Turning Point in Othello

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Othello - Act III Scene III

Othello by william shakespeare is a tragedy thought to have been written in the 1600s, and is undoubtedly one of shakespeare's most celebrated pieces of work. The play deals with many themes such as jealousy and deception, and good and evil, all of which are centered around the tragic hero O. Throughout the play it has been discovered how Othello,a black man, has overcome the racist views of others living in that time period, and married the beautiful white woman Desdemona, and also risen up in the ranks and been made a captain. Iago, puppet master, jealous of Othello and Desdemona, also of a man called Cassios promotion over him. It is iago who conjures up a plan to deceive, mislead and ultimately destroy O.

Act III Scene III is where Iago's plan really begins. This scene has been known as the “turning point” of the play, or as the “temptation scene”, and could be argued to be the most important scene in the whole play. In it Iago speaks carefully and at length with Othello, and subtly plant the seed of suspicion and jealousy in his mind. It is this seed which brings about the tragic events of the play.

Ironically it is Desdemona’s compassion and innocence which bring about these events as she attempts to have Cassio reinstated to his previous position as Captain. The scene opens with D telling C she will do all she can to influence her husband in reconciling with him.

“Ill intermingle every thing he does
With Cassio’s suit.”

Desdemona shows great determination and a kind heart in fighting for Cassio. Ironically it this kind heartedness that brings about her downfall and her death. It is her persistence that fuels Othello’s jealousy, filling his head with thoughts of her love for Cassio. It is known how strong Othello’s love for D is and that he cares for her more than his own life, however, this then amplifies Othello’s jealousy causing such tragic consequences.

After Desdemona talks with Cassio, Emelia see’s O and I approach. Cassio, feeling uncomfortable since his dispute and demotion by Othello scurries off. iago make most of this not wishing to miss an opportunity to contribute to his plan.

“Ha! I think I like not that.”

Here Iago acts as an honest witness, however he subtly begins to taint Desdemona’s infidelity. By saying this ,he implies that C has some sort of respectful significance, thus planting the seed of suspicion in Othello’s mind.

As the scene progresses, and Othellos curiosity grows, as he see’s nothing amiss, Iago makes a show of not wanting to speak of it or of C. All the while, he insinuates that Cassio wasn’t just leaving, but was “stealing away so guilty like”. These words are the most incriminating thing he could say referring to C. They reintroduce these feeling of suspicion into Othello’s subconscious. His mood of uneasiness and secretness unsettles O, causing him to wonder about his loyalty and honour towards his wife. This is compounded when D enters pleading for C’s old position. As Othello’s suspicion grows so does his patience. He loses his more poetic style of speaking in Iambic pentameter and off hand remarks become more prominent.

After much talk of Cassio, Desdemona exits the scene. It is then that Othello is left alone with Iago. He then chides himself for being irritated with his wife.

“Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul,
But I do love thee! and when I love thee not,
Chaos is come again!”

Despite, showing O’s deep and passionate love for D, with him speaking of how the princibal of human nature would be gone without her there is an element of prophecy present also. Perdition will eventually catch O’s soul, and chaos will consume his life.

As the scene continues, Iago manipulates O even further. He is a skilled liar and manages to present himself still as an entirely innocent character, convincing O of the affair without directly referring to it. he appears to be hesitant and reluctant to tell Othello...
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