Othello – William Shakespeare
Othello is a Shakespearean tragedy;
* It concerns the fortunes of one person – the hero.
* The hero is of high birth and position.
* He has many good qualities.
* He has a great weakness in his character.
* This flaw is played on by circumstance.
* This flaw causes suffering and misfortune to innocent people. * These events horrify and fascinate the audience.
* These events lead to the hero’s death.
* Audience feels pity, fear and a sense of wastage at the end.
Act Scene 1
* Shakespeare opens the play stirring curiosity in the reader as he introduces the play in mid conversation. * We are in wonder of who Iago hates.
* “Mere prattle without practise is all his soldiership.” - Iago feels it is unfair that Cassio has been promoted as he hasn’t been to war yet and has no experience of the battlefield. * “A fellow almost damned in a fair wife.” - Iago feels hatred, cheated and social snobbery. To start the reader can see Iago’s point of view. * The Moor is black, so immediately we know Othello’s different. * “I follow him to serve my turn upon him.” – Iago wants his own back on Othello. * “Whip me such honest knaves.” When we first see Iago we get the impression he is honest but in fact he is far from this. * “I am not what I am.”
* Roderigo is racist towards Othello – “thick lips.”, an abusive term for a black man. * We see Iago is deceitful but Roderigo is a racist.
* Roderigo is a fool as he believes Iago is doing what he is paid to do. (He’s madly in love with Desdemona.) * “Even now, very now, an old black ram is tupping your white ewe.” – Iago wants to put the foulest spin on this love affair, comparing them to animals and taking all love away from this act. He tries to educe panic in Brabantio. * Here we find out that Roderigo has previously wanted to marry Brabantio’s daughter and he tells him again to leave as he is drunk and is trying to seek revenge because of this. * “Though I do hate him as I do hell pains.” – Here we see Iago’s true bitter feelings towards Othello.
Act one Scene two.
* Here we see Iago’s two-faced approach, trying to panic Othello. He blames Roderigo for spreading rumours about Othello and says his behaviour was so foul that he could barely restrain himself from killing him. – “I did full hard forbear him.” * In Othello’s response we see he is calm, confident and not boastful – The opposite of how he was previously described. * “Let him do his spite.” We also find out he is from royal decent – “I fetch my life and being From men of royal siege.” * Iago tells Othello to hide but he tells him solemnly no, he is self-possessed and confident. He knows he has done nothing wrong – “But that I love the gentle Desdemona.” * “Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them.” – The soldiers swords are still shiny as they have never been used. Act one Scene three
Act two Scene one
* Set in Cyprus.
* “With as little a web as this will I ensnare as great a fly as Cassio.” * “But I’ll set down the pegs that make this music, As honest as I am.” * When Othello and Desdemona are re-united it is emphasised how in love they are, this also highlights to us how difficult Iago’s plan is going to be to fulfil. * Iago says to Roderigo that Othello’s stories will not keep Desdemona occupied for long. He is not good looking and he is of a different social status to Desdemona and because of this she will get bored easily. * Iago goes on to say that Desdemona is actually in love with Cassio and that they are much better suited. * Despite Iago’s persuasion Roderigo cannot believe this as he believes Desdemona is too good natured – “I cannot believe that in her; she’s full of most blessed condition.” * Iago has a plan to get rid of Cassio; he tells Roderigo to anger Cassio in order to get him fired as people will realise how much of a loose-cannon he...
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