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Examine the significance of Act 3 Scene 3 in Othello

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Examine the significance of Act 3 Scene 3 in Othello Act 3 Scene 3 is the pivotal point in the play as we see Othello changes from an honest, noble man, who is happily married into a man prepared to kill his own wife based on the rumours he has heard from Iago. Iago is responsible for the change in Othello, because he is jealous of Othello and wants to ruin his life. Iago's plan to get Othello to kill Desdemona and for himself to kill Cassio begins properly in Act 3 Scene 3 as he starts to sow the seed in Othello's mind that Desdemona is cheating on him with Cassio: "O beware, my lord, of jealousy It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock" (Act 3 Scene 3 Lines 167 - 168) The way Iago uses the word "lord" shows the audience and Othello that Iago has great respect for him. This leads Othello into a false sense of security as he does not think that Iago will betray would betray him by lying to him as he admires him so much. Iago is warning Othello not to be jealous, but there is no previous mention of what he should be jealous of. ...read more.


Iago is clever, as he does not mention either Desdemona or Cassio's name, as Iago already knows Othello is suspicious of Desdemona and Cassio's relationship being more than friendship. Iago is just talking about all Venetian women, but Othello automatically assumes he talking about Desdemona and Cassio. Iago plans to kill Cassio, he does not tell Othello this as he wants Othello to make the decision to kill Cassio, this may be because Iago does want the blame for the death or that he wants to appear in a good light to Othello. Iago is not the only person in Othello that suffers from jealousy; Othello is jealous of Cassio and his relationship with Desdemona. Desdemona tells Othello a number of times throughout the play how much she likes Cassio and how he has "an honest face". (Act 3 Scene 3 Line 50). This would make Othello feel jealous, as it would make Othello think that Desdemona was attracted to Cassio. Roderigo is jealous of Othello because Roderigo is in love with Desdemona, but Desdemona chose Othello over him. "With him? Why, 'tis not possible!" (Act 2 Scene 1 Line 211) This shows the audience how Roderigo cannot believe that Desdemona would choose to marry someone like Othello over himself and it also shows ...read more.


"Cassio's my worthy friend- My lord, I se you are moved" (Act 3 Scene 3 Lines 225-226) Because Iago has called Cassio his "worthy friend" Othello may have thought that Iago would not want to harm him and this is backed up even more so by the fact that Iago called Othello "lord" showing that Iago has great respect for him, when really the truth is the exact opposite. Iago also uses carefully worded questions and this enables Iago to make suggestions to Othello and make him think what he wants him to think. "Behold her topped?" (Act 3 Scene 3 Line 397). This is strong imagery and the rhetorical question would make Othello think about what he has just said and put an image in Othello's mind of Desdemona and Cassio All this evidence shows the significance of Act 3 Scene 3 in Othello as we see the change in the characters from how they appear at the start of the play they reveal unattractive characteristics for example jealousy is shown in Othello and Iago. The trust being broken in many of the relationships, real personality traits are shown and many lies are told. All of these factors build up to the climax of Othello killing Desdemona and then himself and Iago murdering Roderigo and his wife Emilia. Ruth Anderton 12.67S 1 ...read more.

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Response to the question

This essay responds to the question well, explaining the significance to the plot, yet they are missing discussion of the dramatic effect on the audience. The audience are mentioned in this essay (but not enough), yet there is no exploration ...

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Response to the question

This essay responds to the question well, explaining the significance to the plot, yet they are missing discussion of the dramatic effect on the audience. The audience are mentioned in this essay (but not enough), yet there is no exploration of the dramatic function of this scene in the context of the whole play. In my opinion, when discussing significance, it is key to note the change in the audience's response. Simply referring to the significance by the change of plot will gain little credit.

Level of analysis

The analysis in this essay is sound. I am not sure why some quotes are embedded (as they should) and others are not. It is key to note that you do not need to give a scene and line reference for each quote included - this detracts from the flow of the essay and shows poor quoting skills. There are a number of times where the essay tends to retell the story, for example "Emilia seems pleased that Desdemona has left her handkerchief behind giving her a chance to steal it." There is no analysis in this sentence. If I were doing this essay, I would've discussed that Shakespeare constructs Emilia to seem pleased, evoking a hatred for Iago's plan. The close analysis is good in this essay, commenting on Shakespeare's choice of words. However, I would've liked to have seen more discussion on the dramatic effect on stage. It is key to note that Othello is a play, and without showing direct awareness of this by analysing the stage presence, or drama, high marks cannot be reached.

Quality of writing

This essay is structured well, having a clear introduction and a conclusion. This is, however, tainted by the poor usage of quotations at times. I would like to note that the first sentence in each paragraph is key - it should clearly signpost what point you are adding to the argument. This essay fails to do so, and as a result loses focus and tends towards retelling the story. A clear starting sentence such as "Shakespeare has Othello's trust in Iago to build to evoke hatred for Iago" will ensure the essay stays focused. Spelling, punctuation and grammar are strong throughout, however a proof read would be advised to ensure the rare slips of syntax are not included in the final piece.

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Reviewed by groat 15/02/2012

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