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Discuss the dramatic effectiveness of A1, S1 of Othello

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Discuss the dramatic effectiveness of A1, S1 of Othello In this essay, I shall discuss the dramatic effectiveness of Act I, Scene I of 'Othello' by William Shakespeare. I will discuss such points as characterisation, the intensity of the conversation and the pace at which the scene moves. Right from the beginning, we are thrust into the 'action' of the scene, with a discussion between Roderigo and Iago. The relationship between Roderigo and Iago is obviously somewhat close, as Roderigo shows in his first statement. Iago "hast had [Roderigo's] purse as if the strings were thine," he tells Iago; the metaphor shows how much trust Roderigo has in Iago, and also how he uses Iago as a confidante (I.i.2-3). As far as Roderigo knows, Iago is his friend; but appearance is one thing and reality another. Iago tells several truths about himself to Roderigo; he even trusts Roderigo with the knowledge that Iago serves Othello, but only to further himself. It seems ironic that after Iago's lengthy confession of duplicity, Roderigo still does not suspect him of double-crossing or manipulation. ...read more.


Everything which Iago presents himself as is a false show; even here, he pretends to be less evil than he truly is, though this first scene represents the peak of Iago's honesty about himself with another character. "Iago is parallel to another character, Richard III, in his self-awareness about his villainous character, and in his also parallel lack of remorse and use of false representations of himself." (http://shakespearespapers.com) Already, the racial issues and themes which are at the core of Othello's story and position are beginning to surface. When Roderigo refers to Othello, he calls him "the thick lips"; the stereotype, singling out one prominent characteristic that highlights Othello's foreignness and black heritage, displays a racial distrust of Othello based on his colour. Roderigo and Iago are not the only characters to display racism when referring to Othello; racism is a pervasive theme within the play, spreading misconceptions and lies about Othello by tying him to incorrect stereotypes about his race. Another element that surfaces repeatedly in the play is the use of animal imagery; "an old black ram is tupping your white ewe," Iago yells to Brabantio from the street (88-9). ...read more.


This theme will appear again at the end, as the play returns to darkness, and also to chaos; the two seem inextricably linked in the body of the play, and always battle with one another. The pace of the scene heightens the dramatic effect, mainly due to the quick movement through the scene. The rush to Brabantio's house is very quick, and Iago's plan is put into place almost immediately. Although Iago is there during the conversation with Brabantio, he plays very little part in it, preferring to let Roderigo to do all the talking, thus not incriminating himself at all. The small suggestions of Iago's plans also add to the drama, as, at this point in the play, the reader does not know exactly what is going to happen, just that it will come from Iago's direction, and cause major havoc and disruption to Othello. The implications heighten the feeling of tension for the reader. The scene grows increasingly climactic, mainly due to Brabantio's rage, but does not reach a climax at this point, forcing the reader to carry on in order to see the result of this climactic effect. ...read more.

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