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The Improbability of OthelloRhetorical Anthropology and Shakespearean Selfhood$
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Joel B. Altman

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780226016108

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226016122.001.0001

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“Were I the Moor, I Would Not Be Iago”: Ligatures of Self and Stranger

“Were I the Moor, I Would Not Be Iago”: Ligatures of Self and Stranger

(p.287) TEN “Were I the Moor, I Would Not Be Iago”: Ligatures of Self and Stranger
The Improbability of Othello

Joel B. Altman

University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses the popular discourse of blackness in late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century England to contextualize the playing of Shakespeare's first Moor, Aaron in Titus Andronicus. It then moves forward in time to the acting of Caliban in The Tempest at the end of Shakespeare's career, with its environing New World discourse, and returns to the middle-period Merchant of Venice and the playing of Shylock within the discursive surround of the Roderigo Lopez trial. Adapting Anthony Pagden's “principle of attachment,” Robert Weimann's Figurenposition, and M. M. Bakhtin's concept of dialogism to the reading of playscripts, the chapter shows how Shakespeare's scripts help the actor negotiate the distance between his English self and his improbable other.

Keywords:   blackness, Titus Andronicus, Tempest, Caliban, New World discourse, Shakespeare, playscripts

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