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

Joel B. Altman

in The Improbability of Othello

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780226016108
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226016122 | DOI:
“Were I the Moor, I Would Not Be Iago”: Ligatures of Self and Stranger

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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

Chapter.  13091 words. 

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism

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