Othello

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Unit 2

What is your response to the way Othello is presented in this play? What is there to admire, and what are his weaknesses?

In my essay I will start by looking at Othello’s change in fortune throughout the play. I will also look at the language throughout the play while searching for representation of Othello’s characterization. To conclude I will argue that Othello’s behaviour deteriorates as a consequence of his love for Desdemona.

Your initial feelings for Othello in this play are of man strength, honour and power. When he first enters the stage he has an air about him that is brought about by his sheer stature and confident manor. Your first views of Othello do not at all resemble the jealous and possessive demon in which he becomes. In the very first act of the play you can hear Iago and Roderigo commenting in a derogatory manner about “The Moor”(Act 1 s1) referring to Othello. This nickname is believed to have derived either from Arabs of North Africa or specifically of Morocco who migrated to Britain at the 17th century. In the same scene Iago refers to Othello as “the Devil”. To the Elizabethans black was the colour of the devil hence making further reference to Othello’s ethnicity and perhaps racial awareness and racism of the time.

As Iago is speaking to Brabantio about Othello, he uses the term "white ewe" to represent Desdemona, and "black ram" when referring to Othello. By using these terms, it shows that he is trying to give a bad impression of Othello when he is speaking to the royal family in Venice. The general consensus is that “the Moor” is a man of trust and honour. Montano (Act 2 sc 3) refers to Othello as “worthy Othello” and is “hotly called” (Act 1 Sc 2) to the Duke, suggesting his importance in the public affairs of Venice that further cements an image of a trusted and likeable man.

Othello’s weakness become apparent early on in the play when he his called before the Duke and his...
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