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

Examine Shakespeare's presentation of the changes of Othello's character in 'Othello'

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Examine Shakespeare's presentation of the changes of Othello's character in 'Othello' Othello is a tragic play based on a foreign yet eloquent man being manipulated into changing his perceptions of others. One of the most noticeable changes in the play is the apparent transformation of Othello's character; from a "noble Moor" to a "blacker devil". Shakespeare presents this change through a number of means, such as how other characters portray him, the words used to describe his character and his actions, and the jealous situations he involves himself in. Othello is absent in the first scene of the play, allowing Shakespeare to present his character through the words of others: specifically Iago and Roderigo. They use racist terms, and mock his military acumen to degrade him, "The Moor...But he, loving his own pride and purposes" They also often refer to him using animalistic terms, such as "old black ram...Barbary horse...devil", presenting a negative view of Othello to the audience. Shakespeare purposely absents Othello from the first scene, to allow a character profile to be immediately conjured into the heads of the audience, thus creating an image of Othello's character, before we meet him, to emphasise how different he appears in person later, and to pave a way for his later acts of violence. ...read more.

Middle

This builds up tension, whilst Othello's gullibility is unraveled through his confusion and naivety, which is presented through his gradual increase in doubtful phrases. Shakespeare uses this idea to show Othello's quick misjudgments in other characters, as well as himself. His perception of other's characters and motives is very poor, and is accentuated by the fact that Shakespeare presents the phrase "Honest Iago" very often, to show his incapability to understand others, which in the end, leads to his unfortunate change to a "blacker devil". He is also inept at analyzing his own character, shown by his numerous doubts of himself throughout the play. Shakespeare slowly builds up Othello's anger throughout the play, until the climax where he is consumed with anger about Desdemona's supposed unfaithful activities. Our perception of his whole character suddenly changes, as his civilized nature is unmasked to reveal a primitive man following basic instincts, "How shall I murder him, Iago?" Shakespeare presents this vast change by changing the language used by Othello, from polite phrases such as "most potent, grave signor" to expletives, such as "Zounds! Devil", and gradually introduces this change as the play progresses. ...read more.

Conclusion

O Desdemona! Desdemona! Dead!" Othello uses hellish language to describe how he now feels, and Shakespeare plays on the terms "devils...roast me in sulphur...blow me about in winds" to suggest that Othello deserved these punishments, had he not realized the wrong he done in killing his wife, whilst Othello wishes these upon himself. This drastic change at the end of the play provides an insight into a new, sorrowful phase that Othello is in. This scene, being very dramatic in events, contrasts the beginning of the play where the Othello is shown as a eloquent, well-mannered man. The similar language used to describe Othello in an animalistic, racist way in Scene 1 is again put to use, but to show his true instinctive nature. Methodically throughout the play, Othello falls victim to many changes. Our perception of a "noble Moor", brilliant army strategist and rational, caring, level headed man is transformed into perceptions of an irrational, unstable, emotionally volatile "blacker devil". These changes occur due to his gullibility and naivety about women, his inability to self-analyse and perceive others' motives, and his vulnerability to Iago's simplistic, yet deceptive manipulation. Through the use of Othello's change in extensive vocabulary and eloquence in speech to basic language presented in a primitive manner, Shakespeare perceives Othello's effortless behaviour to become simplistic, incapable of expression and susceptible to manipulation. ...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 presentation of Iago in Shakespeare's Othello.

    5 star(s)

    This choice of words conjures up images of crawling roots and plants spreading out among the characters of the play. These roots could symbolise the influence of Iago - how he has managed to affect everyone around him. He changes the way others speak - for example, when he talks

  2. Marked by a teacher

    To what extent is language central to the understanding of Othello and Macbeth

    4 star(s)

    and does not rest until Othello has completely destroyed his life. We can monitor the destruction of Othello through his language as he comes to use phrases such as 'whore' (IV ii l.20) and 'lewd minx' (III iii l.476), which he uses to describe Desdemona's pure and saintly character.

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Discuss how Iago manipulates language to achieve his aims

    3 star(s)

    Nevertheless, Iago retains his calrity of thought and responses in a way which leave Othello unable to reply tih anything but 'O montrous! montrous!'. Iago pleads that he does 'not lke the office' and is spurred on helplessly like a beast 'by foolish honesty and love'.

  2. An Exploration of Imagery in Othello

    Another way Shakespeare uses imagery in 'Othello' is to show changes in Othello and Desdemona's relationship. Imagery of the sea is often used to show deep emotions. This recurring imagery expresses different kinds of emotion throughout the play, particularly emotions borne of Othello and Desdemona's relationship.

  1. Free essay

    Do you think this is how Shakespeare wanted to portray or present the character?Samuel ...

    However through Iago's devious plots, as he corrupts Othello, Iago brings out the worst of him by persuading him that Desdemona has committed adultery with his former lieutenant, Cassio. Which leads the 'green eyed monster' (as Iago warns Othello) to influence Othello's actions as we see a brutal, devil crazed

  2. Importance of military in Othello

    Venice was infamous for its courtesans, and Iago easily convinces Othello that Desdemona is no different than the untrustworthy and seductive women of Venice. This knowledge inevitably arises from his career, as soldiers were infamous for womanizing. Another important aspect to a soldier that is important to the tragedy is honour and "reputation, reputation reputation!"

  1. Examine the ways in which Shakespeare presents the changed character of Othello.

    The language Othello uses before his demise is romantic and poetic; "These nine moons wasted." He mainly speaks in blank verse which is commonly used in Tragedy for high status characters, or low status characters when saying something of significance or morality.

  2. Othello and Desdemonas love at the beginning of the play is built on mutual ...

    By this he is suggesting that his marriage to Desdemona is a perversion of nature, and he plays on Othello?s ignorance of life and people (especially in Venice), and on his inability to distinguish between appearance and reality. It is in Act III Scene 3 that Othello begins to show most clearly his Iago-like traits, attitudes and verbal patterns.

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