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

A tragic play centres on peripeteia. To what extent can Act 3 scene 3 be regarded as the turning point in the play"Othello"?

Extracts from this document...


A tragic play centres on peripeteia. To what extent can Act 3 scene 3 be regarded as the turning point in the play? ?Peripeteia is a sudden reversal of fortune or change in circumstances.[1]? It is a key device used in tragedies to bring to life the catastrophic situation that leads to the destruction of the protagonist. Aristotle said that a peripeteia is: ?a reversal of fortune, involving persons renowned and of superior attainments[2]? Shakespeare?s ?Othello? is a tragedy in which the protagonist falls from a respected General in the Venetian Army with a loving wife, to a jealous and raged monster. Act III sc iii can be widely regarded as the turning point as the audience sees the factors that contribute to Othello?s downfall come together. Firstly the handkerchief is used as a structural device to provide Iago with sufficient evidence to destroy Cassio. Secondly Iago is promoted to Othello?s lieutenant after bonding with him and finally Othello is misled by Iago?s hint-dropping of his wife?s infidelity which provokes his rage. However the change in emotions of Othello and the victimisation of Desdemona are seen as no surprise as they are set up in this way by Shakespeare throughout the play, creating no turning point. It could also be argued that there is no peripeteia as the audience sees Iago?s manipulation unfold throughout the play and thus it could be seen that the tragic outcome is already established. ...read more.


This contributes to ActIII sciii as a turning point as the audience is shown that Othello has a lot of trust in Iago as he asks him to reveal his innerthoughts: ?If thou dost love me, show me thy thoughts[6]? This is an example of Othello?s belief in Iago that is only shown clearly in ActIII sciii, hence contributing to it as a peripeteia. Iago continues to act as a friend to Othello in this scene as he warns him of the dangers of jealousy: ?O beware, my lord, of jealousy: It is the green-eyed monster[7]? He is suggesting that he may be overruled by his own jealousy to make Othello start to panic. He worsens this by using the fact that Othello is an outsider to warn him of Venetian women: ?Let God see the pranks they dare not show their husbands.[8]? Iago?s generalisation of women as all being unfaithful in this quote makes Othello?s mind run wild as he believes that Desdemona will be capable of this deception. These subtle hints create the change in Othello?s feelings he begins the scene as a loving and devoted husband: ?I do love thee; and when I love thee not, chaos is come again[9]? Othello expresses here that he believes in their relationship because everything else in life is of no importance as long as he has Desdemona. ...read more.


The introduction of the ?frowned upon? relationship of Desdemona and Othello is also shown straight away. It seems illogical to pinpoint a specific turning point when it seems the tragic outcome has been established in the anterior time of the play. Moreover, the audience sees Iago?s manipulation continuing to unfold throughout the whole play; so it could be seen that the play has multiple turning points as different events trigger different factors that contribute to the tragic outcome. In conclusion I think it can be widely regarded that ActIII sciii is a turning point of the play as it is where the audience sees the majority of Iago?s manipulation, and his plan falling into place. The changes that we see in the protagonist from the beginning to the end of this scene are evidence of his change in circumstances and fortune as he falls from prosperity. The handkerchief which has been an essential prop throughout the play comes to true purpose in this scene also. However in my opinion, although I can see why ActIII sciii is regarded as a turning point, and in some respects agree, I think that there is in fact no turning point in the play. As an audience we see Iago?s scheming unfold throughout the entire play and therefore are constantly anticipating the tragic outcome which seems to be inevitable from the beginning of the play because it had already been set up by the deceit between Shakespeare?s characters. ...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 Othello 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 Othello essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Explore the ways in which Iago destroys the relationship between Desdemona and Othello

    4 star(s)

    Yet despite him seemingly having been taken in by Iago's lies, Othello is still not absolutely convinced about Desdemona's unfaithfulness. It is possible that Othello finds it hard to comprehend that Desdemona is anything but true. For example he comments that "if she be false, O heaven mocks itself."

  2. Marked by a teacher

    To what extent does Shakespeare present the catastrophe of Othello as inevitable?

    3 star(s)

    shocking as the audience does not have time to digest the events properly. Furthermore, the use of animal imagery may also cause social tensions because of Othello being black; he couldn't really integrate with society properly as he simply wasn't accepted, similarly nor could animals and so this comparison went

  1. Peer reviewed

    To what extent does Iago contribute to the tragedy of Othello?

    4 star(s)

    Iago first seeds the idea of Cassio's impropriety through describing Cassio's exit as 'guilty-like'. Iago's manipulation ranges in magnitude: in Act II, Scene iii, Iago 'cannot think it' Cassio; whereas in Act IV, Scene I, Iago candidly states how Cassio had lain 'with her [or] on her'.

  2. An Exploration of Imagery in Othello

    is unfaithful but his instincts still seem to be telling him that she is pure. In 'Othello', Shakespeare also uses imagery of the sea to convey to the audience the intensity of suffering experienced by the characters in the play.

  1. Othello Act 5 Scene 2

    The audience know that if Othello were to be that reasonable man we met at the beginning of the play, there would have been a very different outcome for both Desdemona and Othello. "I would not have thee linger in thy pain."

  2. In Othello Shakespeare explores the nature of social prejudice How far does your reading ...

    This theme is further embellished by Iago's assertion that if Brabantio does not heed his warning, "[he'll] have [his] daughter covered with a Barbary horse; [he'll] have [his] nephews neigh to [him], [he'll] have coursers for cousins, and jennets for germans [sic]", here Iago is further illustrating the possibility of interbreeding, should he allow their relationship to continue.

  1. Free essay

    To what extent is Iago responsible for the downfall of other characters in Othello?

    He starts by painting a negative picture of Cassio; " a slipper and subtle knave, a finder out of occasions ... a devilish knave" [II i 229-230]. He then goes on to tell Roderigo that Desdemona "hath found him already" [II i 234].

  2. To what extent do you agree that the character Othello is responsible for his ...

    He further isolates Othello by claiming Desdemona was ?abused, stolen from me, and corrupted By spells and medicines?? alluding to the presuppositions held by a 17th-century audience against black people, associating them with witchcraft and demons. The use of external forces working against the tragic hero is more common in

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