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So now I'm really wondering where this idea comes from. That the woman - like your QEI - had had lovers but was a virgin. Someone who has had sex is no longer a virgin, right? I'm not meaning to be picky, but the coincidence has made me curious about how many people think there has to be a penis involved? :confused:

 

Technically it's the breaking of the hymen (i think), so technically they're virgins- although we wouldn't think of them as that.

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I don't know about that, jfp. I think you're being a bit harsh on Kelby Lake's teacher - I'm sure what he meant to say is that 'Iago may have been attracted to other men although not necessarily in a way that complies with early twenty first century constructs of queerness' - but that's rather a mouthful for a high school class, don't you think? ;)

[/size]

 

I'm a she :D

 

I don't think Iago wanted to bed men, but he didn't want to bed women. I think he's a sadist, in the dictionary definition of the term.

He also sucks up to the point of adoration, and doesn't kill Cassio after a week, when Othello asked him to do it as soon as (although maybe he was biding his time).

Possibly she got that because the 1995 film sort of hinted that he was, and Iago saying how Cassio did things in his sleep- because that's a pretty bizarre lie.

I wouldn't explain Iago away as just being gay, but there are undertones (like Nick in The Great Gatsby).

 

Any thoughts on other characters?

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Technically it's the breaking of the hymen (i think), so technically they're virgins- although we wouldn't think of them as that.

*cough* *splutter*

 

Way off topic here, but I think you're mistaken about that, you can break a hymen (one can break one's?) riding a horse.

 

Desdemona I think (yay! back on topic) was probably virgo intacta. One more reason why Othello should have known better.

 

In fact, I've sometimes thought it would be amusing to retell the story from her perspective. But it just seems so obvious that I'm sure someone must have done it before.

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I wouldn't explain Iago away as just being gay

Despite his vigorous ["Fie! fie!"] denial, it can be construed, in the opening scene of The Merchant of Venice, that Antonio feels more than friendship for Bassanio...

 

But, as David explained, there is no textual evidence for anything of this sort with regard to Iago; nor is there anything remotely untoward about his sharing a bed with Cassio (enabling him to witness Cassio's dream about Desdemona).

 

As for "being gay": it seems to me that we need to draw a clear distinction between having homosexual tendencies (whether acted on or not) and "being gay", which connotes something which impinges on the way someone lives his/her life. As I see it - but this is open to debate - a man may be married with children AND have an entirely secret sexual relationship with a man, and not "be gay", because in society's eyes he is, first and foremost, a man with a conventional heterosexual lifestyle.

 

As has been said before, perhaps it all revolves around what the meaning of the word "is" is... ;)

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*cough* *splutter*

 

In fact, I've sometimes thought it would be amusing to retell the story from her perspective. But it just seems so obvious that I'm sure someone must have done it before.

 

Someone did: a German writer called Christine Brueckner, who wrote a book of monologues by women from history and literature, some of whom were, like Desdemona, denied a voice.

It's called Desdemona, If Only You Had Spoken, and was translated into English by the actress Eleanor Bron (who I think also performed it):

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Desdemona-Only-You-Had-Spoken/dp/1853815470/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1223569575&sr=1-7

 

If you're interested in the original:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wenn-Du-Geredet-Hattest-Desdemona/dp/3548238416/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1223569551&sr=1-12

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But, as David explained, there is no textual evidence for anything of this sort with regard to Iago; nor is there anything remotely untoward about his sharing a bed with Cassio (enabling him to witness Cassio's dream about Desdemona).

 

Well,when Iago's pretending that Cassio was dreaming that Iago was Desdemona and getting touchy-feely, he seems to be quite proud in a bizarre way. It's the only time he talks about sex in a non-vulgar way (methinks)

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Well,when Iago's pretending that Cassio was dreaming that Iago was Desdemona and getting touchy-feely, he seems to be quite proud in a bizarre way.
EDIT: David reacted to this [see below] much more cogently than I had managed to do late last night... The dream is of course entirely invented, but Iago does it with so much circumstantial detail that the audience, just like Othello, is instinctively taken in.
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Well,when Iago's pretending that Cassio was dreaming that Iago was Desdemona and getting touchy-feely, he seems to be quite proud in a bizarre way. It's the only time he talks about sex in a non-vulgar way (methinks)

Well he certainly puts vigour into the description, but you forget the context in which that occurs. The entire point is to incite Othello into rage against both Cassio and Desdemona. It would be entirely natural for military men to be sleeping together at that time and contemporaries believed strongly in the meanings of dreams, so Iago naturally exploits this to create a scenario where he can describe a situation that is effectively Cassio in relations with Desdemona. He could either just say he heard Cassio say something about loving her, or he can paint a vivid, sensual picture that's going to stick in Othello's mind, since he won't be visualising Cassio with Iago, but with his wife.

 

That is the only reason for describing things as he does.

 

The only thing I suspect you could say reasonably about his sexuality is that he has none. Sex for him is a human weakness - something that makes you vulnerable and which can be exploited. He uses it to bring down others and indeed to provide himself with other false motivations.

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Yes, I agree. I think he gets that sort of pleasure from evil (maybe).

 

Aaron and Iago are quite similar (aaron might be an embryonic version of iago) but aaron doesn't want to hurt them personally. Iago wants to basically break them, and loves the fact that they love and trust him.

 

He's a bit messed-up but I sort of like him :o

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I think we're being a bit too dismissive of Iago's sexuality here. There has been a lot of serious scholarly analysis of it over the years (I've been prowling unsuccessfully for a simple but not too simple summary :) ). Just a couple of ideas, though - Iago goes from friend to hating Othello very, very quickly. Simple jealousy of Cassio's promotion is too simple an explanation. But it does happen at the time that Othello marries Desdemona. In fact, the first scene is Othello and Roderigo discssuing not just Cassio but also the 'balck ram tupping the white ewe' - outside Desdemona's father's house. I think you can easily find jealousy there. Especially since in his plotting, Iago shows that he understands just how desperate sexual jealousy can make people feel.

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Iago goes from friend to hating Othello very, very quickly.
He hates him right from the start (as far as the text goes, at any rate...)
Othello and Roderigo discssuing not just Cassio but also the 'balck ram tupping the white ewe' - outside Desdemona's father's house.
They don't actually discuss the ram and the ewe, and it is not accidentally outside Brabantio's house... The old black ram/white ewe bit is actually yelled out at Brabantio... it's in the the text...

 

Sorry to attach so much importance to the text...

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I have to admit I'm going from memory here, so I'll assume you're right about where the lines are said. But Iago has been loyal to Othello prior to the promotion of Cassio (and Othello's marriage) has he not? Othello certainly believes he has - they have been together a long time (considering the list of battles they have fought), and he trusts Iago enough to leave his new wife with him.

 

I don't want to argue that Iago was gay, by the way, just to observe that there are credible arguments that lean on this motivation for his actions. (Yes, I will have to go find them.)

 

(By the way, moderators - for old time's sake ;) - jfp is disagreeing with me, can't you do something?)

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This novel became my favorite! "I use to read this novel in my school English literature Subject" Othello was bit violent in the novel as he did too pomppy and same happened too him too.The end disturbed me a lot.But if there is not a surprising Good end the story always remain useless.

 

_______________

Life's too short! 6ea2ef7311b482724a9b7b0bc0dd85c6.gif

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(By the way, moderators - for old time's sake ;) - jfp is disagreeing with me
Oh dear, I realise that my last post sounds exactly like comments in the margin of a student's essay... sorry Kim...

 

Othello and I have a long history... it was one of the Shakespeares I did for 'A'-level... then exactly twenty years later it was the first play I boldly ventured to teach to my French first-years... it seemed a good choice because it has a clear progression and none of the lyrical density of Macbeth and King Lear...

 

It seems to me that, while Shakespeare is full of sexual reverberations/references to physicality (all the bits that my A-level editions referred to as "bawdy references" and which our teachers generally kept us in the dark about... although I do remember one of my teachers elucidiating the bit about "thereby hangs a tale" and "wind instruments"... I think we'd possibly already got hold of the tale - as it were... - but not the reference to farting...), there is actually precious little confrontation of sexuality as such.

 

More generally, I have long thought that the only character in the play who really manages to see life in all its complexity is Emilia. This comes over very clearly in her honest reply to Desdemona's prissy comments about adultery:

D Wouldst thou do such a deed for all the world?

E Why, would not you? D No, by this heavenly light!

E Nor I neither, by this heavenly light.

I might do't as well i'th' dark.

Good old Emilia, eh? I'm sure she was Shakespeare's favourite. And if we are going to do a Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and venture outside the text and behind the scenes, I would have Emilia sneaking into a couple of other berths on the boat-trip over to Cyprus, and Iago, yes, quite possibly enjoying a few late-night drinks and the odd drunken fumble with the more wayward and dissolute of the cabin-boys.

:cool:

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Oh dear, I realise that my last post sounds exactly like comments in the margin of a student's essay... sorry Kim...
Thank's okay, John, though I was thinking of asking when my essay was due ;)

 

Seriously, when it comes to drama, because its production is an interaction between the actor and the text even before it becomes an interaction between the actor and the audience - I think questions like might Iago have been attracted to Othello can be quite interesting. I'm not saying you can prove he was, but that it would be perfectly valid, with the textual indications we have, for an actor to play him that way.

Good old Emilia, eh? I'm sure she was Shakespeare's favourite. And if we are going to do a Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and venture outside the text and behind the scenes, I would have Emilia sneaking into a couple of other berths on the boat-trip over to Cyprus, and Iago, yes, quite possibly enjoying a few late-night drinks and the odd drunken fumble with the more wayward and dissolute of the cabin-boys. :cool:
Yes, I do find Emiliaquite believable. But you're taking Iago to a whole new level playng with the cabin boys. I was picturing him much more in an,
'Oh, Othello you're so butch!'
kind of way.
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Oh dear, I realise that my last post sounds exactly like comments in the margin of a student's essay... sorry Kim...

I would have Emilia sneaking into a couple of other berths on the boat-trip over to Cyprus, and Iago, yes, quite possibly enjoying a few late-night drinks and the odd drunken fumble with the more wayward and dissolute of the cabin-boys.

:cool:

 

How funny would that be!:D For someone who talks about sex a lot, he doesn't appear to be having much.

 

 

 

'D Wouldst thou do such a deed for all the world?

E Why, would not you? D No, by this heavenly light!

E Nor I neither, by this heavenly light.

I might do't as well i'th' dark. '

 

Like Iago being evil. He always does it behind backs and never admits, in the light, that he is evil.

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He always does it behind backs
Though telling outright lies to people's faces is hardly doing things behind people's backs...
and never admits, in the light, that he is evil.
You're forgetting the soliloquies...; Iago's utter contempt is apparent from the first line of the first of these:
Thus do I ever make my fool my purse
Dramatic irony is used throughout the play via the huge contrast between what the audience knows and the sheer credulousness of the other characters. The audience finds itself in virtually the same position as at a pantomime: "Behind you! Behind you!"
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He lies to them, but he never tells them he is evil. He agrees with Brabantio when he's calling up that he is a villain, but B doesn't know it's Iago and Iago runs off when B goes to get a candle and investigate.

The soliloquies are directed at the audience- the other characters are oblivious until the end.

He doesn't even admit it at the point of death.

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I think you need to have a closer look at the text, kelby_lake, with all respect...

He lies to them, but he never tells them he is evil.
Well, he wouldn't, would he? Satan himself is not known for going around saying he's evil... it's not really the kind of thing one admits to, is it?
He agrees with Brabantio when he's calling up that he is a villain
Not in my text he doesn't... When told he's a villain, he replies: "You are - a senator".
The soliloquies are directed at the audience
Yes, soliloquies usually are.
He doesn't even admit it at the point of death.
Iago doesn't reach "the point of death", and certainly not within the play; the very last words of the play anticipate "the censure of this hellish villain", and "the torture" - but no more than that...

 

And anyway, what is Iago guilty of in the eyes of the law?

 

I used to tell my students that he (and evil) will be back... just like Freddy from A Nightmare on Elm Street... :eek:

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Have you read Titus Andronicus? :) Aaron, who is like a sketchy Iago, is on his point of torture and has a 'charming' boastful speech about how he dug up people's sweethearts and put them at their doors. And the only thing he regrets is having not done 10,000 more evil things.

 

He scares me :quiver:

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Have you read Titus Andronicus? :) Aaron, who is like a sketchy Iago, is on his point of torture and has a 'charming' boastful speech about how he dug up people's sweethearts and put them at their doors. And the only thing he regrets is having not done 10,000 more evil things.

 

He scares me :quiver:

 

 

Your mention of Titus Andronicus brought to mind an old favourite film, Theatre of Blood -

 

"First aired as a Vincent Price/Hammer cheesefest in 1973, this story of an addled old actor laying waste to theatre critics in the Shakespearean style of death which most befits their end".

 

If you get to watch it count up the plays of Shakey that are referenced

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