The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0148  Tuesday, 23 January 2001

From:           Lucia A. Setari <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 22 Jan 2001 03:32:37 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 12.0129 Re: Female Othello
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0129 Re: Female Othello

The idea of a "female" Othello is really odd.  It has come to haunt a
young actor from Verona, who now seems to be unable to give up it.

As Othello, in spite of the tasks he is entrusted by Venice and of the
general esteem he seems to enjoy, lives a condition of substantial
isolation due to his being from a different, barbaric culture, this
aspect - in my friend's opinion -  could be emphasized  by putting a
female figure in the place of the Moor.  In this way, he thinks, the
dissimulated feeling of creeping suspicion which the foreign general
rises among the sophisticated people of Venice could be showed, as it
were, revived in its most instinctive and physical origin to a
present-day audience.

He thinks that the woman/Othello could be a general in a historically
undetermined period (something like that of Taymor's TITUS, in a way)
where Venice would be the metaphorical expression of the Power.  She
(Othello) loves Desdemona (a girl). Jago does not bear to depend on a
female leader who moreover displaces him in the sexual field. Etc.  This
is what I have understood of his idea.

I simply wished to know if an idea like that also dropped in some other
mind (and your comments).

As to me, I am usually reluctant to appreciate too fantastical
interpretations of Shakespeare's plays.  In this case, I think that (in
addition to the many and strong inconsistencies a production like that
would meet) the audience would be distracted from noticing every other
aspect of the play except the sensational homosexual one (which, by the
way, does not belong to this play).

Not less puzzlingly yours,
Lucia A. Setari

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