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The Improvisation of Power by Stephen Greenblatt Iagos subordination is a kind of protection, for it conceals his power and enables him to play upon the ambivalence of Othellos relation to Christian society .
Iago uses his position as an ensign to conceal his true motive. Power of being able to manipulate and control the situation may seem to be in Othellos hands due to his ranking as a General. However, as someone who holds great power, he is always being watched. For Iago, it is the opposite. He is able to use the excuse of aiding Othello to gain an upper-hand as he can conceal his malicious intention behind the mask of dutiful service.

Desdemonas power
a. Othellos narrative colonized by Desdemona. Throughout his life, Othello has been oppressed, so when Desdemona willingly submits to him, it displaces him. He has created an identity for himself as a slave turned military hero. Her submission threatens his self-control as it awakens a deep current of sexual anxiety in Othello that he cannot speak enough of this content,/It stops me here, it is too much of joy. He is so aroused that he cannot function, and leaves him with a feeling at once of overflowing and inadequacy. Desdemona has once again devoured up his discourse, and she has done so precisely in bringing him comfort and content. Rather than simply confirming male authority, her submission eroticizes everything to which it responds. Married sex = adulterous. (Adam and Eve) b. Desdemonas obedience to her Husband, is disobedience to her Father. Brabantio is the lord of all [her] duty yet she does not seek his permission to marry Othello, undermining Brabantios position as her Father and a Senator. Desdemona does not question the womans obligation to obey, invoking instead only the traditional right to transfer her duty. However, she did not seek his consent in the first place, thus, deviating from the norm. While she willingly marries Othello, it was a decision that SHE chose, an unexpected display of power from a woman.

Self-fashioning is used to describe the process of constructing ones identity and public persona according to a set of socially acceptable standards.
Iago is fully aware of himself as an improviser and revels in his ability to manipulate his victims, to lead them by the nose like asses.
Iagos power lies in the fact he is able to improvise well, but he denies this. Evident when Desdemona asks him to improvise her praise, and he declares himself unfit. He has to hide his superpower so no one knows his secret identity (like Superman, but not). Such is the relation Iago establishes with virtually every character in the play. Othello: Cassio + Desdemona Roderigo: cheats him of his money Cassio: pretends to look out for him


Narrative identity is vulnerable to consumption, refashioning and reinterpretation.

All characters create themselves with stories of their lives. Othello tells Brabantio his life story so that he can win Brabantios pity for himself. Othello is unaware then that by doing this, he becomes a character that anyone can use to turn against him.

He knows that an identity that has been fashioned as a story can be unfashioned, refashioned, inscribed anew in a different narrative.
While the other characters fall prey to their own self-fashioning, Iago manages to avoid it, as he understands the stories other tell themselves. He uses this knowledge to his advantage by making himself transparent in order to displace and absorb others (like a sponge) and becomes a character of his own narrative. Iago has no motives, only stories of motives he tells the audience/other characters. Iagos methods: - telling stories based on comic possibilities i.e gossip - seeing his way into other peoples stories - seeing the way they interpret discourse, and the signals to which they respond and ignore

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