Miss Helen Caldwell, who in 1953 produced a very readable translation of Machado de Assis’ masterpiece, Dom Casmurro, grapples in this study with the problems of the novel’s structure and meaning. Unlike most readers of Machado, Miss Caldwell holds that the author deliberately left unresolved the central issue of this Brazilian drama of adultery—the guilt or innocence of the heroine, Capitú. Pursuing reasons for this intentional ambiguity, Miss Caldwell undertakes a profound analysis of all aspects of the novel, including, for example, the complex interaction of the characters, their relation to Machado’s view of existence, the various levels of symbolic meaning, and the originality of Machado’s handling of the Othello theme. Miss Caldwell may not succeed in convincing everyone that Machado’s ambiguity, in contrast to Shakespeare’s clarity, is the essential element in Dom Casmurro, but the insights she provides into Machado de Assis the artist, in support of her argument, cannot fail to add to his growing reputation in the United States.
Book Review| February 01 1962
The Brazilian Othello of Machado de Assis. A Study of Dorn Casmurro
The Brazilian Othello of Machado de Assis. A Study of Dorn Casmurro. By Caldwell, Helen.
University of California Press. . Pp.
Hispanic American Historical Review (1962) 42 (1): 125.
Daniel Wogan; The Brazilian Othello of Machado de Assis. A Study of Dorn Casmurro. Hispanic American Historical Review 1 February 1962; 42 (1): 125. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182168-42.1.125
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