The Art of Persuasion and Shakespeare’s Two Iagos

The Art of Persuasion and Shakespeare’s Two Iagos Abstract: Shakespeare’s plays exhibit a sustained interest in rhetoric and in epistemology. Critics have been attracted to Othello in their attempts to understand Shakespeare’s view both of the nature of rhetoric and of the ability of human agents to penetrate beneath false appearances so as to acquire authentic knowledge. This article proposes that our understanding of Shakespeare’s view of rhetoric and of epistemology can be deepened by reading Othello with Cymbeline . While Shakespeare shows the real power of sophistry and concealment in the character of Iago, whose façade is impenetrable and whose words are persuasive, Imogen’s ability to discern the evil intentions of the honey-tongued Iachimo and to forestall tragedy with her own ethical, skilled speech enlarges our understanding of Shakespeare’s conception of rhetoric and epistemology and challenges interpretations in which it is proposed that he has a cynical view of rhetoric and a skeptical epistemology. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Studies in Philology University of North Carolina Press

The Art of Persuasion and Shakespeare’s Two Iagos

Studies in Philology, Volume 111 (1) – Jan 17, 2014

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 The University of North Carolina Press.
ISSN
1543-0383
Publisher site
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Abstract

Abstract: Shakespeare’s plays exhibit a sustained interest in rhetoric and in epistemology. Critics have been attracted to Othello in their attempts to understand Shakespeare’s view both of the nature of rhetoric and of the ability of human agents to penetrate beneath false appearances so as to acquire authentic knowledge. This article proposes that our understanding of Shakespeare’s view of rhetoric and of epistemology can be deepened by reading Othello with Cymbeline . While Shakespeare shows the real power of sophistry and concealment in the character of Iago, whose façade is impenetrable and whose words are persuasive, Imogen’s ability to discern the evil intentions of the honey-tongued Iachimo and to forestall tragedy with her own ethical, skilled speech enlarges our understanding of Shakespeare’s conception of rhetoric and epistemology and challenges interpretations in which it is proposed that he has a cynical view of rhetoric and a skeptical epistemology.

Journal

Studies in PhilologyUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Jan 17, 2014

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