Seeing the Spider: The Jealous Rage of Exchange in The Winter’s Tale and Othello

Innes, Paul (2016) Seeing the Spider: The Jealous Rage of Exchange in The Winter’s Tale and Othello. Anglica. An International Journal of English Studies, 25 (3). pp. 69-80. ISSN 0860-5734

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A venerable critical tradition has long flavoured the reception of Shakespeare’s plays with psychology. Characters are read as real people, and as a consequence, the plays are analysed from the starting point of an individual character’s inward personality. However, this literary reading of the plays fails to take into account not only the performance of character on the Renaissance stage but also the theatrical culture that predetermines forms of characterisation for that audience. The playing of roles within this drama needs to be continually re-investigated, and in the case of The Winter’s Tale and Othello, fully reimagined. The conventional ascription of the plot development entirely to the jealousy of both Leontes and Othello can accordingly be reworked. The modern obsession with psychology obscures a field of semantic forces that goes well beyond the purview of any individual to a social encoding of possible behaviours. This restores multiple potentialities to the plays in performance, freeing them from a narrow insistence that meaning is rooted entirely in the individual. This in turn provides a context for deeper analysis of gender roles and how they intersect with the impetus generated by patriarchal modes of inheritance.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Additional Information: Final Published version reproduced here courtesy of the University of Warsaw
Uncontrolled Keywords: Shakespeare's plays; The Winter's Tale; Othello; characters;gender roles
Related URLs:
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
P Language and Literature > PR English literature > PR401 Modern > PR421 Elizabethan era
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Liberal and Performance Arts > Literary and Critical Studies
Research Priority Areas: Being Human - Past, Present & Future
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2016 11:54
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2018 06:14

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