresimilarly activated both by a concrete action and by the sight of thesame concrete action in another (Gallese and Goldman 1998). The ideahas been developed by Keith Oatley (2012), as an approach toliterature. Fiction, he argues on the basis of much empiricalwork, works as a simulation run on the wetware of the reader'smind, and has the power to change us. This view is also supported byMartha Nussbaum, who despite being firmly in the cognitive camp, hasinsisted that the kind of knowledge involved in moral appraisal isboth affective and cognitive. For that reason, the full force ofcertain moral truths can best be grasped through the medium ofliterature rather than philosophical argument. (Nussbaum 1990; 1994;2001; Baier 1995; Hogan 2011).

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Of course, these answers to the question of what it is for an emotionto be reasonable suppose that the relevant notion of rationality is anepistemic one, and that what appropriate emotions succeed in achievingis some sort of representational adequacy. This assumes that emotionsare states that we passively undergo. However, the relation of theemotions to the will is not as clear as the word “passion”might suggest. Certain philosophers have argued that emotions are morelike actions, for which we must bear responsibility (Sartre 1948;Solomon 1980). If this is true, and emotions are to some extent underour voluntary control, then emotions will also be assessable for theirstrategic rationality.

Introduction to Modern Literary Theory - Kristi Siegel

Closely related to the question of the cognitive aspect of emotions isthe question of their passivity. Passivity has an ambiguous relationto subjectivity. In one vein, impressed by the bad reputation of the“passions” as taking over our consciousness against ourwill, philosophers have been tempted to take the passivity of emotionsas evidence of their subjectivity. In another vein, however, it hasbeen noted that the passivity of emotions is sometimes preciselyanalogous to the passivity of perception. How the world is, is not inour power. So it is only to be expected that our emotions, if theyactually represent something genuinely and objectively in the world,should not be in our power either: we can no more arbitrarily chooseto experience an emotion than we can adopt a belief at will. (Gordon1987).

Kristi Siegel Associate Professor, English Dept

A crucial mandate of cognitivist theories is to avert the charge thatemotions are merely “subjective.” But propositionalattitudes are not the only cognitive states. A more basic feature ofcognition is that is has a “mind-to-world direction offit.” The expression is meant to sum up the contrast betweencognition and the conative orientation, in which success is defined interms of the opposite, world-to-mind, direction of fit (Searle1983). We will or desire what does not yet exist, and deem ourselvessuccessful if the world is brought into line with the mind'splan.