Reflection on Leavis Reading of Othello
There is no doubt that when Teacher F. R Leavis goes over Shakespeare’s Othello as a tale of self-destruction, and not of simple control that he is undoubtedly appropriate. The story of Othello is pivotal on the defect of character embodied in the antagonist, and it can be recognised by any audience that is his selfishness, absence of self-knowledge, pride and egotistical nature that is the most obvious cause for his failure. In his short article Leavis first describes the viewpoint of fellow critic, Bradley, as one which is hugely flawed.
Bradley thinks that the story is a disaster since of a great and worthy man’s undoing by a foreign, intellectual and shrewd villain (that is Iago). Othello is to be seen as a “almost faultless hero whose strength and virtue are turned versus him”, and that he and Desdemona had “every opportunity of joy”. Leavis comes back at this concept by advising the audience that “Othello is the chief personage-the chief personage that in such a sense that the disaster may fairly be stated to be Othello’s character. Iago is the secondary and simply secondary”. Proof from other sources and personal examinations also hold up this theory.
When checking out the story, it is obvious that Othello has huge defects in his character. His willingness to accept Iago’s really undecided proof, reveal that he is susceptible to jealousy and is extremely mistrusting. When Iago subtly asks questions about the stability of his officer Cassio, the rational reaction would be for Othello to disregard the ramifications and directly examine any allegations gave the table by his advisor. Instead Othello, enraged by the recommendation, is willing to accept circumstantial, falsified and non conclusive evidence, probably straight against the training he would have received in his time in the military.
This defect is not for that reason one caused by his environment (he was shown how to investigate properly), but one that is internalised, and entirely his fault. The weak point of Othello’s character indicates that it can be fairly concluded that even without Iago’s participation, Othello would have self-destructed in the end anyhow. Other scenarios different to adjustment likewise have the possibility of receiving a familiar reaction from what we can now see as an unstable protagonist, leaving the idea of Iago as a master manipulator and sole villain as an incomplete and inaccurate illustration.
Iago plays a practically minor role in convincing Othello of what he already unconsciously thinks. In act 3 scene 3 Iago merely inquires as to whether Cassio is a truthful guy. This question, to anyone not swayed by a previously existing belief of jealousy, would be innocent and unprovocative. To Othello, nevertheless, it raises a whole brand-new wealth of undertones and accusations. Had Iago not prompted his rage, another person’s comments to the unstable character would definitely have actually unwinded the precious love he had for Desdemona.
Other critics support this reading of Shakespeare’s play; including Andrew Prelusky who highlights the concept that “An awful hero, according to Aristotle, also must go from fortune to bad luck”. Othello can not be a tragic hero for that reason, because even in the beginning of the story he is in possession of the flaws which eventually destroy him. The consultation shown by Leavis is that the truth that Othello never gains from his down falling magnifies the terrible nature of the story.
Even in his soliloquy dealing with the audience Othello requests that individuals remember him as a guy who “liked well but not wisely, who was not prone to jealousy”. This statement baffles the audience as Othello’s actions have actually just shown the opposite he is a male who enjoyed incompletely and severely, and who gave in to jealousy at the very first inclination of its presence. It is clear to anyone reading the story that Othello is the opposite of what he claims to be, which lack of self-revelation, or understanding methods that the story can not come to a gratifying end.
There is no lesson learnt, no regret relying on change, we are entrusted to an annoyed pity, for the tragic man does not comprehend himself any better than he did at the beginning of the tale. The 3rd point made by Leavis is that Othello never ever really enjoyed Desdemona. This is a more difficult question to respond to as love can be available in numerous kinds. It is Leavis’s opinion that Othello never ever loved Desdemona as she was just an item of satisfaction; he appreciated her sympathy and selflessness, but never actually loved her as such.
Leavis sights Othello’s speech near completion, where he states “she is gone and I’m abused”. This declaration does demonstrate that Othello seems like he is the victim in the situation, instead of his dead better half. I find that while this examination, in whole is a fairly precise representation of the love in between Desdemona and Othello, I’m not convinced entirely by it. For Othello, love has just can be found in the form of pity, as a moor he has actually constantly be treated severely; it’s nearly reasonable that he error love for appreciation when Desdemona takes care of him.
I think for both of them it may have been love at the start, however as Othello begins to self– destruct with jealousy, the dynamic in between them altered, and he stopped to like her. These are the three opinions displayed by Leavis in his crucial reading of Othello. As an independent audience member, I would agree with all 3 of his points worrying Othello’s failure, awful nature of his story and his non-existent love for Desdemona. These styles are likewise supported by the independent examination done by Andrew Prelusky, demonstrating how “Othello” is indeed a story of “a most regrettable guy”.