Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3
  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Document length: 1894 words

A Critical appreciation of Othello Act 1 Scene 1 line 41 - line 82, commenting upon Shakespeare's portrayal of his characters

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

A Critical appreciation of Othello Act 1 Scene 1 line 41 - line 82, commenting upon Shakespeare's portrayal of his characters The passage, act 1 scene 1, lines 41 to 82, open with a long speech from Iago. Already, from the onset we see that he feels it is wrong to follow his master ' the Moor', demonstrated by the answer he gives to Roderigo's statement of: "I would not follow him then" - line 40, with, "O sir, content you." - line 41 It is as if it were a discontenting thought to think that Iago actually really wanted to follow his master of his own accord. Iago expands on his opening statement, informing us that he is only following Othello for his own benefit, and informs us on his view of there being two types of knaves. The first, follows his master to help his master, works hard and is humble and actually enjoys his devoted service to his master; 'Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave, That doting on his own obsequious bondage' line 45-46 But for all their hard work Iago feels that they get nothing back in return and in addition will be looked down upon and be seen in the same category as the 'master's ass', as they only receive food and lodging ('for nought but provender'), in return for years of dedicated service only to be dismissed without a second thought.

Middle

It seems that Iago sees himself and Othello as opposites and therefore Othello will never be able to understand Iago, and therefore can not understand his deceitfulness and plotting against his 'friends' and Iago will never be able to comprehend Othello's love for Desdemona as a thing of beauty and purity. Thus Iago can only make the tragedy happen by manipulating what is good and sowing the seeds of doubt. Iago comments that he is not seeking 'love and duty' and so we start to wonder at how Iago will ' thrive by them' from his 'peculiar end.' This last statement suggests that nobody will understand Iago's motives or the passion which drives his actions because even Iago refers to his end as 'peculiar' and therefore as people will not be able to see it from Iago's point of view they will wrongly assume that he is a psychopath or mental. The lines: '...not for love and duty, But seeming so for my peculiar end' create dramatic tension and suspense, making the audience wonder what Iago could possibly have in store for them. Therefore, Shakespeare has written this line deliberately ambiguous to arouse curiosity in the viewers. Ironically, line 60 includes: 'Heaven is my judge' this is the same heaven that does not intervene in any of the unfolding tragedy even though Cassio, Desdemona, Othello and even Emilia call to heaven for blessings and protection.

Conclusion

In Iago's soliloquy-like speech (lines 41- 66) poetic images and long words do not slow the quick movement, like the agile darting of Iago's mind constantly on the look out for new niches to get in and use to his advantage. The light punctuation helps keep the fasted paced childlike enthusiasm. Iago's speeches are full of ambiguous and mysterious phrases, these highlight his double character that is in fact a paradox in itself and often seem to present two conflicting and antagonist characters, even though they are both represented through Iago. There seems to be no fixed sentence length with many varied disjointed phrases helping make up Iago's speech and present his rush of ideas and force of feeling. This passage is really a platform for the 'plotter' Iago, to reveal his true feelings on his relationship with Othello and how he intends to use his service to Othello and the social role he is expected to play as a base for his deceit and ruin of other characters. Therefore dramatically this is an intimate scene between the audience and Iago (with Rodrigo, as merely an excuse for Iago to speak) where they are invited to see events and situations from Iago's point of view. This low-key plotting and the later loud disruption caused by Iago to wake Brabantio, is further indication of how quickly and easily i.e. how flexible, Iago can be to change to suit the situation to deceive characters, manipulate trust and ultimately cause a tragedy through his consuming hatred for seemingly all things good and beautiful. By: Chee For: Mr Mango

The above preview is unformatted text

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • Over 150,000 essays available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Over 180,000 student essays
  • Every subject and level covered
  • Thousands of essays marked by teachers

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Othello essays

  1. How does the presentation of Iago in Act1 sn1 lines 41-66 and Act1 sn3 ...

    However, he also wishes to break the bond between Othello and Desdemona. As well as revealing his character to the audience, these two quotations foreshadow and prime the audience for a tragic ending, one in which Iago will turn upon Othello, a noble and trusting character.

  2. An analytical commentary on Othello; Act 1 Scene 1 Lines 42-66 [I i 42-66]

    knows this. Yet, in this particular diatribe Iago speaks with such rancour not to confess his knavery but to incite and encourage Roderigo's grudge against Othello; it is, in a sense, his first act of duplicity. Most pressingly of course, Iago is quite explicit regarding his intention to 'serve [his]

  1. How does Shakespeare make Act 5 Scene 2 Dramatic?

    his life is no longer worth living as he says "for in my sense, 'tis happiness to die". This shows to me that Othello knows what he has done and the irony hits him hard as it was his best friend, Iago, who has betrayed him in the worst possible

  2. On line 90, Othello says "Perdition catch me soul that I do love thee". ...

    While Iago echoes the question, he does not repeat it in its entirety, instead he focuses on words indicative of the crucial elements of his success, "honest" and "think". Reptition of crucial words and phrases is used later on in the scene, suggesting to Othello that he is trying to convince himself that Cassio is honest.

  1. How does Shakespeare create the character of 'Othello' in Act 1 and how is ...

    In response to this, Roderigo expresses his loathing of Othello, stating: Roderigo: "By heaven, I would rather have been his hangman". (Act 1, scene 1 line 34) This proves to the audience Roderigo's hatered for Othello. Iago and Roderigo are not loyal and do not want to serve under Othello.

  2. How is Act 1 Scene 1 an effective opening to Othello?

    'His' and 'the' create derogatory indifference to who he is, and 'Moor' describes African tribe races who would be dark skinned, its reference to the theme of appearance and reality would make the Jacobean audience very suspicious as who would be acting Othello's coloured role.

  1. Othello - What might the thoughts and feeling be of an audience as they ...

    This represents a problem for the viewer and deepens Iago's character. The audience would feel that Iago is especially evil in his actions to break up Othello's and Desdemona's marriage because he believes that the Moor is actually in love with Desdemona and that they will be a happy couple

  2. How Does Shakespeare Present The Theme Of The Outsider In Othello(TM) Act 1?

    It becomes clear that both Iago and Roderigo despise Othello in the first few lines of Othello. "Tush! Never tell me. I take it much unkindly that thou, Iago, who has had my purse as if the strings were thine, shouldst know of this."

  • Over 180,000 essays
    written by students
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to write
    your own great essays

Marked by a teacher

This essay has been marked by one of our great teachers. You can read the full teachers notes when you download the essay.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review on the essay page.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review under the essay preview on this page.