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Othello's Occupation: Shakespeare and the Romance of Chivalry

MARK ROSE
English Literary Renaissance
Vol. 15, No. 3 (AUTUMN 1985), pp. 293-311
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43447163
Page Count: 19
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Othello's Occupation: Shakespeare and the Romance of Chivalry
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Abstract

Othello can be studied in the context of the Elizabethan chivalric revival. In this play Shakespeare recapitulates and alienates his own earlier representations of an absolute world of chivalry. Othello inscribes a transitional moment in which the feudal world is becoming a world of property relations; we can locate Shakespeare's position in relation to this process of cultural transformation by contrasting his treatment of the chivalric theme in Othello and elsewhere with those of Jonson, Beaumont, and Cervantes. But Shakespeare could not distance himself sufficiently from the imaginative claims of the chivalric revival to burlesque it.

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