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Title: A Comic Vision of 'Othello'
Contributor(s): Kiernander, AR (author)
Publication Date: 2004
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Abstract: For the theater practitioner, the study of genre, simplistically performed, is a two-edged weapon. While it can illuminate and highlight the distinctive features of a given text, giving guidance about those important aspects that need to be foregrounded in performance, it can also limit production decisions. If a play is labeled a comedy, some practitioners reason, then the moments of conflict should not be played too darkly; conversely, high tragedy needs to be played throughout in a sober manner without cheap gags or reference to what Bakhtin's translators refer to as the lower bodily stratum; this is why episodes like the Porter scene in 'Macbeth' have provoked so much comment. But there is another use for this kind of study, particularly useful in thinking about Shakespeare's more serious plays, which have in them far too many odd moments for generic comfort. A study of how genres usually work helps to concentrate attention on those places where they behave strangely, and why. A traditionally reverential approach to tragedies will either try to explain away, or more often simply and silently overlook, any apparent anomalies. Genre study will help focus on these moments not as flaws to be ignored but as features to be exploited in the staging of the plays.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Re-Visions of Shakespeare: Essays in Honor of Robert Ornstein, p. 150-164
Publisher: University of Delaware Press
Place of Publication: London
ISBN: 0874138558
Field of Research (FOR): 200599 Literary Studies not elsewhere classified
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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