Why are Shakespeare’s plays still performing around the world? Why are there modern versions of his plays being made? Why is Shakespeare still relevant in our education today? Good morning year 10 students. I’m sure you ask yourself the same questions, since William Shakespeare was long before your time. Well today, I will answer these questions and by the end of this speech, you will be convinced that the Shakespearean tragedy, Othello, is relevant for a modern audience, like you. Othello is a famous literary work that focuses on jealousy and its affects. The play shows how jealousy can be easily used to gain revenge. Jealousy affects Othello by influencing his ability to see people and their intentions clearly. Jealousy is Othello’s fatal flaw, and the villain in the play, Iago, uses this to his advantage. The tragic hero has many insecurities about himself as he is a black man in a dominant white community. When Othello promotes Michael Cassio to lieutenant, this adds fuel to Iago’s anger as he is already suspicious that Othello has slept with his wife, Emilia. He plays upon Othello’s insecurities to gain his revenge. Iago is the perfect villain as he has no morals and he is pleased with the tragic conclusion of the story. Soon enough, Iago puts his plan into action and cleverly blames Desdemona of having an affair with Cassio. Iago’s quote, ‘as masterly as he: mere prattle without practice is all his soldier ship,’ clearly emphasizes that Iago is very jealous as he claims to be more qualified than Cassio, who lacks Iago’s experience on the battlefield. Jealousy has physical effects on Othello as he starts to have seizures and changes in his language; the tragic hero starts talking like the villain and uses harsh tone in his speech. Iago starts to take notice of all this and warns Othello by using the metaphor ‘tis the green-eyed monster’. When Iago provides the ‘ocular’ proof that Othello asked for, Othello is so consumed with jealousy that he starts to do irrational deeds, he makes a pact with Iago and agrees to kill his own wife. Othello starts using symbolism in his speech such as, ‘ropes, knives, poison, fire’. By referring to the instruments of death, the tragic hero is implying he would prefer to die because his wife has betrayed him, through this we can also see that Iago has succeeded in his plans. Shakespeare is relevant to a modern audience as it can teach students to think things through carefully during rough times and to be alert about their relationships. In the play, Shakespeare has given characters two sides to their personality, often making them act duplicitous. The plot of the play centers around the ability of Iago to mislead other characters into thinking he is honest, irony is presented here as he is the exact opposite. The use of dialogue; ‘I am not what I am,’ tells the audience that Iago is duplicitous, and that not everyone is who they seem. Iago is the classic villain as he only associates people who will be useful in helping him to complete his plans – he manipulates his wife and Roderigo into assisting him with his plans. Iago tends to use contrast in his speech; ‘who can say I’m evil when I advise so free and honestly?’ Dramatic irony is presented through this quote as the audience is quite aware of Iago’s true nature and what his plans are, but the characters in the play do not. The tragic hero, as excepted, is naturally honest and good at heart. When Iago says that Desdemona deceived nature by marrying a black man, Othello is even more suspicious and demands ocular proof. Emilia helps her husband by stealing Desdemona’s handkerchief and Iago then uses this to his advantage by placing the hanky with Michael Cassio. Othello then demands for more proof, and by using his clever skills Iago strikes up a conversation with Cassio, making sure to twist his words in the process. This causes Othello to misinterpret the conversation and mistake the prostitute Bianca for his own wife. Without thinking things through, Othello irrationally kills his wife. In his final speech, Othello asks the other soldiers to remember him as he was and not what he turned into. ‘I took by the throat the circumcised dog, and smote him thus,’ Othello’s true character is shown through this symbolic quote as he has become the Turk who was killed. His suicide can be seen as an act of martyrdom as he killed the only enemy he had left – himself. Through this act, Shakespeare shows how our ‘friends’ can be duplicitous and that there can a risk in accepting people. Shakespeare’s plays are still performing around the world because they are quite popular among teenage audiences. Modern versions are being created so that modern audiences can relate to the language and issues that arise in today’s society.