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April 3, 1967

Othello: Projection in Art

JAMA. 1967;200(1):39-40. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120140097015

Freud said that artistic accomplishment remained a riddle to him, although it seemed clear that the artist, by transforming his conscious and unconscious fantasies into art, wins the success in the real world that he always longed for.1 Since Freud's time, much has been learned about images, conscience, and projection. Artistic creations (at least one large category of them) are projections of images from within the artist, images which generally represent powerful feelings and which therefore awaken emotional responses in the public. The following is a brief note designed to demonstrate a possible way in which projection may operate in the creation of literary characters and in other arts as well.

The dynamic psychiatrist who sees Shakespeare's Othello and reads this gripping drama realizes that it can be viewed as a study in paranoid jealousy. But his views may not agree with those of some scholars who, although far