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What’s the Clown Pun in Othello?

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The Clown in Othello plays several roles apart from the one of comic relief. However, one of his memorable lines relates directly to comedy. As the Clown comments on the musicians’ playing manner, he says, “Thereby hangs a tail.” By saying this, the clown compares the music to the sound of flatulence. This weird dissonance brings the audience to the question: ‘What’s the Clown pun in Othello?’

Detailed answer:

The role of the Clown in Othello changes from a rather significant one to that one of comic relief. The pun helps to increase the significance of the clown’s role in Othello. Indeed, as the pun is included in the narrative, the role changes strikingly. At first, the clown is seen as one of the faces in the crowd and a part of the background for the main action. However, as soon as the Clown intervenes with his crude joke, his role shifts toward a more meaningful one, emphasizing the main narrative plot lines.

Besides, the role of the Clown gains an additional nuance. Apart from being used as an element of humor and satire, the wordplay is included in the narrative to help the main characters. Namely, his use of words could be seen as the interpretation of Iago’s actions. Similarly to how the Clown makes Othello misunderstand his words, Iago creates ways for his actions to be misconstrued by Othello. Therefore, the Clown pun in Othello remains an essential part of the plot.

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"What’s the Clown Pun in Othello?" IvyPanda, 24 Nov. 2020, ivypanda.com/q/whats-the-clown-pun-in-othello/.

1. IvyPanda. "What’s the Clown Pun in Othello?" November 24, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/q/whats-the-clown-pun-in-othello/.


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IvyPanda. "What’s the Clown Pun in Othello?" November 24, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/q/whats-the-clown-pun-in-othello/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "What’s the Clown Pun in Othello?" November 24, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/q/whats-the-clown-pun-in-othello/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'What’s the Clown Pun in Othello'. 24 November.

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