Othello - A Racist Play? Although there are lots of things to suggest this is a racist play I don't think that racism actually dominates the play, even though it has a racist theme.
Structuralism and Semiotics Structuralism Structuralism is a way of thinking about the world which is predominantly concerned with the perceptions and description of structures. At its simplest, structuralism claims that the nature of every element in any given situation has no significance by itself, and in fact is determined by all the other elements involved in that situation.
The full significance of any entity cannot be perceived unless and until it is integrated into the structure of which it forms a part Hawkes, p. Structuralists believe that all human activity is constructed, not natural or "essential.
Semiology Semiotics, simply put, is the science of signs.
Semiology proposes that a great diversity of our human action and productions--our bodily postures and gestures, the the social rituals we perform, the clothes we wear, the meals we serve, the buildings we inhabit--all convey "shared" meanings to members of a particular culture, and so can be analyzed as signs which function in diverse kinds of signifying systems.
Linguistics the study of verbal signs and structures is only one branch of semiotics but supplies the basic methods and terms which are used in the study of all other social sign systems Abrams, p. Binary Opposition - "pairs of mutually-exclusive signifiers in a paradigm set representing categories which are logically opposed and which together define a complete universe of discourse relevant ontological domaine.
In such oppositions each term necessarily implies its opposite and there is no middle term" Daniel Chandler. Symbol - According to Saussure, "words are not symbols which correspond to referents, but rather are 'signs' which are made up of two parts like two sides of a sheet of paper: The distinction is important because Saussure contended that the relationship between signifier and signified is arbitrary; the only way we can distinguish meaning is by difference one sign or word differs from another.
Instead, meaning--the interpretation of a sign--can exist only in relationship with other signs. Selden and Widdowson use the sign system of traffic lights as an example.
The color red, in that system, signifies "stop," even though "there is no natural bond between red and stop" Meaning is derived entirely through difference, "a system of opposites and contrasts," e.
Structuralist narratology - "a form of structuralism espoused by Vladimir Propp, Tzvetan Todorov, Roland Barthes, and Gerard Genette that illustrates how a story's meaning develops from its overall structure its langue rather than from each individual story's isolated theme.
To ascertain a text's meaning, narratologists emphasize grammatical elements such as verb tenses and the relationships and configurations of figures of speech within the story" Bressler - see General Resources below.
Northwestern UP, Hill and Wang, The Pleasure of the Text.
Structuralism, Linguistics, and the Study of Literature. U of California P, Jefferson, Anne and David Robey.
Revolution in Poetic Language and Desire in Language: A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art. After the New Criticism.Othello: Theme Analysis, Free Study Guides and book notes including comprehensive chapter analysis, complete summary analysis, author biography information, character profiles, theme analysis, metaphor analysis, and top ten quotes on classic literature.
The Character Desdemona and the Role of Women Depicted in Shakespeare's Othello - The society in which Othello takes place is a patriarchal one, where men had complete control over women.
New Criticism. A literary movement that started in the late s and s and originated in reaction to traditional criticism that new critics saw as largely concerned with matters extraneous to the text, e.g., with the biography or psychology of the author or the work's relationship to literary history.
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Othello plays on the low status of women in Venetian society. Women are depicted as the possessions of men, as sex objects, and as untrustworthy. For example, in Act I, Iago says the following to Brabantio: "Sir, you're robbed Even now, now, very now, an old black ram. Is tupping your white ewe.".
The tragic plot of Othello hinges on the ability of the villain, Iago, to mislead other characters, particularly Roderigo and Othello, by encouraging them to misinterpret what they see. Othello is susceptible to Iago's ploys because he himself is so honest and straightforward.