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Monday, June 29, 2009

The Moor

I'm gradually falling in love with Shakespeare. It's quite strange, because I've always liked his plays - but now I'm coming to see the truth: Shakespeare's plays demand more than a passive liking.

Take Othello for example. I've just finished reading it, had to because my fourth correspondence school text book for English said I must. I've watched all 3 1/2 hours of it because the correspondence school insisted on it. And the result is that I am becoming engrossed in the Shakespearean world of wordy poetry and encoded texts, with Shakespeare's seamless, fast and tragic story lines. Through my demanding textbook and the perfect tragedy of Othello, I'm being swept into the realm of the Shakespeare fandom, whether I will or no.
For the movie, I watched an old BBC educational programme in tape form (yes, those thick black things that could be mistaken for bricks) with Anthony Hopkins, that marvellous man who was the king in The World's Fastest Indian. But he was just as good as Othello in this antiquated movie, with his hesitancy, self - interrogation and soliloquies. As Othello he perfected his blank, spaced - out look whenever he was brooding over something - in this case, his wife's supposed unfaithfulness.

The real tragedy of the film and the book, is not that Desdemona, Emelia and Othello die at the end. What is painfully heart - wrenching is that Othello believes in Desdemona's unfaithfulness, and that he kills what he continues to love.
Iago is the most cunning, clever and crafty villain that it is possible for one story to contain. He is so diabollically evil while appearing to be good - one of my favourite types of villains, I admit. (Javert, from Les Mis is my favourite in this group of villains: he is fantastically evil in his very goodness. He is the villain while being a strictly moral character - he is the villain because he has no heart.)

Iago, however, does have some kind of a heart. For some reason he feels jealous of Othello and is tortured by his jealousy. When I say he 'has a heart' I really mean that his strongly felt emotions are the force behind his evil deeds. His heart certainly doesn't lead him to do good things. One way of explaining the difference between these men is that Iago rules his feelings and Javert does not allow his feelings to rule him. To put it less complicatedly, Iago uses but controls his emotions to do evil, while Javert's actions are the result of his sense of moral right. The fascinating thing about Javert is that he uses his sense of the moral 'good' to do evil. Victor Hugo's writing is so deliciously complex, as is Shakespeare's.
One of the terribly true things about the story is that all the suspicion is based on such a little thing as a 'lost' handkerchief. Life seems to be like that sometimes - so many big implications from such little actions.

I love Shakespeare.

2 Comments:

Blogger Andy Moore said...

Great post Lyd, taught me a fair bit about Shakespeare. I fear you are quite thoroughly immersed; beyond saving now...

May I call foul at your use of the word delicious though? The hairs on the back of my neck raise involuntarily when I see someone use the word as you have. Butchery is more akin to what you've done to the word. I just can't stand it when used to describe something other than food... it just sounds so perverse! hahah, well there you have it.

1:04 pm  
Blogger Lydz said...

haha, Hugh Laurie and Rowan Atkinson are so funny together :)

So, you have something against the word 'delicious' out of it's foody context, eh?
Are you sure that's fair? Here's some other ways to use the word, apart from describing food:

"Very pleasant; delightful: a delicious revenge." - www.Answers.com
"greatly pleasing or entertaining" - www.AudioEnglish.net

Delicious describes things so well :)

1:21 pm  

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