In Othello, Shakespeare Weaves a Tale of Jealousy, Deception and Death. Show How Shakespeare’s Use of Soliloquies Enhances the Dramatic Qualities of the Action as Well as Providing Valuable Revelations and Insights Into One or More of the Charac...

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As with many of William Shakespeare’s various plays, Othello contains many soliloquies that enhance the play, bringing dramatic suspense and action for the audience, whilst at the same time, providing crucial information about the plot of the play and in the direction it is heading in. These soliloquies help the audience to understand that particular character as well as giving an insight to what that character is thinking. Not only do the soliloquies in Othello do that, the soliloquies also happen to provide the audience with a sense of contrast as found in most of Shakespeare’s many plays.

As Othello is written as a play, and not a book, the audience viewing the play may not be able to tell what the characters are feeling inside. To overcome this, Shakespeare has used soliloquies to alert the audience to what the characters are thinking. Iago, for example would appear to be kind and generous on the outside and inside if it weren’t for his soliloquies which reveal his true thoughts. The audience gets a hint, from when he says to Roderigo, “I am not what I am,” (Othello, William Shakespeare Act 1, Scene 1, 66). Iago here is already hinting that “I am not what I seem to be.” Iago's soliloquies feature many times within Othello and they allow the audience to see the true feelings he has for other characters and his motives for his actions in the play. In Othello, the use of soliloquies is an opportunity for the actors in their various roles to explain his/her character’s motives and their way of thinking to the audience. Although many other characters have soliloquies, it is Iago’s that creates the plots and suspenses within the play. His soliloquies are very revealing, and constantly let’s the audience know that he isn’t honest but manipulative and selfish. He is portrayed by every character as being an honest and trustworthy person, “This fellow’s of exceeding honesty and knows all qualities,” (Act 3, Scene 3, 255). Yet, as the audience is well informed by this stage, he appears to be the opposite.

Iago’s constant use of soliloquies reveals to the audience that he has a cunning mind, and he occasionally comments on the action of the play “He takes her by the palm. Ay well said,” (Act 2, Scene 1, 162). His soliloquies reinforce his power, and the influence that he holds over the other characters in the play. Iago’s soliloquies contain a great deal of dramatic irony, increasing the dramatic tension for the audience. It is only Iago who knows the whole truth and everything that is going on, for the first four acts; he is the only character that fully understands the happenings, because it was he who set the events in motion, “How? How? Let’s see. After some time, to abuse Othello’s ear that he (Cassio) is too familiar with his wife,” (Act 1, Scene 3, 388-390). Because of his soliloquies, the audience knows what is happening and going to happen. Iago is the primary source of dramatic irony; he informs the audience of his intentions, but his victims do not yet they know that they are being used by him. This provides the audience with a bond to Iago, it is only they, along with him that know what is truly happening, the insight to the play. The audience becomes uncomfortable with the prospect of knowing more of the current situation than many of the characters themselves, thereby increasing the tension felt. The dramatic action is heightened by the knowledge and insight that the audience has over the characters in the play.

The feeling of jealousy is factor of soliloquies. Iago, because he was overlooked for a promotion, wants to get revenge, against Othello for giving Cassio the promotion the he thought he deserved. His sense of identity is undermined by jealousy and self-dissatisfaction, by a desire to be different from what he is. The audience is able to tell, from Iago’s first soliloquy in Act 1, Scene 3, that he is being motivated by his jealousy and his hatred. He refers to Roderigo as “This do I ever make my...
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