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


Extracts from this document...


("THIS IN OURSELVES THAT WE ARE THUS OR THUS") IS THE STORY OF OTHELLO ONE OF TRANSFORMATION OR EXPOSURE? According to Aristotle's views a tragic hero is consistent and therefore should not be subject to sudden change if it does not contribute to the story or if it is not clearly motivated. If Othello is a tragic hero by Aristotle's definition then character must be exposed rather than transformed by Shakespeare. Arguing that the story of Othello is a transformation would contradict Aristotle's belief of consistency. In Act III, scene iii when Othello says 'I'll tear her with all to pieces!" The usage of brutal metaphor, animalistic and hyperbolic language portrays his aggressive character. Furthermore, exclamation underlines the dramatic tone and his seriousness. Through the use of those techniques Shakespeare manifestly exaggerates the brutality of Othello. This gives us the impression of Shakespeare's racism in that the aim of this tragedy might be to convince its audience to have a negative view about the black race. Therefore, the way that Othello humiliates Desdemona through slapping her in front of other characters is inevitable because it is something than Elizabethans would expect. ...read more.


The usage of animalistic imagery and sexually brutal metaphors clearly suggests that Othello does not enjoy positive attitudes and respect from other characters. Secondly, in Act I, scene III Othello is presented as a well-respected man heavily experienced by his previous struggles as he refers to 'disastrous chances', 'moving accidents' and 'hair-breadth scapes'. It is important to point out that Othello tells a synecdoche using exaggerations and personifications such as 'insolent foe' and 'moving accidents by flood and field' to make sure that the listeners fully acknowledged his courage. This technique is common for Greek tragedies such as 'Oedipus Rex' and other Shakespeare's tragedies such as 'Hamlet' to display events that do not happen in the play directly but revealed by particular characters in their speeches or dialogues. This also rapidly changes our view about Othello. His confidence and high rank as well as his previous experiences hardly affect on the fact that we become to see him as an impressive character. Conversely, Othello lacks in confidence and presents insecurity about his race in one of his very first speeches when he clearly undermines his orator skills ('Rude am I in my speech'). ...read more.


Some might believe that people change by the impact of environment or influence of other characters. However, early presented factors such as Othello's insecurity and the issue of black race need to be considered. This creates the dilemma concerning the time of Othello's possible transformation. Indeed, Othello's reaction on Desdemona's apparent affair was suspiciously quick and that exposure builds quickly whereas transformation takes longer. The final piece of evidence that this is a story of exposure is placed in Othello's death speech in act V, scene ii when Othello says 'Of one not easily jealous but, being wrough, perplexed in the extreme'. The dramatic tone of his declamation proves the fact that he feels ashamed of what he has done. Other than that Othello presents himself as a person who has not been previously jealous and someone has turned him to jealousy. Thus he suggests that he sees himself as transformed rather than exposed. However I would argue that this can be seen as an evidence of his exposure as Othello highly regrets his violent behaviour. Furthermore, he commits suicide which simply contradicts the theory of transformation as someone who has been transformed wouldn't regret his actions. Bibliography F.R Leavis `Diabolic Intellect and the Noble Hero(1952), Casebook Series: Shakespeare: Othello(Palgrave: Basingstoke, 1994), ed. John Wain, pp. ...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

    Different Interpretations of Key speeches from Othello and Iago in Act 1, scene 3

    3 star(s)

    He reflects on what Brabantio used to think of him and leans over the table where the senators are to draw them in. Nunn does this again to show the power Othello has. Nunn shows Iago to be overpowering again by giving him a brawn voice.

  2. An Exploration of Imagery in Othello

    This is completely contrasted in the middle of the play, when Othello uses the sea to express his determination to murder Desdemona in the lines: 'Like to the Pontic sea,/Whose icy current and compulsive source/Ne'er feels retiring ebb, but keeps due on' (Act 3, Scene 3, lines 451-453).

  1. Explore the presentation of the relationship between Othello and Iago

    Iago plays on meaningless trivial incidents to rouse Othello's suspicion of Desdemona. It doesn't matter what people actually do, but what others think they have done and this is precisely how Iago traps Othello. Iago's methods when twisting Othello's mind highlights his status in the relationship between the pair.

  2. Explore the presentation of Desdemona in Othello

    During most of Iago's soliloquies he makes reference to something hellish. 'When devils will the blackest sin put on, they do suggest at first with heavenly shows As I do now,' Through theses allusions to evil we are shown Iago is the epitome of evil which we are shown in

  1. How far do we see different attitudes to love presented in Othello?

    Desdemona's love for him is such an essential thing for his respected position as soldier. Ultimately, it is not so much war itself that is gone with the lost of love than its nobility and the honour it brings - "Farewell...all quality, / Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!"

  2. Explore Shakespeare(TM)s presentation of the changes in Othello(TM)s character in the play Othello(TM)

    the best of you shall sink in my rebuke", showing that he's extremely irritated and shocked at the extent of the fight. This line also prepares the audience for the dismissal of Cassio because Othello is clearly unhappy about the situation and wants whomever responsible for the brawl to be sacked.

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

    As an audience, we have seen Iago construct his plan and we now know he?s going to carry it out, but the fact that we are powerless to stop it makes us feel as useless as Othello is to stop the consequences.

  2. Is Othello presented as a tragic hero or as an 'erring barbarian' in the ...

    In addition, Shakespeare uses the confrontation with Brabantio to further suggest that Othello possesses a great deal of arrogance, as he believes he can out-talk Brabantio - the second most important man in Venice. Also, Othello speaks mostly in black verse in this scene, with iambic pentameter giving a military

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