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At what point did the audience begin to foresee the tragedy of Desdemona and Othello's love?

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Introduction

At what point did the audience begin to foresee the tragedy of Desdemona and Othello's love? Shakespeare's play 'Othello' is the story of a middle age black Muslim secretly marrying a young fair Venetian woman against her fathers will. Added to this is Iago, a man desperate to destroy their happiness because he thinks Othello may have slept with his wife Emilia. He vows to drive Othello in to a jealousy so strong his rational mind can not tell him otherwise. Was Iago the only reason why the love between Othello and Desdemona was so strong or was their love doomed from the start. At what point was the audience able to predict the tragedy that was to happen? The circumstances surrounding Desdemona and Othello's marriage were unusual. It customary that the boyfriend had to ask his girlfriend's father for her hand in marriage, as Desdemona and Othello were married in secret Othello didn't do this, it was not a good way to start a long lasting relationship. Iago manipulates Roderigo who is in love with Desdemona too, (but only Iago knows this) to tell Brabantio, Desdemona's father about the secret marriage. ...read more.

Middle

However at this point they do not know Iago's plan. At the very start of the play Othello speaks very little then with modesty and self-control he speaks giving the audience an insight into his personality, culture and background. Othello's love for 'fair Desdemona' was strong that when his secret marriage was discovered by Brabantio he didn't run and hide but instead spoke to him while remaining calm and at ease. This is important for the audience to know as this may have given them clues to what Othello will do in the forthcoming parts of the play. When Othello and Desdemona were reunited after the trip to Cyprus there is a love and happiness so strong 'the bliss of heaven can not equal it'. When the couple embrace it is though they are separated from all other characters. Very slowly this love weakens. Othello and Desdemona both love each other all the way through the play. Even when Othello killed Desdemona she loved him and he loved her. It is partially because their love was so strong that the marriage ended as it did. Othello couldn't bear the thought of Desdemona being unfaithful and their happiness being false he never asked Desdemona about it for fear of it being true. ...read more.

Conclusion

When Othello says 'to furnish me with some swift means of death for the fair devil'. At this point death looks for certain, the audience knows at this point that something bad will happen. On Desdemona's last night before her murder she tells Emilia about a song one of her mother's maids sang called 'Willow Willow' the night she died. This is an example of tragic irony as Desdemona said 'that song tonight will not go from my mind', she too was singing it on the night of her death. This is like a symbol to the audience hinting that Desdemona is going to die. The song intensifies the suspense of the scene as the song relates to Desdemona's situation perfectly as it was 'the song of forsaken lovers'. There is no exact point in the play that reveals to the audience what is to happen for certain in the play as Shakespheare, like Iago, gives small amounts of the plot away throughout the play, without all of them the audience can't tell what will happen. He does this to keep the audience in suspense. The audience never knows what will happen until the very end because there is always the fact that Iago's lies could be uncovered and Desdemona and Othello could have lived. By Victoria Sugent ...read more.

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