The Semiography of Iago, the Merchant of Venice: Liminality, Abjection, and the Imagery of the Mediterranean in Othello, the Moor of Venice

By Attila Kiss.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper relies on the interpretive methodology of semiography. The findings of iconographic and iconologic research are recontextualized by semiography in the new theoretical framework of the postsemiotics of the subject, and they are analyzed within the semiotic world model of the historically specific social symbolic order, in relation to the status of the sign and the speaking subject. Semiography maps out the ideologically specific semiotic logic that governs the social circulation of symbols and images. The paper investigates the representational logic of liminality and abjection in The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice. It argues that the drama is grounded in a systematic imagery of mercantile transactions and abjection, and it employs the character of Iago as a merchant-like agent who observes the horizon of expectations of the audience and works to sell Othello as a dubious merchandise.

Keywords: Semiotics, Postsemiotics, Semiography, Iconology, Iconography, Early Modern, Postmodern, Shakespearean Drama, English Renaissance Theater, Othello, Iago, Abjection, Liminality

The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp.95-102. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 506.750KB).

Dr. Attila Kiss

Associate Professor, Department Head, Department of English, Faculty of Arts, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary

I am currently associate professor and head of department in the English Department of the University of Szeged. I specialize in theater and drama studies, semiotics and literary theory, and my work mainly focuses on the theories of the early modern and the postmodern drama and theater. I received my PhD in literary history and theory in the University of Szeged in 1997. I had two years of studies in the University of Oregon, I worked as a researcher for one academic year at Indiana University, and I lectured and taught at the University of Hull, Huelva, Seville, Cadíz, Cambridge, Salzburg, Vienna, Indiana.

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