Othello and the end of comedy
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Othello begins at the moment when comedies end, with a happy marriage. It also begins, where The Merchant of Venice and Twelfth Night leave off, with the question of ethnic or social outsiders as the catalysts for the destructive elements within society. It might seem that the terms are reversed, with the dangerous alien now the hero, while the mysterious, incomprehensibly malicious, diabolical villain is the insider. The fact aroused the indignation of Thomas Rymer, who in a notorious attack published in 1693 declared that Othello "impiously assumes the sacred name of tragedy," but was, on the contrary, nothing but "a bloody farce". The essential element of the drama that is omitted is Iago, and one of the most interesting things about Rymer's account of the play is that Iago really does not figure very significantly in it. Rymer ridicules William Shakespeare from the outset for having a black hero.

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