Hussah's Blog 501

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Hussah's Blog 501

Week 4 Blog Post

September 24th, 2018 · No Comments · Uncategorized

For this week’s blog post, I would like to focus on the first prompt which was to analyze how one of the visual representations presented last class on Othello, changed my initial perspective. I focused on the third option from the list of videos which was the Women in Othello where Olivia Vinall and Lindsay Marshal describe their interpretation of Desdemona/Emilia in the 2013 British National Theater production.

Before I dive into how this interpretation affected how I now look at Othello, let me first describe what my initial outlook was. What made me choose this video was that when reading this play, I always viewed Desdemona as a strong female character. She came from high power, she has more freedom than most women in her time, especially more than Emilia, and she has a way of speaking. Her way of speaking is sort of manipulative since it gets her what she wants which is what makes even character strong and intimidating. That was how I viewed her when reading the play, she was strong, intimidating and smart with words, therefore manipulative. With Emilia however, I always saw her as a weak character due to how abusive her relationship with her husband Iago is. He always bosses her around and she always appears to try to please him. She is very inferior in her relationship to him that she tries to hard to be in his good graces, she is willing to perform actions without thinking the consequences through, such as giving Iago the handkerchief that she knows will cause an internal issue in Desdemona and Othello’s marriage. I always read her as a jealous character since she was ready to cause problems in another marriage since she herself is in an unhappy and abusive marriage so that does explain why she could be jealous of the newlyweds.

I chose this interpretation because it changed how I view these characters. They were portrayed in a completely opposite manner. With other productions, I still view these characters with my same initial perspective however with this one it is completely different which is why I want to discuss the differences. First, in this adaptation, Desdemona seems to be portrayed in a manner to show that she is young and still needs guidance. maybe it was done that way to help show that she is a newlywed and married a man significantly older than her so typically she would need guidance in how her life will adjust to being more responsible, being wiser, being more mature. In this adaptation she was young, she also surprisingly needed advice from Emilia who I consider to be weaker than her however Emilia could have saved Desdemona through her words just by conversing which I found intriguing since in the play, I noticed whenever Emilia would do anything like speak to her husband or explain a thought, she would be turned down and not given time to be heard, so in this adapatation her voice is very strong whereas in my reading of it, her voice was not important. In this adapation Emilia was not jelous, she was only trying to help her husband by also being manipulative in a way which I would expect from Desdomona, not from her. I always saw that Emilia surrenders herself to Iago and here even though he got what he wanted, he still worked for it. Also, I think what made me view Emilia as a strong character was that she was wearing army attire which always makes someone look stronger, so that helped her a lot, I guess it gave her more confidence. What I mostly enjoyed about this interpretation was that in the initial reading I saw that the women did not help each other but in this production, the purpose was to show that the women could have helped each other if they just had a conversation about life. Desdemona could have taught Emilia the strength and the voice that comes from youth and Emilia could have taught Desdemona the struggles and weaknesses she should avoid as a woman in a domestic relationship, they would both teach eachother how to establish their voice and position in their relationships.

The video that I would like to introduce is in fact from the same production, but an explanation of Iago and Othello’s relationship, which I was curious about since there are many readings explaining how they are close and how this closeness affects the status of their relationship, so it is jealousy from one another, is it desire for one another, etc. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyoCIwJn9Ic

My initial thoughts on Othello and Iago’s relationship was that Iago always had white superiority and used it to get what he wants, he did not care for anyone I never saw he cared for god relationships as long as he is happy and treated with the respect that he views a white man should be treated, then he knows how to be fake. People always interpret his jealousy for Othello as him being into Othello but I saw that he was scared of his white superiority fading with time and progression so he wants to reestablish it. He saw Othello rise from the bottom and reach levels higher than him and hold more honor than him which was not typical for a person of color at his time, which is why he reestablishes Othello’s place by calling him “The Moore”. In this adaptation, Othello knows of his limitations but knows he is honored. He worked for where he is now which is similar in the play, in the play he worked and fought to get to where he is now and Iago was always served everything. Othello and Iago’s relationship here, however, is said to be close due to fighting battles together and knowing each other through the years. I think that is what made Iago fear Othello, especially since he refers to Othello as having a charm which I never considered when reading the play. Maybe over the years he saw Othello in action and saw how he might have a charm, therefore he is intimidated by him. What explains this intimidation is clear by the choice of actors. Othello is tall and built while Iago is short and not as built or attractive as Othello, so that would definitely cause esteem issues within Iago as to why he would think his wife would choose Othello over him and have an affair. In the play I never saw that Iago would fear to lose his wife to Othello, I thought he only wanted rumors, but by how the actor stands and acts, its safe to say that he was self-conscious about himself, which is something you cannot interpret from reading the text, you have to see it to believe it. (1135)

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