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Explain how Iago has effected the transformation of Othello from heroic lover to brutal murderer in 3.3. How is Othello's transformation conveyed to the audience?

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Introduction

Explain how Iago has effected the transformation of Othello from heroic lover to brutal murderer in 3.3. How is Othello's transformation conveyed to the audience? In 3.3, we see a dramatic transformation in both Othello and that of the play itself. Though Iago remains the manipulative force in the play, we are instead able to see, in this scene, the full effect that this has on Othello - we witness the dramatic reduction from a heroic lover to brutal murderer, conveyed to the audience through a variety of dramatic techniques. The scene begins with Desdemona comforting Cassio that she shall 'watch [Othello] tame and talk him out of patience; his bed shall seem a school ... intermingle.' Here, Desdemona 'tam[ing]' Othello is reflective of the derogatory, bestial imagery that Othello is initially deemed to be of - 'a black ram tupping your white ewe' - thus giving rise to wild, evocative imagery: Desdemona herself thinks Othello a ...read more.

Middle

Here, he gives rise to a classical allusion: Love was the first of the gods to spring out of original chaos, thus here what resonates is Othello's ultimately preordained journey; love is born out of chaos, and it will return to this state once more, transforming Othello from a romantic lover into the perils of chaos. Iago is able to master his diction to gain control over Othello - he hesitates with 'my noble lord-', with this reluctance to speak teasing Othello to question, to ask, and yet by doing this, Othello is defeated ever further. Their exchanges here are simple, with the stichomythia evoking a tense semantic field. Here, the pace of their speech picks up - embodying the dynamic, constantly evolving environment that Iago 'impregnates1' into Othello, allowing his 'poison' to 'burn' 'with a little art upon [Othello's] blood,' leading ultimately to Othello's transformation. ...read more.

Conclusion

intermingle.' Here, Desdemona 'tam[ing]' Othello is reflective of the derogatory, bestial imagery that Othello is initially deemed to be of - 'a black ram tupping your white ewe' - thus giving rise to wild, evocative imagery: Desdemona herself thinks Othello a 'beast' that needs to be 'tame[d],' with the implication here being one of an intense and turbulent relationship between the two - foreshadowing the theatrical and dramatic turbulence that is to occur. Here, she 'intermingles' politics and war with that of the domestic environment - an environment that Othello cannot fully control - thus she blurs the boundaries between the two, setting up, though quite subtly, the dichotomy between appearance versus reality: this division only echoing the reduction that is to occur in Othello who wrestles with such dichotomies, caught between a world of divided themes. Indeed, by Desdemona setting up this opposition and instability, Othello's transformation is conveyed to the audience as all the more worse - a looming, ominous presence that carries through the play. 1 C. Stephens ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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Response to the question

This essay doesn't engage with the question well. There is no exploration of Shakespeare's construction of Iago to influence Othello's tragedy, which is the first part of the question. I would note that ignoring part of the task is not ...

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Response to the question

This essay doesn't engage with the question well. There is no exploration of Shakespeare's construction of Iago to influence Othello's tragedy, which is the first part of the question. I would note that ignoring part of the task is not advisable, and the short length of the essay reflects this. The second half of the question is responded to better, looking at Othello's transformation. However, if the first part of the question had been addressed, the second part would've been able to draw upon the audience's response to Iago. If I were doing this essay, I would be looking at the audience's hatred for Iago having seen Othello fall from grace.

Level of analysis

The analysis in this essay is weak, and is evident through most of the points simply retelling the plot. For example "Here, she ‘intermingles’ politics and war with that of the domestic environment" adds nothing to the argument in isn't relevant to the question. If I was constructing an argument, I would be analysing Othello's language at the beginning of the play and in Act Three, Scene Three. Then a comparison could be made to show his degradation. I would then be looking at a dramatic technique, such as the soliloquy. Othello doesn't have a soliloquy until the end of the play, suggesting his tragedy and internal conflict has begun. This essay is able to pick up some of Shakespeare's techniques such as "giving rise to wild, evocative imagery" but it isn't analysed. The essay needs to explore the effect on the audience of each of Shakespeare's technique, talking about its dramatic effect. I have a major query with this essay in the way it refers to characters as if they make choices. This isn't a sophisticated style, and you should be referring to Shakespeare's constructs, for example "Shakespeare uses Iago to inflict tragedy on Othello". By doing so, you naturally analyse why Shakespeare chooses such techniques, keeping a close focus on the dramatic effect and the task.

Quality of writing

The essay has a strong introduction, yet it's strange to see most of the points do not continue with the argument set here. I liked how there was clear reference to Iago's influence, and an awareness of the audience witnessing his tragedy. If I were doing this essay, I may have introduced a concept of the audience being powerless in the introduction and explained this throughout. The style is a bit repetitive and can be seen with paragraphs beginning "The scene begins with" on two accounts. The first sentence of a paragraph should be short and concise, conveying a new point to the argument and summarising what you are about to analyse. For example "Shakespeare has Othello's language deteriorate throughout the play to show Iago's influence over him" would be a strong opening sentence. This would allow for a sharp paragraph always staying on focus. Spelling, punctuation and grammar are fine.


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Reviewed by groat 04/03/2012

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