• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Aristotle described the need for the audience to experience pity and fear while watching a tragedy, explore and analyse the scene of Othello in which your feel these emotions are strong in the audience.

Extracts from this document...


Aristotle described the need for the audience to experience pity and fear while watching a tragedy, explore and analyse the scene of 'Othello' in which your feel these emotions are strong in the audience. Aristotle wrote in 'Poetics' that tragedy should contain '...incidents arousing pity and fear...' and thus prove cathartic for an audience. Ideally catharsis should purge these emotions permitting the audience to have hope for there to be some re-alignment from the tragedy and thus provide a sense of resolution or justice, whereby a lesson is learnt. William Shakespeare (1564-1616) in 'Othello' (1604), explores the key concept of catharsis through the complex character of Othello; our tragic hero. However, Shakespeare ultimately does not let us reach catharsis making 'Othello' more compelling as a tragedy. Though Shakespeare categorically lets the audience feel emotions of pity and fear, particularly in Act Three, Scene Three, of 'Othello' where it becomes clear, that filled with envy, vanity and a desire for revenge, Iago starts the tragedy with his plan to convince Othello of his wife's infidelity. Though courageous and noble, eventually, Othello allows himself to be duped establishing the scene as pivotal, because her we feel strong emotions of pity and fear by seeing Hamartia and the reversal of fortune in action. Iago is the villain of this tragedy possibly the most scandalous ever in Shakespearean history. But without Iago and his vindictive nature there would be no tragedy. ...read more.


Furthermore his insecurities of being not so experienced with women are accurately judged by Iago triggering the audiences emotion of pity for Othello, who is remote of the situation: "In Venice they do let God see the pranks/ They dare not show their husbands..." 11 Iago, here, implies Venetian women have affairs and play tricks thus Desdemona is betraying Othello, her husband. We pity Othello as a character because he does not understand the complexities of life, since he has been shaded away from the 'real world' since a young child. He only understands the language of battle. Othello in turn puts his trust into Iago who he assumes will guide him safely but Iago cleverly manipulates this idea of society, cleverly pushing emotions of pity and fear as the audience and only the audience know who the real Iago is: "I know our county disposition well-"12 Here what Shakespeare really means for Iago to say is, "I know, but you cannot know...". The audience are aware from the very first meeting of Othello that though he his a noble man although of a lowly background, allowing the audience to consider Othello an ordinary man who feels emotions of pleasure and anger. These characteristics contribute to the audience's emotion of fear because it is for sure that Othello will make an absolute approach to the situation and a decisive action upon it: "Within these three days let me hear thee say/ That Cassio's not alive."13 Nevertheless Othello's love for Desdemona is true, so true that it ...read more.


example Cassio is well placed in and out of the scene to push our emotions further, fulfilling the traditions of a Greek tragedy, the tragedy also starts late and then accelerates until the inevitable d�nouement and anagnorisis by Othello, testing the audiences patience. Act Three, Scene Three in 'Othello' has been composed by Shakespeare to reinforce the emotions of pity and fear, by engaging us with the characters and involving us on semi-plots, thus fearing for the targets of the tragedy, Othello and Desdemona. 'Othello' could be defined as a domestic, personal tragedy, where a cycle of emotions are felt enthralling you with emotive feeling therefore affecting us much more than other tragedies. Shakespeare sensibly allows us to feel valuable emotions of pity and fear but ultimately does not reach catharsis. The pity and fear felt by the audience only give tragedy; there is no purpose to the tragedy after Othello and Desdemona die resulting without justice or resolution. Undeniably, Iago gets punished but it is very futile, there is no motivation behind Iago's evilness; just a man's personal vendetta. Therefore the destruction of a loving couple leaves the audience unhappy because by this we learn no lesson and our suspension of disbelief breaks. What could be further acknowledged is that Othello dies a murderer compared to what he might have died as if the play of 'Othello' were to stop at Act One; the transformation has finally poisoned him to the very end of the play further proving as injustice to the traditions of tragedy. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Plays section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Plays essays

  1. How does John Ford make 'Tis Pity She's A Whore dramatic, shocking and entertaining ...

    Drama is also upheld through tension, as deception and dissimulation are common themes. This means many of the characters are two-faced and have many personal agendas of vengeance. Soliloquies by those particular characters such as Vasques will have the audience on the edge of their seat, as they will wish to discover his motives.

  2. Is Hedda Gabler a Tragedy?

    The result of the play, as Aristotle saw it, should bring about discovery and recognition for the character and the audience. But what does Hedda actually achieve by committing suicide? Does she 'learn' or 'discover' anything because of it? Ibsen with diabolical irony arranged a situation which bears close superficial resemblance to the traditional tragic end.

  1. Aristotle wrote in Poetics that tragedy should contain incidents arousing pity and fear and ...

    Or perhaps as an audience we become harsh and forget to realise that Joe Keller is financially comfortable. But beyond this the audience still pity Keller's inertia as he struggles to move on. Similarly Kate Keller cannot move beyond the inertia she is trapped within.

  2. Classical Othello vs Mordern Othello

    There were not much costume changes except twice between the friends and once when they had the street fight. This particular piece of theatrical performance was held at the Lyric Theatre which welcomes people from all ages and race, students had attended, middle age, elders, mixed race and young adults.

  1. Free essay

    Literary development of the legend of Robin Hood

    by their fathers until being married whereby control of her actions and property would pass to her husband. If Marian were portrayed as a 12th century woman in film and television, the female audience would find her totally unbearable and unrealistic.

  2. How does the Director encourage the audience to feel sympathy for Derek and his ...

    Chris' breathing is clearly audible over the babble of Bentley and wail of the sirens down below, heightening the atmosphere yet further. As Craig is confronted by the same detective he jumps out and points his gun, using it in an attempt to scare the police away.

  1. A Midsummer Nights Dream is a play that was written by the most distinguished ...

    " O weary night, O long and tedious night" This is only first sentence of Helena's speech; it has included 'night' 2 times already. I think Shakespeare was trying to remind the audience it is still at nighttime when Helena is performing.

  2. How do one or more of the performers in Othello use their skills to ...

    cheeks, showing he was in denial, we as an audience sympathise with him seeing how caught up in jealously and lies he became, empathising with his helpless situation, as we too cannot in any way help despite knowing all. Then from this sullen face came the true understanding and with

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work