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Examine how Shakespeare portrays human frailty in the 'trail' scenes of Othello.

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Introduction

Examine how Shakespeare portrays human frailty in the 'trail' scenes of Othello 'Othello' with 'Hamlet', 'King Lear', and 'Macbeth', are the plays which were written during Shakespeare's great tragic period. This particular play had many human attributes, some of a positive nature, such as love and nobility, others with a more negative context, like the envy of Othello, and the Prejudices of Brabantio. Throughout this play Shakespeare explores the nature of jealousy, prejudge ice and evil, all through his effective use of dramatic irony, imagery and language. After all, the great noble soldier is diminished to a 'green eyed' murderer, whilst the story of Eden is re-taught, and still the 'serpent' manipulates purity, resulting in the destruction of paradise. Othello is set against the backdrop of the war between Venice and Turkey that raged in the latter part of the sixteenth century. The bare bones of Shakespeare's plot, a Moorish general is deceived by his ensign into believing his wife is unfaithful, derives from an Italian prose tale written in 1565 by Giovanni Battista Giraldi Cinzio. However Shakespeare did make some alterations; he compressed the action into the space of a few days, and he turned the ensign, a minor villain, into the arch-villain Iago. ...read more.

Middle

Iago is strangely preoccupied with plants. His speeches to Roderigo in particular make extensive and elaborate use of vegetable metaphors and conceits. Such as: 'Our bodies are our gardens, to which our wills are gardeners... the power and corrigible authority of this lies in our wills', 'Though other things grow fair against the sun'. The first of these examples best explains Iago's preoccupation with the plant metaphor and how it functions within the play. Characters in this play seem to be the product of certain inevitable, natural forces, which, if left unchecked, will grow wild. Iago understands these natural forces particularly well: he is, according to his own metaphor, a good 'gardener,' both of himself and of others. I, iii is a key scene, being the first of the several 'trial' scenes, although no one is actually charged. The scene is a prime example of the Prejudices and superficial judgement which runs throughout the play - and is the ultimate cause of the tragedy in the play. Brabantio accuses Othello of many things, he claims he is an 'abuser', 'corrupted', 'conjured' - 'by spells and medicine'. ...read more.

Conclusion

He stresses his outsider status in a way that he does not do earlier in the play, comparing himself to a 'base Indian' who cast away a pearl worth more than all of his tribe. Finally, he recalls a time in which he defended Venice by smiting an enemy Turk, and then stabs himself in a re-enactment of his earlier act, thereby casting himself as both insider and outsider, enemy of the state and defender of the state. Throughout the play Shakespeare cultivates Othello's ambivalent status as insider and outsider. Othello identifies himself firmly with the Christian culture, yet his belief in fate and the charmed 'handkerchief' suggest ties to a pagan heritage. Among the tragedies of Shakespeare Othello is supreme in one quality: beauty. He is like a hero of the ancient world in that he is not a man recognised as extraordinary. He seems born to do great deeds and live in ledged, with the heroic capacity for passion. But the thing that sets him apart is his solitariness. He is a stranger, a man of alien race, with-out ties of nature or natural duties. He is, in a sense, a 'self-made man', the product of a certain kind of life which he has chosen to lead. ...read more.

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