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Epitomizing Shakespeare in Replication of Marginal Characters ⎯ Shylock, Caliban and Othello

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Author(s): BHASKAR LAMA

Journal: ThirdFront : Journal of Humanities and Social Science
ISSN 2320-9631

Volume: 1;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 17;
Date: 2013;
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Keywords: Shakespeare | Othello | Renaissance | Shylock | Caliban

ABSTRACT
The episodes of the sixteenth century Renaissance period became a watershed in human history. The up-shots from variegated incidents of European countries then, ranging from internal politics to exploration of foreign lands, impacted the contour of the world. Under such political, geographical and economic hurly-burly, Shakespeare demonstrated an impregnable dramaturgical competence thereby sidelining the other existent playwrights of his time. Shakespeare took the onus of projecting plays and characters according to his predilection which was, notwithstanding, constantly monitored by two factors⎯the state gaze and the commercial interest. Under such pressures I believe that Shakespeare’s “agency” of character creation was a sensitive issue as he would be under the direct scrutiny of the laws. In his plays he depicted the marginal characters⎯ Shylock, Caliban and Othello⎯who I believe have been victims of extremely Shakespearean prejudice. Shylock is made a representative figure of usury and money-mindedness; Caliban is portrayed as a typical “malignant” slave, and Othello as a “jealous” moor. My paper makes an attempt to look at the violability that is embedded in these mis/representations and the tampering of facts. The role of power-politics and Shakespeare’s own helplessness to understand the actuality (the inherent condition) of the marginal characters has affected their verisimilitudinous representation. Moreover, Christianity had an upper hand in catapulting itself to the higher rung by demeaning and demonizing others⎯”non-believers” and “pagans.” Therefore the gimmicks of stereotyping, distorting and misrepresenting, consciously or unconsciously, sneaked in Shakespeare’s plays for the public to watch, thereby creating “truths” about “Jews”, and “orients.”
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