The Masks of Othello: The Search for the Identity of Othello, Iago, and Desdemona by Three Centuries of Actors and Critics

The Masks of Othello: The Search for the Identity of Othello, Iago, and Desdemona by Three Centuries of Actors and Critics

The Masks of Othello: The Search for the Identity of Othello, Iago, and Desdemona by Three Centuries of Actors and Critics

The Masks of Othello: The Search for the Identity of Othello, Iago, and Desdemona by Three Centuries of Actors and Critics

Excerpt

For some three centuries and a half actors and critics have been trying, in their different ways, to interpret the complex and profound characters of Othello. The actor has searched for characterizations that could be expressed through his physical imagery on a stage, while the critic has tended to explain the poet's conceptions in terms of their verbal implications. Often the character images proposed by actor and critic have been curiously -- even belligerently -- different. I hope here to reconcile their differences, and bring together the best interpretations of both.

From the evidence of the play's stage history I try to describe -- as well as words can do it -- the work of art in its living form. I search particularly for the look and sound of Othello, Iago, and Desdemona; and for the inner shapes, the character essences, that the look and sound express. It will be a checkered search, for -- to take Othello's case --

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