Title

“How Dey Goin’ to Kill Othello?!” Key & Peele and Shakespearean Universality

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2-2020

Abstract

Claims for Shakespearean universality often position Shakespeare's works as resonating with all people across all time. But how far can one take such a claim? A 2013 sketch on Comedy Central's Key & Peele, entitled “Othello Tis My Shite!”, uses satire precisely in order to challenge assertions of Shakespearean universality. I argue that the sketch – which follows two Renaissance Moors, Lashawnio and Martinzion, who attend Shakespeare's Othello – suggests that Shakespeare may find the limits of speaking for “all people” when depicting black masculinity. Yet the sketch's twist ending helpfully proposes the transformative potential in Shakespeare for more effective, authentic representation.

Journal Title

Journal of American Studies

Volume

54

Issue

1

First Page

27

Last Page

35

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021875819001981

First Department

English

Acknowledgements

FAR Report 2020

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