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A modern audiences view of Othello.

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Othello Even before we meet Othello we are given ideas as to his character. Iago and Roderigo are having an argument about "The Moor". Iago says that he has always been a loyal servant to Othello and how another man has received promotion before him. As we are only shown this from Iago's point of view we see this as somewhat unfair. The way Iago sees it is that Othello does not know the value of his own men as he, "Had seen the proof" of Iago's skill in battle "At Rhodes, at Cyprus and on other grounds." However the reliability of Iago is in question right from the start, his hatred for Othello is driven by racial prejudice, "his Moorship," is just one example of quite a few instances when Iago refers to Othello by his race. Simply by his discriminatory speech we begin to mistrust what Iago says and, for some of what he says, we completely write off his criticisms as totally influenced by Othello's race. The facts we are told before we meet Othello also tell us something of his character. ...read more.


Brabantio also does not seem to know his daughter at all; his description of her makes us think that she is perfect. However, when we meet her we realise that his picture of her is almost entirely wrong. He describes her in several ways, "A maiden never bold", "Her motion blushed at herself", "Gentle mistress". This all creates a picture of a timid young lady who is afraid to speak. When we meet Desdemona on the other hand, this could not be further from the truth. Even from the first time we hear her speak we see that she is not afraid to say what she thinks and is in fact very good at getting her point across. She says that she respects her father, but she says that she is married now "And so much duty as my mother showed to you, preferring you before her father," she must stand by her husband. This shatters the depiction of Desdemona set down by her father, suddenly we see a lord who does not know his daughter and a lady who loves her husband. ...read more.


However, it could also be said that Othello does not know himself and this is why he thinks he is rude in his speech. Another example of this is the fact that Othello uses the words "I", "My" and "Me" nineteen times in twenty lines. This again could either be supreme arrogance, or he could actually not remember anyone else being with him when these things happened. To a modern audience it seems as if Othello tells blatant lies to impress those listening to him, he talks of "Men whose heads do grow beneath their shoulders." We know that these men are fictional; it is an impossibility for a man's head to grow beneath his shoulders. However at the time, could Shakespeare have believed that men such as this existed? At the time this play was written there was a complete belief in anything the church told the people. Perhaps some of the tales circulating at the time talked of a place in the undiscovered world (of which there was probably quite a lot) where these men supposedly lived; unfortunately we will never know for certain if men such as this were ever believed to have existed. ...read more.

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