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Title Othello
Originaltitle: Othello
Regie: Dimitri Buchowetzki
Darsteller: Emil Jannings, Werner Krauss, Ica von Lenkeffy
Erscheinungsjahr: 1922
Land: Deutschland
Stichwort: Epilepsie
Release: 17.09.1922

Othello kehrt siegreich nach Venedig zurück. Er macht seinen treuen Gefärhten Cassio zum Leutnant. Jago schört Rache zu nehmen. Otheollo entführt Desdemona und heiratet sie. Die beiden begeben sich nach Zypern. Von Jago manipuliert ermordet Othello Desdemona, die er im Bunde mit Cassius glaubt.

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Othello's Epilepsie
Als Jago gegenüber Othello die Überzeugung ausspricht, Desdemona habe ihn mit Cassio betrogen, bekommt Othello einen epileptischen Anfall. Den hinzukommenden Cassio, dem er anvertraut, Othello habe Epilepsie und auch schon vorher Anfälle gehabt, schickt er weg. Othello sei in diesem Zustand extrem agressiv, teilt er ihm als Begründung mit.
Desdemona scheint Jagos Ansicht zu teilen, wenn sie kurz vor dem Sterben ihrem Mörder zuflüstert:
And yet I fear you; for you're fatal then
When your eyes roll so . . . .
Othello (Act V; 2; 37-38)[5]

“Othello”-Versionen und -Modernisierungen
Auswahl siehe auch Royal Shakespeare Company, http://www.rsc.org.uk/othello/teachers/film.html

1922: Dmitri Buchowetzki
1952: Orson Welles
1955: Sergei Yutkevich
1965: Stuart Burge
1978: Orson Welles, Filming Othello
1981: Franklin Melton
1981: Jonathan Miller
1992: Aida Ziablikova: Othello – The animated tales
1995: Oliver Parker

Moderne Versionen von Othello
A Double Life directed by George Cukor (1947); All Night Long directed by Michael Relph, Basil Deardon (1961); Catch My Soul directed by Patrick McGoohan (1974); O directed by Tim Blake Nelson (2000).

Zur Aufführungsgeschichte:
Othello war anfangs eines der am häufigsten gespielten Stücke Shakespeare's. Im 18. Jahrhundert wurden Teile gestrochen, die seine Epilepsie betrafen:

Although to a lesser extent than Shakespeare's other tragedies, Othello was cut, during the 1700s, to fit the expectations and style of the period. Any speeches that were considered offensive or obscure were cut to leave more time for extravagant spectacles, songs and dances.

Eighteenth-century audiences wanted Othello to fit into the mould of traditional hero. Lines were cut to eliminate the coarser aspects of his character. Othello's discussion with Iago at the beginning of Act 4, concerning whether Desdemona and Cassio could be 'naked in bed... and not mean harm' [4.1.5] was removed. Othello's epileptic fit was also cut, being deemed, apparently, 'absurd' and unacceptable. Another significant omission was Desdemona's Willow Song: lines like 'If I court moe women, you'll couch with moe men' [4.3.54], being considered too unladylike to be sung by a Venetian aristocrat.
David Garrick
Considered the greatest actor of his age, David Garrick (1717-79) reinserted some of Shakespeare's text but his Othello was greeted with little enthusiasm. The actor and critic Charles Macklin (c.1700-97) disliked Garrick's restored text, claiming that he had only bothered with reinsertions such as the epileptic fit to try and prove himself a more versatile actor than James Quin, who was playing the role at the same time:

'When he was studying that Part, he considered that Quin was a large, corpulent man... therefore... could not fall suddenly to the ground... but he, with his insignificant person, could do it… and therefore reintroduced that shameful scene of epilepsy… which should have been exploded with indignation and contempt… for offering such an absurd passage to a thinking and judicious audience.' (Macklin Garrick's Lear and Othello from Memoirs in the Life of Charles Macklin, Esq. By James Thomas Kirkman)

Literatur zu "Epilepsie bei Othello"

John P. Emery, Ph.D.: Othello's Epilepsy, Psychoanalytic Review, 46 D, 1959, 30-32
Summary: The diagnosis of Othello's attack (IV-i. 35-80) as epilepsy which is climaxed by the folio stage direction, “Falls in a Traunce,” has long been accepted, but the significance and the imagery of the seizure have been neglected. It is true that in 1860 a doctor of medicine had objected: “Iago's designation of this [trance] as an epilepsy, of which it is the second fit, appears a mere falsehood.” However, by 1880, medical doctors and others all agreed that Othello has an attack of epilepsy.

Shakespeare scientifically depicts Othello's trance. Its causes are natural and dramatically appropriate. Nineteenth-century members of the medical profession observe that Othello's very intense emotional state leads to his epileptic fit. 13 Contemporary doctors point out that “Emotional disturbances may be at fault” 7 in causing epilepsy and that mental agitation frequently precedes an epileptic seizure. 4 The incoherence of Othello's speech.

Auszug aus: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/410682_4
Fogan[6] in 1989 described some of the features of the seizures Shakespeare describes. Othello has a seizure on stage, preceded by extreme emotional agitation, thus raising the issue of whether emotions can trigger seizures. After this seizure, Iago points out to Cassio that he should leave because, after lethargy and confusion, Othello will act "with savage madness." Finally, Shakespeare portrays Othello killing his wife while in a rage. Even Desdemona supports the idea that he must be in the midst of a seizure when she whispers while being strangled:

And yet I fear you; for you're fatal then
When your eyes roll so . . . .
Othello (Act V; 2; 37-38)[5]

This raises another interesting question: whether a person can commit a crime while having a seizure and, therefore, not be held responsible.

6) Fogan L: The neurology in Shakespeare. Arch Neurol 1989; 46:922-924
Quelle: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/410682_4

The Epilepsy of Othello
Lawson Journal of Mental Science.1880; 26: 1-11


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