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Explore the ways Shakespeare presents Iago, Othello, Desdemona and their relationships to his audience in the first act of the

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Introduction

Explore the ways Shakespeare presents Iago, Othello, Desdemona and their relationships to his audience in the first act of the play. What hints does he give of the tragedy which is to follow? From the very beginning of the play 'Othello' Shakespeare presents the friendship between Iago and Othello as a lie. Shakespeare makes us see that Iago is only pretending to serve Othello for his own ends and following this on, Othello completely trusts Iago and is able to speak in confidence with him. All the way through the play, Shakespeare shapes the audiences response to make us want to like or dislike them, admire or have sympathy for them. From the moment the play opens, Shakespeare gives us a negative impression of Iago. Shakespeare presents Iago to us as a dishonest and false-hearted character. In contrast, Othello has been presented as an articulate and persuasive character. In the play we are able to see his calm reaction to a very heated disagreement and this to the audience creates a positive impression. ...read more.

Middle

All the way through the play, Iago's character is kept constant. He stays deceitful and two-faced. We can see that this is true as he states 'I hate the Moor'. He uses the word 'Moor' to describe Othello. He then later says 'My Lord you know I love you'. This is one of the many situations where Shakespeare shows that Iago is being two-faced as we already know that this is not true as he has already stated that he loathes Othello. But even though Iago is doing all this back stabbing with Othello, he portrays himself to others as being an honest man. Towards the end of Act 1 Scene 3, Shakespeare presents us with Iago's first soliloquy. 'He's done my office'. Iago claims that Othello has slept with his wife. Iago is stirring rumours up with Othello just to deceive him. Iago's soliloquies enable us to see Iago's thoughts what he is thinking or how he feels towards the other characters. Shakespeare wants us to loathe this man so Shakespeare gives him crude language when he describes Othello. ...read more.

Conclusion

Our first impressions of Desdemona are that she is timid and 'gentle as her speech is smooth and eloquent and almost as if she is prepared for it. She is able to speak up for what she believes in; she is intelligent and self assured. Maybe Desdemona puts on a 'gentle and intelligent' side with men normally but she appears a strong woman. Her father Brabantio says that 'she is a maid so tender, fair and happy so opposite to marriage that she shunned the wealthy curled darlings of our nation' She is very feminine, young and vulnerable and he also describes her 'delicate youth'. By the end of Act 1 we have a strong sense of Iago's determination to destroy Othello's love for Desdemona. We have heard him say that he will not only poison the relationship of Othello and Desdemona, but he will attempt to try and be as powerful as Othello and does it in a sinful way. 'I have't. It is engender'd. Hell and night must bring this monstrous birth to the world's light'. This quote tells us that a tragedy is yet to come and Iago will do all he can to make that tragedy occur. ...read more.

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