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Along with Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, Othello is one of Shakespeare's four great tragedies and thus a pillar of what most critics take to be the apex of Shakespeare's dramatic art.

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OTHELLO Introduction: Along with Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, Othello is one of Shakespeare's four great tragedies and thus a pillar of what most critics take to be the apex of Shakespeare's dramatic art. More than anything else, what distinguishes Othello from its great tragedies peers is the role of its villain, Iago. Iago is a character that essentially writes the play's the main plot (takes a key part in it), he gives first-hand direction to the others and most notably to the noble Othello. The play presents us with two remarkable characters, Iago and his victim (Othello), with Iago as the dominant force, which causes Othello to see the infidelity of his young and beautiful wife, Desdemona, with his favourite lieutenant, Michael Cassio. Setting: Like most Shakespeare tragedies Othello has a distinctive setting. Othello is not restricted to a single place. Act I of the play takes place in the beautiful city of Venice. Act II moves on to Cyprus and this is where act 5 takes place. Characters breakdown: Othello: An African-American Four-Star General in the United States Marine Corps. He is the consummate military man, known for his courage and shrewd judgement on the battlefield. ...read more.


The first man is complaining that Iago has spent his money freely and is very upset that Iago knows about this. As the conversation continues, we learn that Iago hates him because he has passed over Iago for promotion to lieutenant, choosing instead Michael Cassio a Florentine. This first act shows that the devious manipulator Iago has a plan that looks to be the central plot of the whole play and this done by him manipulating Roderigo to do his dirty work. The first act in Othello is vital to the character development of Iago, Othello, and Desdemona. Here we are told the motive behind Iago's hatred of the Moor, and we receive our first impression of Othello as a noble, rational, and intelligent leader. Similarly, through the dialogue in the first act we come to understand that Desdemona will not be parted from Othello under any circumstances, and that her love for him is stronger than even her love for her father. Without this act, the horrible events that follow would make much less of an impact. Act 5, Scene 2: The last two scenes of the play bring all the plot elements together in the final spiral of destruction of most of the people we have had under observation for four acts. ...read more.


Iago, as a character, is constantly presenting himself to the audience through his soliloquies, illustrating to us a choice of 'motives' to justify his actions, consequently the soliloquy becomes the key to what it is that makes Iago tick. My first impressions of Othello in this play are of him as a noble a courageous man. He is portrayed as a simple soldier. He also seems to have a very positive relationship with Iago. Along side those positive images Shakespeare prepares us for the evil deeds that Othello will commit later in the play. For example, if he were a more moral man then he would have ignored Iago when he was trying to exploit the deceit of Desdemona's father: "She deceived me and may well you" Brabantio said this to Othello when he found out Desdemona had picked Othello over her father; Iago overheard this and decided to exploit it in his own plotting manner. Another example of the courageousness of Othello when he is urged to hide from the outraged father, he refuses to run away; he feels secure in the rightness of his position: "My parts, my title, and my perfect soul shall manifest me rightly." Love is something new to Othello, and his reaction to Desdemona has a mature intensity that is almost frightening in its richness. ...read more.

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