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The play ‘Othello’ is all about passionate change. Othello, a highly respected and an influential Moorish commander in the Vetenian army, he’s a loving and devoted husband. Sadly Othello is persuaded by Iago who plots to destroy him. Othello is told that his wife Desdemona is committing adultery with his friend Cassio. Othello is convinced of by the trick which Iago engineers. Othello’s lack of trust is used by Iago to visualise the image in his language and inflame his insane jealousy to the point where he murders Desdemona.
On discovering her innocence he learns of his terrible mistake and kills himself. There are 3 principle characters, Othello as the significant black character, Iago the stimulant of jealousy who plots on Othello to destroy him and Othello’s wife Desdemona. Intermediate characters are Othello’s former Lieutenant and Roderigo who loves Desdemona and helps Iago. Minor characters are Iago’s wife Emilia, Bianca a housewife and Brabantio father to Desdemona.
Othello was written about 1604 by William Shakespeare.
At the beginning of Act three, scene three Othello is at first a man of calm, a dutiful and loving husband and very brave, manly and highly respected. Othello’s attitude is sophisticated; he seems to be happy, superior and comfortable. Life at the time seems to be relaxing for him as he walks with his head up trusting and loving his wife Desdemona. Loving his wife, he thinks he would never appear as a jealous mankind. I know this because he says:
“Why, why is this? Think’st thou i’d make a life of jealousy, to follow still changes of moon with fresh suspicion.
This tells me about his character that he deprives his arrogance and is affectively backing off from the green-eyed monster. At the start Othello’s language is noble and sophisticated. I know this because he says
“Rude am I in my speech, and little blest with the soft phrase of
This tells me he sees himself as straightforward and is therefore to win the love of Desdemona as a soldier. By the end of Act Three, scene three Othello has steered towards jealousy into Cassio’s relation with Desdemona. He struggles with his conscience, he’s feeling bad beforehand. Othello is getting more curious and mentally confusing. He suggests that Desdemona may well see him as a black man who is getting old and has few of the graces than other men. I know this because he says
“Haply, for I am black, and have not those soft parts of the conversation”
This tells me that his inner thoughts are colliding with each other that makes it very difficult for him to understand what to do in that sort of situation. He’s trying to repress his conscience but it’s catching up rapidly – making him totally mad. He still wants to be manly but Iago has strongly pushed him astray as now Othello seems to be world-weary and tired of existence. He is wavering between suspicion and loyalty as he struggles with himself to determine the truth. This proves to be an important turning point for Othello whose mind is peak condition. He fights with his mind whom to trust. I know this because he also says
“I think my wife be honest, and think she’s not, I think that thou art just, and think thou art not…”
This tells me that he has replaced his existing visualisation of Desdemona and is in a suspicious state although equally it’s telling me about his feelings of vulnerability.
How does Iago affect Othello?
Iago feels green eyed and is ruthlessly boiling with revenge. He feels Othello has wrongly denied him so he wishes to destroy him. He feels he has been passed over for promotion and has not been given the position that should have been his. Time moves on and he seems to take the power of speech upon Othello. He generates a hideous suspicion in Othello and controls the plot. Audience know this because he says
“As where’s that palace, where into foul things sometimes intrude not?
This tells me Iago speaks of how the purest soul may suffer of foul things at times. This echoes what is happening in this scene, where Iago poisons foul thoughts into Othello’s mind. Also in this scene Iago skilfully tries to draw Othello’s attention making him more curious. At the beginning of the scene Iago uses special techniques to get Othello interested. Iago advises Othello to beware of being jealous, thereby cleverly planting the idea of being jealous in his mind. We know Iago is two faced and green-eyed however on the other hand Othello doesn’t have a clue if he’s trustworthy or not. Iago cleverly uses friendship as a cover up to explain what he is saying about Desdemona. When Othello is drawn in Iago is then sarcastic thereupon uses strong vocabulary and language to generate anger in Othello. Othello gets jealous by Iago’s repetition and starts visualising images from Iago’s persuasive language. We then see Iago in control. Iago points out how Desdemona has already deceived her father in marrying him. This is how Othello is taunted and persuaded by Iago I know all this because Iago says
“I speak not yet proof…Look to your wife, observe her well with Cassio”
This tells me that Iago is making it clear to Othello that he has something in his mind about Cassio. This statement makes Othello curious as well as ambitious to know what it is about him. Iago skilfully twists his words so that Desdemona’s adultery appears in Othello’s mind. In the middle of the scene Iago talks about jealousy. This certainly has an affect on Othello as he gets more curious and hungry and also feels uneasy. I know this because Iago says
“Beware, my lord of jealousy! It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on.”
Iago makes sure that his secret is not revealed at the end of the scene, I know this because he says
‘Do not rise yet’ when Othello asks Iago for proof. Othello says ‘Give me a living reason, that she’s disloyal’
This tells me that Iago has not got any proof however he does trick Othello with his cunning brainwork and imagination. Iago’s character is certainly cunning and is as hard as nails. We also see how the language of Iago and Othello changes. Iago is now clearly the master in the relationship and uses Othello.
Shakespeare uses dramatic techniques to show this e.g. Dramatic irony. This is because we know Iago is deceiving Othello, but the character don’t. Shakespeare shows this in a spectacular way as it touches audience by the emotional misbalance that appears on Othello. I know this because Iago says “I am not what I am” This tells me that Othello don’t know what Iago is from inside however he knows what he is from outside.
Iago uses soliloquy in this scene. In a soliloquy once actor speaks to the audience. Shakespeare used the soliloquy to great effect in order to express some of the personal thoughts and emotions of character asides cannot be heard or noticed by the other characters. In this scene, Iago reveals Othello’s weakness in his soliloquy that will bring about his destruction. This was the key to Iago’s success. I know this because he says
“I will in Cassio’s lodging lose his napkins, And let him find it”
This tells me that Iago has identified with the powers of hell at several points in the play.
A Shakespearean audience will sympathise Othello, as they can understand his rage, they’ll also understand that it is wide of the mark for a wife to cheat. In Shakespearean days the punishment for an unfaithful lady would not be far from death. I would obviously sympathise Desdemona as she has been framed and portrayed to sexual commitment by Iago. She also is a very devoted and loving wife who really cares about Othello however sadly we as audience see Othello under Iago’s influence strangling her leading to her death. I think I can understand Othello’s reaction and his anger because Iago appears as an honest and trustworthy person that leaves Othello mentally confused. Anyone in the world would be confused if they’re tricked and persuaded by cunning and raging people. We know in reality Iago is as hard as nails, he’s ruthless and boiling with revenge. Othello’s experience to the world is largely military, he finds himself unable to deal with issues which exist outside the military sphere.
Summing up paragraph one and two – I think Othello changes in a sophisticated way and is also sympathetically drawn. Shakespeare shows this change in a great way as Othello seems to react to things in different ways and is certainly losing his role. He has been trapped at one stage and at other has been destroyed.
I was well convinced by the change of Othello and how Shakespeare created a believable character because it was represented in a realistic way to persuade audience like me. When Othello senses the wronged honoured behaviour by Iago he then realises his mistake. I certainly appreciate the sincerity of Othello, which allowed him to accept full responsibility for what he has done and then to take deliberately take his own life in self-punishment.
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