Abstract

Shakespeare's Othello enacts a sophisticated dramatization of ventriloquism, the etymological origin of which means "to speak from the abdomen." The play does this at a time before ventriloquism became primarily disenchanted in the popular imagination, several centuries before it became, as it is now, overwhelmingly associated with puppetry. In Othello's time, ventriloquism was still closely associated with the widespread belief in the vexed cultural phenomenon of demonic possession. This article addresses Othello's representation of the contested supernatural status of demonic ventriloquism as set against the skeptical backdrop of civic humanism in Venice.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1522-9270
Print ISSN
0039-3657
Pages
pp. 311-335
Launched on MUSE
2013-06-18
Open Access
No
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