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Discuss the dramatic impact of Act 1 of Othello. How does Shakespeare prepare his audience for the rest of the play?

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Introduction

Discuss the dramatic impact of Act 1 of Othello. How does Shakespeare prepare his audience for the rest of the play? Shakespeare's play "Othello" is a dramatic tragedy. In the play, Othello plays the part of a black general, who works for the Duke. Brabantio is one of the Duke's servants, who are respected men of the community. Othello falls in love with Desdemona (Brabantio's daughter) and elopes with her. Brabantio is outraged at the fact that his daughter has married a Moor and feels as if she has betrayed him. Othello is referred to as the Moor in the play. In Elizabethan times, a black person was more commonly referred to as a Moor and it was considered acceptable. However, in present times if someone if referred to as a Moor, it would be considered as a racist comment. A similar circumstance occurred around the 1950's when all black people were called Negroes and it was decent to describe like that, and now it is known as a racist comment. In this play it uses a lot of racial stereotypes to mislead the audience. At the beginning, Shakespeare doesn't bring the Hero in straight away, however he does bring in the villain of the play instead, who gives a biased opinion of the Hero's character. Iago, who is the villain of the play, appears to be a sincere person and Othello is made out to be the scoundrel, because of the way in which Iago and Roderigo are describing Othello's character, when they talk about Othello. ...read more.

Middle

This is where Roderigo plays an important role because Iago uses Roderigo to explain what he is doing; why he is doing it and is also he is exploiting Roderigo to cover up his tracks. For example when in Act 1 Scene 1 Roderigo and Iago are outside Brabantio's house and are screaming accusations about Desdemona, Iago is screaming, however he stays out of sight and before Brabantio came out with a light Iago made an excuse up so he could leave therefore Brabantio never saw Iago was there. Iago also always contradicts himself because he states that he wears his heart upon his sleeve and says that he hates Othello but he still pretends to be Othello's friend, which is evidence that he is two faced. Throughout the play Iago has this continuous voice inside his head. This is where the audience play an important role because he is using the audience to talk about his intentions. In a way Iago uses both the characters in the play and the audience like puppets, he wants control and he is the puppeteer. As Act 1 comes to a closing, the audience realise Iago's true character from the way he talks about Othello behind his back and how he shows Othello respect and courtesy when he talks to him, like he is his best friend. It is also revealed in the way he approaches things. For example he provokes all the corruption and grief which occur to Othello's character, however no one knows because he always stays in the shadows, hiding his true identity but still controlling everything around him, like a true puppeteer. ...read more.

Conclusion

To hand the centre stage to another character of the play. This proves he is modest. Desdemona's character must have also been a shock to the audience because all the way through Act 1 Scenes 1 and 2, the men that talked about her perceived her as being vulnerable. This was exposed when Othello was described to have bewitched her. However as she was talked to the council and her father the audiences' idea of Desdemona's character couldn't have been more wrong. She was very outspoken and confident and was loyal to Othello. It is almost as if Othello and Desdemona have switched their personality traits. Othello should be the confident and outspoken one and Desdemona should be the modest one. I conclude that from the beginning we can predict what will happen in the play. Because Othello is so modest and kind he is oblivious to the ruthless side of Iago and trusts him like a brother. In the play Iago is conniving and deceitful. He shows these traits in the beginning by revealing his plans on what he is going to do to Othello, who is a very simple man that doesn't realise what is happening around him. This is where Iago has the upper hand. Othello already suspects Desdemona of betraying him because Brabantio said: "She has deceived her father, and may thee" Act 1 Scene 3 Line: 8 And Iago knows this and will use it to manipulate Othello's thoughts because he knows that Othello is very modest and has lack in confidence and these are traits of people that can be easily controlled. 2 Krishna. A. Mistry English Coursework 1 English Coursework ...read more.

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