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Critical Analysis of Act 1 Scene 1, Othello.

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Critical Analysis of Act 1 Scene 1, Othello: The opening scene of Shakespeare's Othello lacks in detail, many things about what is happening between the two characters present, Iago and Roderigo. They seem to be arguing and there is a sense of disagreement between the two. The play immediately opens with an oath, "Tush" which has the effect of alerting the audience to the aggressive tone. We learn that Roderigo is angry with Iago and that he has lent him money. We do not know why and this raises questions for the audience who are not able to piece the events together at this point. Othello is not introduced at the beginning of the play and when Roderigo says "Thou told'st me thou didst hold him in thy hate" the audience does not know who they are talking about. Shakespeare does this to create an atmosphere of tension in the opening act and by doing this, we are informed of Iago's intention to try and destroy the Moor right from the start. ...read more.


When Iago says that "we cannot all be masters, nor all masters/ cannot be truly followed. You shall mark/ many a duteous and knee-crooking knave,/ that, doting on his own obsequious bondage,/ wears out his time, much like his master's ass" the audience can clearly see that Iago's word cannot be relied upon and that he cannot be trusted. The theme of jealousy begins to come through very clearly at this point, and although Iago does have certain grounds for complaint, the audience is forced to ask why he is revealing his true feelings about the "three great ones of the city", Othello, and Cassio, who are important men in the city to Roderigo. We begin to wonder why he is not afraid of telling Roderigo this information. Perhaps Roderigo is the weaker character, and Iago is able to control him because he doesn't seem to have much to say and is mostly the listener in the opening of the act. As Iago has something that Roderigo wants (Desdemona), he can simply use him until he gets want he wants. ...read more.


be able to deliver the speech in more or less this tone as it seems to be the most appropriate way of expressing how Iago truly feels. The advantage to not having any stage directions is that it permits the director be creative and carry out the play how he wants to. The basic stage directions that are present are all that is needed and the rest can be left to the imagination of the director(s). There appears to be a general atmosphere of chaos in the opening scene 1 with people running around in the middle of the night accusing others of theft which creates a tension to keep the audience interested. When the audience doesn't know what is going on, they are forced to pay full attention in order to be able to comprehend. The information that we gather from Iago's description of Othello, and what we actually see in Othello when the character is introduced on stage is completely different. Perhaps Shakespeare has done this to reinforce just how untrustworthy Iago's word is. Hana Holdijk English Commentary October 2002 Othello ...read more.

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