English Literature - Othello
How is Othello’s behaviour in Act Two different from his behaviour in Act One? How do you account for this change? What consequences do you think it will have?
In Act One, Othello appeared to be in control of his emotions. When Brabantio confronts Othello, accusing him of stealing and raping his daughter Desdemona by means of witchcraft, Othello is calm and tells his men to stop the fighting. Although he is being accused of kidnapping and raping Desdemona, in which the person who commits the crime would be burnt to death, Othello shows that he is unafraid of danger, ready to risk everything for the woman he loves, and is able to command others despite facing the serious accusation. He is ready to face justice, and convince the Duke of Venice that he has done nothing wrong. This shows that he is brave and confident. When he speaks to the Duke, he speaks in a respectful manner. He also promises not to be distracted by Desdemona if he is allowed to bring her together to Cyprus. His manner and promise appears to us that he is a serious, sensible and rational person.
However, he behaved differently in Act Two, when he arrives in Cyprus. His behaviour is sloppy. For example, he tells the people in Cyprus that, to celebrate the defeat of the Turkish fleet, they can ‘dance’, ‘make bonfires’, and ‘sport’, i.e. to have sex. He tells the people to have party time, giving license for people to behave as they like to. Unlike the serious person he appears to be in Act One, Othello seems to be overjoyed to meet his wife Desdemona in Cyprus safely and the defeat of the Turkish fleet, becoming irrational and insensitive to the people’s fear of another attack. When he comes ashore, meeting his wife, he is overjoyed, forgetting to announce the defeat of the Turkish fleet. He greets his wife, saying ‘O my fair warrior’, and kisses her several times. It appears that he has completely forgotten his promise, not to be distracted by Desdemona, to the...
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