Department of English

"Damn'd if he do: Othello and Marriage"

An Odyssey Course event with Professor Eric Mallin

Thu, October 15, 2009 | Thompson Conference Center

6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Othello is black, foreign, probably raised as a Muslim, hyper-articulate, a famed warrior; in other words, he lists as far from an early modern audience's knowledge and experience as dramatic currents allow. But Shakespeare also signals that Othello reaches towards a statistical norm. And what makes him normal, recognizable? He is married. And he loves his wife. But he hates — hates! — his marriage. I shall argue that Othello's specifically religious way of thinking helps to doom his imagined state of wedded bliss, and that the marital institution contains more terrors than any enemy he has faced.

Recommended reading: William Shakespeare, Othello

ERIC S. MALLIN is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Texas, and the author of Inscribing the Time: Shakespeare and the End of Elizabethan England (California) and Godless Shakespeare (Continuum).

For more information on Odyssey courses or to register for a course, please visit the Odyssey website

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