Discuss the Techniques Used by Shakespeare to Present Othello’s Transformation

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Discuss the Techniques Used by Shakespeare to Present Othello’s Transformation

The transforming of Othello is perhaps one of the most important parts to the play. Shakespeare uses a number of techniques to get across the monumental change in Othello and to dramatically present both the characters and the story.

Perhaps the most climatic of all the approaches is Othello’s given state of mind. To begin with, he is calm, reserved and commanding, knowing what he wants and how he is to get it. Shakespeare consigned Othello short, impressive imperatives like ‘stand there’ to demonstrate his amount of control. Othello continues to use majestic language throughout the beginning of the play: ‘but look’ and ‘keep up’. As most of his orders are realized, again it indicates Othello’s ability to obtain all he desires and his assertive stride.

Othello’s vocalization style immediately evokes a loud and proud man, standing before us with great authority, whilst also holding his own and without revealing his purpose. He says ‘most potent, grave, and reverend signiors’ to display the amount of respect he has for those above him, lavishing them in glorifying adjectives: ‘noble and approved good masters’ and ‘gracious patience’, flattering them to acquire all he wishes. Othello continues to appear humble and reserved, ‘rude am I in my speech... little bless’d with the soft phrase of peace’, when covertly he knows and understands he has an ulterior motive, and understands how to proceed to succeed in this motive. Othello has been given an ability to be sycophantic, in order for those listening to be taken in by his sweet flattery, so he can get in their head, and make them conceive to his demands.

Othello does, after all, still remain with his confident and unflappable manner: ‘I have ta’en away this old man’s daughter’, is just one is the few examples of the audacious and defiant demeanour he pronounces us with. Othello’s character is not distressed when clarifying the obvious, and is not afraid to express it in such a style that could be portrayed as abrupt and ungracious. However, due to the earlier honeying of his words, Othello can get away with saying such things in a comparable scheme. Essentially, he knows what he is doing.

Othello displays an ability to use staggering poetic images: ‘Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them.’ This shows a lyrical side to him and is just another way he expresses his assurance. It is delicate language, and is said in a dignified fashion, flaunting his unobtrusive authority and his dexterity to remain unruffled. Othello could be powerful, persuasive and emphatic, simply by becoming a profitable raconteur, and drawing his listeners into the tale. The story of Othello and Desdemona’s love (act 1, scene 3), was told so one could see how impressive Othello could be; he could stand in front of a court, confidently and surely, divulge an account, and use elaborate images, captivating all around him completely, when the person he is challenging is one of higher authority. To the audience we view him as an intimidating person, making us quiver in our seats and look to him as one that can hold himself no matter what.

Later on, however, Othello changes the manner in which he speaks ‘-- Handkerchief -- confessions’. He changes to prose, signifying numerous things. Perhaps it is announcing to us that he is now a puppet, a minion, rather than a high general; also that he has lost all his earlier fluency and rhythm. His language is broken and erratic, much like the way he is thinking.

When once Othello used the imperatives, by the end of the play, he is succumbing to the orders given by others. ‘Do it not with poison, strangle her’ Iago tells Othello, and Othello is very easily swayed: becoming the passive one. He not only has no control over those around him, but cannot even control his own actions and his own mind.

Previously, Othello could stand in front of the Venetian Court and...
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