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Othello Speech

By Carissadasa May 14, 2013 1266 Words
Othello Speech
Hello, and good morning.I’m the director for a new, modern day adaptation of the Shakespearean play, Othello. Or as some may suggest should be called ”Iago“ as Iago is the central villain. This morning I would like to give you some direction regarding the character Iago and how I am going to portray him. Iago is a bitter man. Consumed by jealousy, he is driven to scheme and manipulate the other characters to bring the downfall of Othello but doesn’t care who gets hurt on the way. When we think of Iago we can imagine some of the other notorious modern day villains that we are familiar with such as, The Joker from Batman, Wormtail from Harry Potter and one of Shakespeare’s other notorious villains Cassius from Julius Caesar. Iago portrayed in this production displays a light and honest exterior likeable to the other characters which allows him to manipulate them and make them believe he is honestly trying to help them. He says "When devils will the blackest sins put on they do suggest at first with heavenly shows." Iago is saying just before he commits his sins he puts on his most heavenly face. Iago also prays on Roderigo’s love for Desdemona and his jealousy of her Marriage to Othello to use Roderigo as an unsuspecting accessory to his evil plans to destroy Cassio and Othello. This is displayed in act 1 scene III where Iago is speaking to Roderigo. Iago “Go make money. I have told you often and will re-tell thee again and again I hate the Moor.” Iago is encouraging Roderigo as a friend and co-conspirator to assist in the downfall of Othello. Roderigo will provide the money and complete the actions required to help Iago achieve his goal. Iago is a very dark and evil character with no loyalty to anyone even his own wife Emilia who ultimately he will murder to try and save himself from been discovered as a master of deception. Iago is jealous of Othello’s position of power, he’s jealous that Cassio was promoted over him, jealous because of rumours about Othello and Cassio sleeping with his wife Emilia. Iago gives the impression that he is tossing out plausible motivations as he thinks them, and we will never truly understand what really drives his villainy. He truly is a damaged character. We know that Iago is driven by jealousy but we get no explanation to his back ground as to why he is so insecure and destructive. Did he come from a background that promoted insecurity, low self-esteem and a will to scheme and manipulate? Today, people as damaged as Iago are assumed to have had a disruptive, damaged upbringing and in this modern production we could imagine him coming from an abusive family where he was bullied and in which he grew up to trust no one, respect no one and to manipulate and lie in order to survive. For an example in the 2001 version of Othello you see Iago as a confused teenage boy who is outshone on the basketball court by Othello and Iago’s own father appears to like Othello more than Iago. Iago’s feelings of envy as well as neglect lead him to do his evil plan. In my modern adaptation I would like to show more on Iago, where he came from, how he became a devious villain and make Iago the main character of the play rather than Othello. Iago's soliloquy in Act 1 scene 3 clearly shows his madness and obsession to destroy all that is dear to Othello "the moor is of a free and open nature that thinks men honest that but seem to be so, and will as tenderly be led by th' nose as asses are. I hav't. it is engendered! Hell and night must bring this monstrous birth to the worlds light." Iago recognises the devil within him who will create a hell for Othello. There are many critics of Othello. F R Levis criticises the play for making Othello a virtuous hero. When in actual fact he is very quick to believe everything that Iago tells him to a point that he will murder Desdemona who he is supposed to love without question. Surely a virtuous loving man would allow Desdemona the opportunity to deny the lies that Iago has told and possibly forgive? F R Levis suggests that Othello is egotistical and so full of himself as a heroic man but is very quick to believe the lies about Desdemona and he would rather have her dead than be humiliated as a cuckold. FR Levis writes "It is significant that, at the climax of the play, when Othello, having exclaimed "O blood, blood, blood," He kneels to take a formal vow of revenge, he does so in the heroic strain . . . he reassumes formally his heroic self-dramatization——reassumes the Othello of "the big wars that make ambition virtue" . . . Othello’s self-idealization, his promptness to jealousy and his blindness are shown in their essential relation. The self-idealization is shown as blindness and the nobility as here no longer something real, but the disguise of an obtuse and brutal egotism. Self-pride becomes stupidity, ferocious stupidity, an insane and self-deceiving passion. The habitual "nobility" is seen to make self-deception invincible, the egotism it expresses being the drive to catastrophe. Othello’s noble lack of self-knowledge is shown as humiliating and disastrous Is Othello really evil? Does his ego get the better of him? Does he have a dark side which Iago knows he can ultimately exploit? This is the way I want to present Iago. Winthrop Jordan, another critic who wrote 'White and Black' in the 1960's a book mainly about the American negro, makes comment from a racism angle. Othello is a black man, a rarity in the Shakespearean era, uncommon and the unknown and considered exotic, virile with heightened sexual powers and potentially brutal. Jordan suggests that this opinion of black men was far from incidental when Shakespeare created Othello as a black man married to a white woman. Jordan writes "Shakespeare did not condemn such union rather he played upon an inner theme of black and white sexuality showing how the poisonous mind of a white man perverted and destroyed the noblest of lovers by means of bringing to the surface from the darkness whence Iago spoke." Jordan also says "The character of Othello initially charms the reader with his skill as a military leader and by his tender regard for his white wife, Desdemona. Yet by the conclusion of the tale his uncontrollable passion and irrational behaviour (symbolizing the base nature of his race) overwhelm the 'civilized' side of his character, suggesting the improbability of any successful and equal connection between two such divergent cultures in real life." Is there a racist undertone to Othello where the black hero is ultimately destroyed and humiliated at the hands of a white man? Is Iago also driven by racism? With these critics in mind this modern day adaptation can add a racist slant to Iago's already despicable character but also allows us to take the spotlight off the heroic character of Othello, who ultimately is a proud black man who is privately insecure about his own success in his career and his personal life and at the first hint that he is being betrayed by Desdemona is ready to murder her to save face amongst his male white peers. I look forward to working on this production with you. Thank you.

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