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

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Introduction

In act 4 scene 1 we see a marked change in Othello since his suspicions of Desdemona were first aroused. Examine the ways in which Shakespeare presents the changed character of Othello here and elsewhere in the play. To be capable to note a change in the character of Othello we must look at his initial behaviour and how Shakespeare presents his personality. A Shakespearean tragedy consists of a 'hero's' life and their downfall, which will ultimately lead to their death. For a character to become a hero he must be respected and noble, to do this Shakespeare creates scenes to raise Othello's status. We expect to have a great deal of respect for the protagonist. In another of Shakespeare's Tragedies Macbeth, the protagonist's status is raised similarly as they are both powerful generals whose success in battle make them respected by the audience because of their service to their country. This is shown in the first acts of both plays for example, King Duncan exclaims, "For brave Macbeth- well he deserves that name" and Othello is refeared to as "valiant moor" by the Duke. The fact that both of the protagonists are respected by people of a high status in the opening scenes is to create standards which the audience will expect to see throughout the remainder of the play. It is significant that both Macbeth and Othello are soldiers because their pasts are referred to throughout both plays and have shaped who they are, which also contributes to their downfall. ...read more.

Middle

It leads me to believe his actions are lust fuelled. I believe, lovers can forgive and love would not lead to murder, only the emotional passion caused by lust could lead a character to act so recklessly. Lust or love, his feelings towards Desdemona are strong and this leads the way for Othello's jealousy. A.C Bradley says, "Iago does not bring these warnings to a husband who had lived with a wife for months or years." I believe this suggests Iago knew of Othello's lustful feelings towards Desdemona and played on the elopement, when they must not have known each other long, and used it as a weakness. Furthermore, "husband who had lived with a wife for months or years" would have known better and would not have been so easy to believe lies because there would have been love built within these years which I believe Othello and Desdemona lack. A.C Bradley says, "He [Othello] is quite free from introspection, and is not given to reflection. Emotion excites his imagination, but it confuses and dulls his intellect." I agree with this because his emotions have begun to affect his mind. He now considers confrontations and bloodshed where previously he was calm and rational. It can also be said that Othello's constant need for evidence of Desdemona's unfaithfulness suggest that his rationality is attempting to break through his emotional state. ...read more.

Conclusion

Moreover, it could be seen that he is only speaking in verse because he has something of substance to say. Either way Othello regains some status and idiolect. Meanwhile, he is separating himself from this deed his is doing, creating an almost split personality by referring to himself in the third person and as a dog. "The circumcised dog, and smote him thus." This could to draw attention to the previous "valiant moor" and show a clear change in character. "During his soliloquy, Othello constantly repeats "tis the cause" which shows he is thinking somewhat rationally and this could suggest his previous character is breaking through, also he can never bring himself to name this "cause." Ronald Draper, in Unholy alliance: Othello and Iago (1991), argues that "the Iago world of cynicism and sexual depravity has now become the world Othello's imagination inhabits." I believe this is shown by the vulgar and crude language he uses towards women nearer the end of the play. By calling Desdemona a "callet" and Amelia a "bawd" he is almost mimicking Iago's crude mannerisms. Also these women have no reason to be called these names so it is in Othello's "imagination". This shows the dramatic change in Othello's character because in the beginning he and Iago were opposites, and now they have become so similar that Othello lives in Iago's mind frame. The ultimate demise in character for a hero is to become the villain. ...read more.

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