The play Othello by William Shakespeare, the book A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess and the visual representation enrich understanding of the concept of the outsider through their use of both visual and literary techniques to depict outcast characters. The book A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess enriches and explores the concept of the outsider through its use of first person narrative, motifs and rhetorical question and enriches our study of the outsider through its portrayal of Alex, the protagonist, as an outsider.
“So I waited and, O my brothers, I got a lot better munching away at eggiwegs” A Clockwork Orange is written entirely in first person narrative, effectively making readers sympathetic towards Alex’s character and by repeatedly addressing the audience as “O, my brothers” as shown in the above quote, we are implicated in the actions taken by Alex. But in addressing the audience Alex separates himself from the action in the novel and presents himself as an outsider. Nadsat is a form of slang, a motif in this novel, created by Burgess solely for the novel.
The effect of its use is a disjointed one, readers begin the novel feeling disoriented and confused. In turn, this alienates the audience. However as we begin to understand the language, it becomes a distinctive trademark of Alex, and thus estranges him from everyone else in the novel, as we begin to associate its use solely with him. “Like some bolshy gigantic like chelloveck, like old Bog Himself (by courtesy of Korova Milkbar) turning and turning and turning a vonny grahzny orange in his gigantic rookers” This quote is taken from the end of the novel.
The use of nadsat at the end of the novel, when it has been discovered that his fellow droogs no longer use it, further alienates Alex. “What does God want? Does God want goodness or the choice of goodness? Is a man who chooses the bad perhaps in some way better than a man who has the good imposed upon him? ” In this quote, Burgess uses rhetorical question to make the audience think about the reconditioning that Alex has been subjected to and how, because his ability to make choices has been taken away from him, his actions become meaningless.
Forcing the audience to consider this highlights Alex’s outsider status. Using these literary techniques, Burgess establishes Alex as an outcast which in turn enriches our understanding of the outsider as in this novel we are able to explore the characterisation and actions of an estranged character. William Shakespeare’s Othello makes use of repetition, soliloquies and juxtaposition to depict Othello and Iago as outsiders, consequently enriching our study of the concept of the outsider.
The repetition of racial epithets throughout the play cement Othello’s outsider status. Examples include: “a Barbary horse” and “an old black ram” The animalistic nature of these insults are a reflection of the racist attitudes that were commonplace in the society Shakespeare has created. Additionally, use of these epithets throughout the play continually degrade Othello and highlight his outcast status. Shakespeare uses soliloquies throughout Othello to reveal Iago’s plan.
However, the use of soliloquy by Iago as a means to communicate with the audience casts him as an outsider as he connects more with the audience rather than his fellow characters, effectively ostracising himself. An example of this can be seen in Iago’s soliloquy in Act 2, Scene III: “And what’s he then that says I play the villain? When this advice is free I give and honest… … And out of her own goodness make the net That shall enmesh them all. ” It is soliloquies like these, wherein Iago explains his actions, which also assist in estranging him from the audience, as the reader is never given a otive for Iago’s action – only what they entail. Shakespeare also makes use of juxtaposition to illustrate Othello’s alienation from society. In the quote: To fall in love with what she feared to look on? Shakespeare juxtaposes the ideas of love and fear to describe Brabantio’s disbelief that his daughter, Desdemona, would marry a man like Othello. It highlights the racist attitudes of the Venetian society Shakespeare re-creates in his play, and emphasises Othello’s outsider status.
Shakespeare’s use of a variety of literary techniques to portray estranged characters enriches our study of the outsider as we are able to study and analyse these characters and therefore understand the nature of the outsider. The visual representation uses visual techniques such as: gaze, motif, colour and tone and texture to depict the outsider. The use of direct gaze forces a connection between both the character and the viewer, influencing the viewer. The use of colour, or lack thereof, places emphasis on the window frame – hinting that the frame itself has a deeper meaning.
The framing itself becomes a motif, as it is a depiction of how the way an alienated persona sees the outside world in the exact same way, no matter whether or not the person and surroundings change. In the visual representation, the use of colour on the framing only emphasises this feature giving it salience and it points out the fact that the framing is the only element that is repeated.. Additionally, the variety in tone and texture has a confusing and chaotic effect, reflecting the nature of the outsider.
The visual produced, together with the original image, enriches study of the outsider as it passes comment (the nature of the outsider is perplexing and chaotic, yet is relatively the same no matter who is outcast) on the nature of the outsider, thus we develop a deeper understanding of this concept. The play Othello, the book A Clockwork Orange and the visual representation make use of both visual and literary technique to enrich the study of the outsider. The use of these techniques assist in the exploration of characters that have been alienated, hence we are able to learn more about the concept of the outsider.
Courtney from Study Moose
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