English Literature: Othello Context

Flashcards by tamber838, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by tamber838 about 5 years ago


A-Level English Literature Flashcards on English Literature: Othello Context , created by tamber838 on 04/04/2016.

Resource summary

Question Answer
Historical Context The war between the Turks and Christians (Venetian state) provides a symbolic backdrop to Othello's tragedy. Cyprus is Vulnerable and isolated, like Othello.
Social Context Women in the Renaissance had few legal rights, and their life choices were commonly dictated by their fathers and husbands. However, Shakespeare creates strong female characters in Emilia and Desdemona, who challenge the social order even if they cannot overthrow it.
Literary Context Shakespeare uses features of traditional Greek tragedy (Othello suffers from the fatal flaw of pride) and revenge tragedy (Iago is a scheming Machiavel).
Philosophical Context Most Elizabethans believed in the devil and accepted evil was hard to detect, thus making Iago's deceptions both plausible and terrifying.
Cultural Context Elizabethans were generally suspicious of Italians, Viewing them as immoral intriguers and some saw black men as lustful predators. Shakespeare makes use of and subverts these stereotypes.
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