Furthermore, how many distinct words has Shakespeare used in the English language? In his complete works, Shakespeare utilized 31,534 unique terms. 14,376 terms appeared only once and 846 were used more than 100 times.
Which monarch briefly restored Catholicism to England during Shakespeare’s lifetime? Edward I remained Protestant throughout his reign, but when Mary I took the throne in 1553, she declared England Catholic again.
Elizabeth came to the throne in 1558 with a realm racked by persecution and devastation, and her first duty as queen was to restore the Anglican Church.
One of the more popular theories is that Othello is based on another work of art. Giraldi Cinthio’s play The Moorish Captain, which was first produced in 1565, serves as a reflection of the Italian work Un Capitano Moro (A Moorish Captain). Both tales focus on sexual betrayal and intense rivalry.
The play Othello, also known as The Moor of Venice, was written by William Shakespeare in 1603. Because of its timeless themes of love and jealousy, tragedy is still relevant today.
Shakespeare adapted the story of Othello from Un Capitano Moro (A Moorish Captain), which was published in 1565. The short tale by Giraldi Cinthio is a part of his Gli Hecatommithi novella collection.
Un Capitano Moro is about adultery and a husband’s revenge, as the title suggests. It’s no surprise that many plays have parallels. Let’s see why so many academics think Cinthio influenced Shakespeare’s tragedy.
According to Charles Lamb, Shakespeare borrowed his tragedy’s plot from an ancient Italian tale written by Girolamo Cinthio. The narrative of Un Capitano Moro displays a wide range of human emotions. Love and admiration turn into hatred and envy. Shakespeare demonstrated similar sentiments in Othello.
What do you think? He may have drawn inspiration from Cinthio. Following the Decameron’s release, Italian novellas about love became extremely popular. The English playwright may have wished to restore the reputation of the Italian novella. The primary characters in Shakespeare’s Othello are:
- Moorish general – Othello.
- Othello’s wife – Desdemona.
- Iago – the main antagonist.
It turns out that Cinthio’s play contains nearly identical characters. The protagonist of Un Capitano Moro is also a Moorish Captain, for example. His wife’s name is Desdemona as well. Ensign deceived the hero after falling in love with his spouse.
Furthermore, the descriptions of Othello’s characters are similar to those in Un Capitano Moro. Desdemona is a beautiful and ethical woman in both plays. She marries a Moorish commander for his bravery and honor.
Shakespeare and Cinthio show the Captain as a courageous leader. In both dramas, there are similar antagonists. Ensign and Iago want to reveal Desdemona as an adulterous wife, while they both experienced rejection from different people.
It’s still reasonable to point out, however, that Shakespeare did not just plagiarize another writer. Instead, he transformed Cinthio’s tragedy into Othello by adapting it. The antagonist in Othecko is more complex and malevolent than Ensign Cinthio. Iago’s motives have nothing to do with his love for Desdemona’s husband, the Captain. He does not respect her moral qualities or the authority of Othello.
Furthermore, the English author adds a political significance and relevance to the narrative. He alludes to the conflict between the Turks and Venetians and appeals to his contemporary audience.
Shakespeare introduced a few new characters to his play. Desdemona’s father Brabantio, for example, as well as Roderigo, who is a secondary opponent. Shakespeare did not just rewrite but also added his own touch and political views to an already existing Italian story.
William Shakespeare was born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, to a prosperous middle-class glove maker. Shakespeare went to grammar school but did not earn a diploma. He married Anne Hathaway, who was twenty years his senior, in 1582 and had three children with her.
He left his family and traveled to London in 1590 to pursue an acting and playwright career. Shakespeare rapidly rose in popularity, eventually becoming the most well-known playwright in England and a shareholder of the Globe Theater.
Shakespeare exhibited his talents as an actor, poet, and playwright in a career that spanned the reigns of Elizabeth I (ruled 1558–1603) and James I (ruled 1603–1625). Shakespeare was a favorite of both monarchs, having been dubbed King’s Men by James. Shakespeare retired to Stratford and died in 1616 at the age of fifty-two.
Shakespeare’s works were considered timeless during his lifetime, with literary luminaries such as Ben Jonson praising them as such after his death. Shakespeare’s work was published and collected in various editions in the century after his death, and by the early eighteenth century, his reputation as the greatest poet who ever wrote in English had become well established.
The unprecedented adulation for his writings prompted many people to want to learn more about Shakespeare’s life, however, the scarcity of biographical data leaves many aspects of it cloudy.
Others have inferred that because of Shakespeare’s modest education and the fact that his works were attributed to someone else, Bacon and Oxford are the most popular choices as authors of his plays. However, many academics dismiss this notion due to the lack of evidence behind it.
In the absence of proof to the contrary, it is reasonable to assume that Shakespeare was the author of all thirty-seven plays and 154 sonnets for which he is credited. The legacy of this body of work is staggering. A number of Shakespeare’s works have transcended even the realm of brilliance, influencing Western literature and culture so significantly that they may be said to have affected its course forever.
The first performance of Othello occurred at the court of King James I on November 1, 1604, during Shakespeare’s great tragic period, which also included the writing Hamlet (1600), King Lear (1604–5), Macbeth (1606), and Antony and Cleopatra (1606–7). The wars between Venice and Turkey that raged in the latter part of the sixteenth century provided a backdrop for Othello.
Cyprus, which serves as the majority of the backdrop, was a Venetian outpost attacked by the Turks in 1570 and taken in 1571. Shakespeare’s knowledge on the Venetian-Turkish conflict most likely comes from Richard Knolles’ The History of the Turks, published in England in September 1603.
The story of Othello is also drawn from a 1565 Italian prose narrative by Giovanni Battista Giraldi Cinzio (usually known as Cinthio), which served as the source for Shakespeare’s play. A Moorish general is fooled into believing his wife has been unfaithful by his ensign in the original tale, which contains little more than the skeleton of Shakespeare’s plot.
In addition to these, Shakespeare added supporting characters such as Roderigo, the wealthy foolish young man, and Brabanzio, Desdemona’s father, who is outraged and grief-stricken.
Shakespeare compressed the events into a few days’ time and placed them against the backdrop of military conflict. And most memorably of all, he transformed the minor antagonist in his ensign into Iago, one of literature’s most compelling villains.
Othello’s race is a more contentious issue. The word Moor now refers to the Islamic Arabs of North Africa who conquered Spain in the eighth century, but it was occasionally used to signify Africans from other areas during this period.
For example, in his A Brief Description of the Whole World of 1599, Thomas Harriot distinguished between “blackish Moors” and “black Negroes.” John Leo’s The History and Description of Africa include the following: “white or tawny Moors” on the Mediterranean coast of Africa from “Negroes or black Moors” to the south.
Descriptions of Othello’s darkness or blackness are made many times in the play, although Shakespeare and other Elizabethans frequently called brunettes or people with darker complexions than average Europeans “black.” The contrast between black and white imagery that runs throughout Othello is quite distinct.
Othello is the most important and heroic character in Shakespeare’s The Moor of Venice, a black man who is also a Christian. Aaron, the villain of Shakespeare’s early play Titus Andronicus, is perhaps the most vividly stereotyped black character of the era.
Aaron, unlike Othello, is lecherous, treacherous, and vicious; his dying words are: “If I ever did one good deed in all my life / I do repent it to my soul” (Titus Andronicus V.iii.188–189).
Iago, on the other hand, depicts Othello as an animalistic, barbarous, and stupid outsider in Othello. Only Iago has an openly stereotypical perspective of Othello, depicting him at the start as an uncivilized, savage beast.