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Discuss the importance of power in the tragedy of Othello.

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Introduction

´╗┐Discuss the importance of power in the tragedy of Othello. The tragedy of Othello shows the downfall of the protagonist, Othello, by the deception of Iago and his fatal flaw of jealousy. The idea of striving for power contributes to Iago?s determination to bring down Othello after Cassio?s promotion to lieutenant over him. Power also acts as a reason for Othello killing his wife because of the damage done to his authority with the supposed infidelity of Desdemona. Othello?s power at the beginning of the play is portrayed as stable. Othello?s role as an important figure in the army and the respect given to him from seniors hides the issue of his position as an outsider. Despite Brabantio?s prejudice remarks against Othello, he still manages to claim back his authority with the power of his speech and love for Desdemona. However, Shakespeare uses these aspects of Othello?s character to bring about the tragedy which sees the breakdown of Othello's mental state and the death of Desdemona, Emilia and Othello. According to Aristotle?s definition of tragedy, the tragic hero ?enjoys prosperity and a high reputation? (Poetics XIII). In Othello, we see Othello?s downfall from his initial high-status to a man weakened by jealousy, by Iago?s envy of power of which he has been deprived of. ...read more.

Middle

Though, not directly used to describe Othello, the presence of these words could suggest to the audience a sense of order and stability in contrast to 3:3 where we see Othello begin to lose his authority and words such as ?jealousy?, ?suspicions?, ?doubt? and ?honest? are repeated to imply Othello has lost control of his metal stability. The repetition of the word ?seem? suggests confusion which in turn increases Iago?s power in that he?s in control of Othello?s mental state and weakens Othello?s power. Iago?s envy and hatred of Othello?s power contributes to the force that brings down Othello. Iago yearns for the power he thinks Othello and Cassio are unworthy of. His detestation towards Othello is seen in his first soliloquy in 1:3 where he says ?I hate the Moor? (386) and the reason he gives for his anger is that he believes Othello has ??twixt my sheets / He?s done my office? (387-388) adding sexual jealousy as well as to his envy of authority. However, Iago claims ?I know not if?t be true / But I, for mere suspicion in that kind, / Will so as if for surety? (388-390) ...read more.

Conclusion

we say lie on her... handkerchief! -- confessions! -- Handkerchief! -- To confess... Pish! Noises, ears and lips -- is?t possible? Confess -- handkerchief!? shows a switch from poetry to prose and a loss of the iambic pentameter seen through the play. Irregularity of rhythm could represent Othello?s irregularity of thoughts contrasting to his confident self defence in 1:3. All the while Othello?s self control deteriorates Iago remains to be ironic and conceited. The word ?lie? acts as a pun that suggests a double meaning of Iago?s lying and an image of Cassio and Desdemona lying together. As Othello falls into an epileptic fit, every bit of power Othello has transfers to Iago and the tragedy will begin to unfold under the control of Iago. To conclude, the effect that power and striving for power has on the characters of Othello and Iago contributes greatly to the tragedy of the play. Iago?s want for power causes Othello losing his power to Iago?s manipulation consequently resulting in the murder of Desdemona and suicide of Othello. Shakespeare?s use of language with words associated with war and racism shows us the significance of power in the tragedy and use of structure of poetry and prose shows us the demise of Othello. Alisha Saleh ...read more.

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