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What Do the Opening Scenes of ‘Othello’ and ‘a Streetcar Named Desire’ Achieve?

By gammal93 Mar 18, 2011 600 Words
The opening scene of a play is arguably the most important, for it sets the tone for all that is to follow and creates the proper atmosphere, begins the themes, and draws the audience into the interplay that follows.

Othello is a stage play written by Shakespeare in the 1600s. it was set in Venice as well as Cyprus; Venice being on of the supreme states that attract foreigners. The opening scene in Othello introduces the characters and the situation, evokes the desire on the part of Iago for revenge, and foreshadows much of what is to come.

Similarly, A Streetcar Named Desire is a stage play with elements of tragedy and pathos. It was written by Tennessee Williams in 1947. The action takes place between May and September in a shabby apartment building in the working-class district of New Orleans in the 1940s, shortly after the Second World War.

A Streetcar Named Desire centers on a desolated woman named Blanche DuBois. Reared in Old South aristocratic traditions, she lived elegantly in the family homestead, married a man she adored, and pursued a career as an English teacher. But her life fell apart when she discovered that her husband, Allen Grey, was having a homosexual affair. Disgraced, he killed himself. Blanche sought comfort in the arms of other men, many men. After she had relations with one of her students, a 17-year-old, authorities learned of the encounter and fired her. Meanwhile, relatives died and she could not keep up the family home. Eventually, creditors seized it. The play begins when Blanche arrives in New Orleans to stay with her sister, Stella, and her crude, outspoken husband, Stanley Kowalski. Though scarred by her past, Blanche still tries to lead the life of an elegant lady and does her best, even lying when necessary, to keep up appearances.

Othello begins on a street in Venice, in the midst of an argument between Roderigo and Iago. The rich Roderigo has been paying Iago to help him in his suit to Desdemona, but he has seen no progress, and he has just learned that Desdemona has married Othello, a general whom Iago serves as ensign. Iago reassures Roderigo that he hates Othello. Chief among Iago’s reasons for this hatred is Othello’s recent promotion of Michael Cassio to the post of lieutenant. In spite of Iago’s service in battle and the recommendation of three “great ones” of the city, Othello chose to give the position to a man with no experience leading men in battle. As he waits for an opportunity to further his own self-interest, Iago only pretends to serve Othello.

Stanley from “A Streetcar named desire” plays a similar role to Iago in “Othello”. He appears to be loyal to his friends and passionate to his wife. Stanley possesses an animalistic physical vigor that is evident in his love of work, of fighting, and of sex. But throughout the play Stanley’s true personality becomes apparent. In the end, Stanley’s down-to-earth character proves harmfully crude and brutish. His chief amusements are gambling, bowling, sex, and drinking, and he lacks ideals and imagination. His disturbing, degenerate nature, first hinted at when he beats his wife, is fully evident after he rapes his sister-in-law. Stanley represents the new, heterogeneous America to which Blanche doesn’t belong, because she is a relic from a defunct social hierarchy Iago is possibly the most heinous villain in Shakespeare, Iago is fascinating for his most terrible characteristic: his utter lack of convincing motivation for his actions.

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