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

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Pippa C-Johnson Examine how Shakespeare portrays human frailty in the 'trial' scenes of Othello. Shakespeare wrote many tragic plays and Othello is a particular play that has 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. Using effective uses of dramatic irony, imagery and language Shakespeare explores the nature of jealousy, prejudice and evil. After all, the great noble solider is to a 'green eyed' murderer, whilst the story of Eden is re-taught, and still the 'serpent' manipulates purity, resulting is the destruction of paradise. Othello is set during a war between Venice and Turkey in the latter part of the sixteenth century. The basics of Shakespeare's plot, Moorish general is deceived by his ensign into believing his wife is unfaithful, comes from an Italian prose tale written in 1565. However, Shakespeare made some changes. In Othello the action is compressed into a space of a few days and made the ensign, a minor villain into the arch-villain, Iago. Taking into account the era of the plays performance, the audience had very specific views of others. ...read more.


In the first scene, he claims to be angry at Othello for having accepted him over for the position of lieutenant, and then goes on to say he thinks that Othello may have been 'twixt his sheets' and 'done his office' with Emilia. None of these claims seem to explain Iago's deep hatred for Othello and his lack of motivation and unwillingness to express to his true motivation make his actions more terrifying. Iago seems to enjoy watching the pain and damage he has caused. Subsequently, Iago seems to find it funny especially in his scenes with the foolish Roderigo; he almost seems to wink at the audience as he reveals his manipulative abilities. He uses all of the play's characters, the trait that is most lethal to Othello: trust. Iago seems to be obsessed with plants. Iago's speeches, particularly with Roderigo, make extensive and elaborate use of plant metaphors such as: 'Our bodies are our gardens, to which out wills are gardeners... the power and corrigible authority of this lies in out wills', 'Though other things grow fair against the sun.' ...read more.


To help the audience understand the anger Othello uses hyperbolic language like, "I'd rather be a toad and live on a vapour of a dungeon". Othello simply says this to illustrate how badly he feels about Desdemona's affair. He uses an image of a toad because, to him, it was thought of being the slimy and almost the lowest form of life. So he emphasizes this in his anger to explain the situation he is faced with. All this is down to the extended metaphor which runs throughout, that of light and dark, pure and evil, heaven and hell. Furthermore, the idea of 'Eden', as Iago replays the role of the 'serpent', whilst 'poisoning' the ear of Othello. When Othello killed 'pure' Desdemona he was not in a normal state of mind, he was acting to jealousy which caused many other human emotions in the play. The nature of anger caused him to become irritable and aggressive, also hatred, which did not allow him to be considerate, and as a result he suffered from human frailties. Othello's gullibility allowed him to believe the false accusations made by the manipulative Iago; therefore he couldn't distinguish fact from fiction. 1 ...read more.

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