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To what extent does Shakespeare present the catastrophe of Othello as inevitable?

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Introduction

To what extent does Shakespeare present catastrophe of 'Othello' as inevitable? The play 'Othello' has derived from opposites and opposition, and many contradictions contained in the play are embodied in the tragic hero, this basic plot alone could have well been presented as a catastrophe and so it is almost certain that Othello could be seen as inevitable because this plot later on spirals out of control within a short timescale due to the fact that Shakespeare has deliberately compressed the timeframe down which makes the play almost too fast for the audience to take in, which demonstrates the catastrophe of Othello as inevitable because there is no time to think thoroughly and make wise decisions which leads to his own downfall. The concepts from Aristotle are also evident throughout the play because the three main factors present are: the protagonist, who inevitably acts disastrous, the unities, in which the timeframe is tightly packed and limited and the catastrophe, in which the protagonist (Othello) and other main characters die, and so the sense of tragedy is reinforced as the play used all the required elements for a tragic play in Aristotle's view. ...read more.

Middle

Act II is therefore allowing the audience to have their own opinions on the two interpretations which contain distinct contrasting points. Also during this act Shakespeare begins to make the audience foreshadow the inevitability of the catastrophe to come for Othello when Iago involves Roderigo in his plan to discredit Cassio - Shakespeare has deliberately included this part into the play because just as the play starts to slow down he increases the speed again which causes the audience to become anxious as they know something bad will happen soon. However there are some parts of the play which suggest that it was not seen as inevitable because up until Act III, most of Iago's plans did not work against Othello or Desdemona but it did make the audience foreshadow the inevitability to come - which is probably why Iago begins to target different characters such as Cassio which does work as Othello's close friend is manipulated by Iago in Act II Scene 3 - the audience would then begin to see the protagonist's own hamartia which leads to more deaths of characters later on. Act III would consolidate the catastrophe of Othello as inevitable in the audiences mind because eventually Iago convinces Othello that his wife is in love with Cassio which came from a simple mutter from Iago: "Ha, I like not that." ...read more.

Conclusion

The dramatic structure becomes an important role in the play as the outer world becomes insignificant to Othello as he becomes monomaniacal which raises concern within the audience. Furthermore, Shakespeare's usage of blank verse and prose made it flexible for him to achieve specific effects, no matter what pace the play flowed at - this would then become a relatively simple task for him to create a play which would highlight the inevitability of catastrophe. With all the techniques used, an example would be Othello during the beginning scenes speaking of himself in first and third person however after Act III scene 3 onwards, his use of pronouns such as 'we', 'they' and 'I' suggests to the audience his insecurities - Shakespeare has therefore slightly prepared the audience for the catastrophe that's about to hit. Even though there are parts of the scenes that may object to the inevitability, it could be interpreted as being a 'comforting' scene whereby it would cause a shock to the audience as the catastrophe would be starkly contrasted to the 'comfort' scene, I would therefore believe that any scenes that maybe seen as denying the inevitability of catastrophe as a smokescreen for any actual problems arising which leads to a greater ending of a play. ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

*** 3 Stars

This has the potential to be a very good essay. There are some lapses in syntax, and the essay needs to be more logically structured and include topic sentences.
Good inclusion of appropriately selected quotes both from the play and from critics.
Shows knowledge of the play but does not always focus on the obvious areas for investigation.

Marked by teacher Katie Dixon 16/07/2013

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