Othello Act 3

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F663 Exemplar Answers with Commentaries June 2010
Introduction OCR has reproduced these exemplar candidate answers from the June 2010 series to support teachers in interpreting the assessment criteria for the GCE English Literature specifications. These exemplars should be read in conjunction with the past paper/mark scheme and Principal Examiner’s Report for unit F663 from the June 2010 exam series, also available on the OCR website. This content has been selected by senior OCR examiners, to illustrate how the June 2010 assessment questions were answered and provide some commentary on what factors contributed to an overall grading. The exemplar candidate answers are intended to demonstrate a range of responses, supported by examiner commentary and conclusions. While the exemplars are intended to be useful in interpreting the new specification’s Assessment Objectives, they should in no way be regarded as definitive answers. As grade boundaries are subject to change from series to series, although these responses indicate the grades received in the June 2010 series, the marks and bands are a more definitive indication of the level of each response. Please note that this resource is provided for advice and guidance only and does not in any way constitute an indication of grade boundaries or endorsed answers.

F663 Exemplars June 2010

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OTHELLO/RAPE OF THE LOCK/SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL SCRIPT

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(b) ‘Othello is a play about the desperate need for certainty.’ By considering the action and effects of the play, evaluate this view.

Well developed and consistently detailed discussion of effects; remarkably sustained substance and subtlety in the use of AO2 OVERALL SCRIPT Band 6 58 Marks Grade A(*)

Othello, one of Shakespeare’s four ‘great tragedies’, is a text with many applicable themes: oppression of race, subjection of the female to male domination, and the disastrous consequences of jealousy. What is unique about the characters’ ‘need for certainty’ in Othello is that all of the characters’ eventual downfalls are caused, implicitly or explicitly, by this reason. Shakespeare’s tragedies are designed to make audiences consider their own motives and ideologies; in this essay I will discuss how the characters constantly struggle with certainty. The audience, already subject to the cleverness of Iago’s report to Brabantio (in a devilish sense), have built up a mental image of Othello’s character as “a lascivious moor” (Roderigo, act 1 Scene 1), as a gross, exuberant and wholly unlikeable villain. When Othello is introduced in Act ,1, Scene 2, he talks poetically and with surity, such as stating “put up your bright swords, or the dew will rust them” (Othello, Act 1, Scene 2). Othello also informs Iago that his ‘words will out-tongue’ his accusations. In comparison to the mental image of Othello that we had imagined, the audience already feels unsure about the villain, Iago. Since Othello is a performance piece, the unanimous audience positioning with Iago’s view shifting to ‘the truth’ establishes a lack of certainty of the characters involved. Also, as Brabantio does, it is easy to blame someone or something you did not witness when your reputation is at stake. Brabantio mentions, ‘this is Venice – my house is not a grange’, and ‘fathers, from hence trust not your daughters’ minds.’ (Act 1, Scene1) Othello’s role in Venetian society is that of a soldier, due to the society of feudalism which gave power to the rank of military status. Othello is wellrespected, and eager to keep his reputation, which becomes difficult when his public and private roles begin to meld together. Theorist A. C. Bradley describes the man Othello as "Shakespeare's most romantic tragic figure", and that "if such a passion as jealousy seizes him it will swell into a nigh-uncontrollable flood". Bradley also discusses 'Othello's psyche' as answering any situation with 'one lightning stroke'.

AO1 Clear establishing paragraph...
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