Bradley vs Leavis, Notes on Othello
Othello The Bradley view (& & Coleridge) – Othello’s description of himself as, “one not quickly jealous, but, being wrought,/ Perplexed in extreme,” is perfectly just. His tragedy lies in this– that his whole nature was indisposed to jealousy, and yet was such that he was uncommonly open up to deception, and, if as soon as wrought to enthusiasm, most likely to show little reflection, with no delay, and in the most definitive manner conceivable. – But up to this point, where Iago is dismissed (III, iii,238) Othello, I must keep, does not show jealousy.
His self-confidence is shaken, he is confused and deeply distressed, he feels even horror; however he is not yet envious in the proper sense of the word. – Iago’s soliloquy– the motive-hunting of a motiveless malignity– how dreadful it is! Yea, whilst he is still allowed to bear the magnificent image, it is too fiendish for his own steady view,– for the lonely gaze of a being next to devil, and just not rather devil,– and yet a character which Shakespeare has actually tried and performed, without disgust and without scandal! (S. T.
C) – Finally, let me duplicate that Othello does not kill Desdemona in jealousy, however in a conviction forced upon him by the almost superhuman art of Iago, such a conviction as any man would and need to have captivated who had believed Iago’s honesty as Othello did. (S. T. C) – To compare Iago with Satan of Paradise Lost seems practically ridiculous, so exceptionally does Shakespeare’s male surpass Milton’s fiend in evil. – The Othello who gets in the bed-chamber with the words, “It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul,” is not the man of the Fourth Act. The deed he is bound to do is not a murder, however a sacrifice.
He is to conserve Desdemona from herself, not in hate however in honour; in honour and in love … there is nearly absolutely nothing here to diminish the appreciation and love which heighten pity. – As he speaks those final words in which all the magnificence and pain of his life seem to pass before us, like the images that flash prior to the eyes of a drowning guy, a triumphant reject for the fetters of the flesh and the littleness of all the lives that should survive him sweeps our sorrow away, and when he dies upon a kiss the most painful of all tragedies leaves us for a moment devoid of discomfort and exulting in the power of “love and guy’s unconquerable mind. The Leavis View – Othello has from the beginning reacted to Iago’s ‘communications’ in the way Iago wanted and with a punctuality that couldn’t be improved upon, and has actually dismissed Iago with these words, “Farewell, farewell:/ If more thou dost perceive, let me know more;/ Set on thy better half to observe.” – With such undaunted fidelity does Bradley wear these blinkers that he can state, ‘His trust, where he trusts, is absolute,’ without understanding the force of the corollary: Othello’s trust, then, can never have been in Desdemona. However, to anyone not using these blinkers it appears that no subtilization and exaltation of the Iago-devil can save the worthy hero of Bradley’s commitment. And it is plain that what we ought to see in Iago’s timely success is not so much Iago’s diabolic intellect as Othello’s preparedness to respond. – Othello, in his magnanimous method, is egotistic. He really is, beyond any concern, the nobly huge male of action, the captain of males, he sees himself as being, however he does very much see himself, “Maintain your brilliant swords, for the dew will rust them. In other words, a habit of self-approving self-dramatisation is a vital aspect in Othello’s make-up, and stays so at the very end. – When he finds his mistake, (the murder of Desdemona) his response is an intolerably intensified type of the common ‘I might kick myself,’– V,ii,275-79– However he remains the exact same Othello; he has actually found his error, but there is no terrible self-discovery. The catastrophe is fundamental in the Othello-Desdemona relation, and Iago is a system needed for precipitating disaster in a remarkable action … His self-centredness does not indicate self-knowledge: that is a virtue which Othello, as soldier of fortune, hasn’t had much need of. He has actually been well supplied by nature to meet all the trials facing him now that he has married this Venetian woman with whom he’s ‘in love’ so imaginatively (we’re told) regarding outdo Romeo and who is a lot of years more youthful than himself– the trials facing him are of a much various order.