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The Improbability of Othello
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The Improbability of Othello: Rhetorical Anthropology and Shakespearean Selfhood

Joel B. Altman

Abstract

Shakespeare's dramatis personae exist in a world of supposition, struggling to connect knowledge that cannot be had, judgments that must be made, and actions that need to be taken. For them, probability—what they and others might be persuaded to believe—governs human affairs, not certainty. Yet negotiating the space of probability is fraught with difficulty. This book explores the problematics of probability and the psychology of persuasion in Renaissance rhetoric and Shakespeare's theater. Focusing on the Tragedy of Othello, it investigates Shakespeare's representation of the self as a specif ... More

Keywords: Shakespeare, supposition, probability, human affairs, persuasion, Renaissance, self

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2010 Print ISBN-13: 9780226016108
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226016122.001.0001

Authors

Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Joel B. Altman, author

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Contents

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Part I Toward a Rhetorical Genealogy of Othello

Part II The Logic of Renaissance Rhetoric

Part III Willful Words, Christian Anxieties, and Shakespearean Dramaturgy

Part IV Tropings of the Self in Shakespeare's Scripts

Part V Performing the Improbable Other on Shakespeare's Stage

End Matter