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Othello Coursework

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Introduction

Samuel Taylor Coleridge once wrote that Iago's soliloquies are the "motive - hunting of motiveless malignity." Do you think this is how Shakespeare wanted to portray or present Iago's character? Shakespeare's most controversial and intriguing tragedy was written in 1603 and named Othello. It is a cruel and malicious play with a limited supply of humour and wit present. The play is very precise and clear-cut yet it has elements of anticipation and excitement. It mainly focuses on domestic issues and exercises the audience's judgment by using the signified / signifier throughout the script. Critics such as Bradley have said in the past that "Othello is one of the most painfully exiting and the most terrible tragedy written by W. Shakespeare." This reinforces the audience's judgement after they familiarise with the play. By writing Othello, Shakespeare may have intended to shock and captivate his audience's attention with a play that is undemanding yet gripping. Shakespeare does not introduce any sub-plots in the play and keeps it at consistent scenery. This contrasts with the characters who change their personality traits repetitively. Desdemona contradicts the typical stereotypical role of a woman in the Elizabethan times as they were expected to be timid, well spoken and never defy or dispute their father's or husband's judgements. ...read more.

Middle

this shows the true extend of his resentment toward the 'higher class' population in the Elizabethan times. His manners and class is further belittled when Cassio says to Iago - "Let it not gall your patience, good Iago, That I extend my manners. 'tis part of my breeding that gives me this bald show of courtesy." This infuriates Iago furthermore and adds to his desire to cause the ruin of everyone's future ambitions and aspirations. Iago is seen as an incredibly intelligent persona due to his calculating techniques in obtaining what he needs in his life. Harold Goddard criticises Iago's intelligence by saying: - "Iago excels in short term tactics but not in long term strategy." His opinion may have been concluded from the fact that Iago underestimated his own wife. Her ability to draw light to all of Iago's dishonesty "A lie, an odious, a damned lie" takes Iago by surprise as the thought has never occurred to him in his plans. This can be due to Iago never fully understanding the values that are cherished by other human beings. Loyalty, love, friendship and guilt are all emotions that make us human. ...read more.

Conclusion

Controversially to Iago, Othello has a varied emotional range and is able to connect to other characters as he is more emotionally available than Iago. Nevertheless, what binds Othello and Iago together mostly during the play is the incredible necessity to be accepted in their society as equals. Shakespeare's Othello is written in an attempt to demonstrate the varied split personalities that are present in different characters. He also corrupts the signified and signifier theory and explores the effects it can cause within a play. Shakespeare's attempt at producing an original play which was able to capture his audience's attention is classed as successful with many critics. The continual rejection of the characters natural stereotypical roles leads to a tragic climax at the foundation of the play. Many characters try to over-compensate with some character traits in order to nullify the characteristics they lack in. Othello is the main character who continually tries to over-compensate with his beautiful language in order to abolish the fact that he is of black race and therefore of lower intelligence in his stereotypical role. Shakespeare uses very perplex and violent language at times to illustrate the intensity of the play. He aims to astonish his audience and present them with a mesmerizing and fascinating story-line. His aim has been accomplished with the fascinating story of Othello and his tragic life narrative. ...read more.

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