By Sterling Professor of the Humanities Harold Bloom, Neil Heims PH.D.
The interesting new sequence that begun in Fall 2004 with Macbeth, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Henry IV continues... "Negative air of secrecy is a wierd endowment; Iago represents it uniquely in Shakespeare, and so much literary incarnations of it considering that owe a lot to Iago." - Harold Bloom each one version within the Harold Bloom Shakespeare sequence will comprise the complete textual content of the play, with editorial revisions and statement by way of Harold Bloom.
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Extra resources for Othello (Bloom's Shakespeare Through the Ages)
The Subject is more of a piece, and there is indeed something like, there is, as it were, some phantom of a Fable. The Fable is always accounted the Soul of Tragedy. And it is the Fable which is properly the Poets part. Because the other three parts of Tragedy, to wit, the Characters are taken from the Moral Philosopher; the thoughts or sence, from them that teach Rhetorick: And the last part, which is the expression, we learn from the Grammarians. This Fable is drawn from a Novel, compos’d in Italian by Giraldi Cinthio, who also was a Writer of Tragedies.
The last scene of Act IV of Othello offers an apparently tranquil interlude following Desdemona’s public humiliation and preceding her murder. Yet it is not, actually, particularly tranquil in itself. Desdemona cannot keep her head from drooping and from remembering a servant girl from her childhood, a girl who was betrayed by her lover and died of it. She sings “Willow,” the melancholy song of the girl’s betrayal. When she and Emilia discuss the disparity between men and women, Emilia eloquently lists women’s grievances and supports a kind of war between the sexes to assert equality for 36 Othello women.
Of Desdemona he is convinced, This is a subtle whore, A closet lock and key of villanous secrets And yet she’ll kneel and pray; I have seen her do’t. In this way Desdemona is negated, and her good actions are transformed, in his mind, into indications of her falseness. She pleads with him on her knees, but he merely sees her further damning herself with denials. He brands her a whore and, when she pleads she is none, he apologizes by saying he made a mistake when he took her for his wife. When he leaves, he summons Emilia and treats her as a brothel keeper, throwing her some coins.