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How and why does Othello's character change during the course of the play? How does Shakespeare present this dramatically?

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How and why does Othello's character change during the course of the play? How does Shakespeare present this dramatically? When Othello is sent to war in Cyprus, the Moor's character changes over the course of time. His language and attitude towards people, including his innocent wife, begins to differ for the worse. Othello's wild behaviour worries Desdemona incredibly as he changes a lot from his calm and gentle nature from before. Shakespeare presents this transformation through Othello's syntax and dramatic irony. His confused logic is evident in his actions whether they are violent or passionate. When Othello is in his home city of Venice, his attitude towards others is calm, shown when Cassio enters warning him that Brabantio is after him, he replies, "'Tis well I am found by you: I will but spend a word here in the house and go with you." Othello doesn't react to the words of Cassio, he stands confidently as he hasn't done anything wrong. He is a man of bravery and self-assurance. When Brabantio arrives, he orders his officers to seize Othello, but in reply, the Moor says, "Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them." This humorous comment breaks the tense atmosphere and relaxes the viewers' thoughts on the situation. ...read more.


Othello doesn't do this in a dramatic style, which shows that Othello is not a man for violence. Because Othello asked Iago for his view on the brawl, he feels he can trust Iago in the future. Originally, the Moor would seek advice from Cassio, but now because of the current circumstance, he will refer to Iago. Everything up until now Othello is in control of himself, but as Iago gets more and more involved, Othello slowly looses grasp of his life. Now closely monitored by Iago, Othello is hidden from the real truth concerning him and his wife. As the Moor and Iago come to terms with each other more often, they become best of friends, with Iago giving him slight nudges of information which aren't wholly true. Now away from his home, and the loss of his apprentice, the only thing that Othello has to keep himself together is Desdemona. His fragile state of mind enables him to be fooled. Surprisingly, Iago tells Othello that Cassio has been seen alone with Desdemona. Because Othello's love for Desdemona is so strong and is incredibly protective about her, doubt is struck into his mind. As time continues, this uncertainty about her destroys his sensitive and romantic nature, which is replaced with spite and resentment. ...read more.


He begins to talk to her pleasantly, but the sight of her and Cassio torments his minds and unleashes an irritated tone and spite. After everything that has been going on, Desdemona fears for the worse but still worries for Othello. After their argument, Othello based his actions to kill her on the handkerchief happening, which is the only real evidence Othello uses against his wife. He claims that witnesses have seen Cassio and Desdemona together but she doesn't believe him. When Desdemona admits to the handkerchief saga, Othello assumes everything is true. Othello chooses to ignore the possibility of misunderstanding and takes every reply from his wife as an offence. Once killed her, Othello's guilt returns to him and haunts him until he stabs himself. He feels the only way of gaining respect again is by killing himself. After Iago confesses to his troubles he has cause, Othello is surrounded with disbelief and a tremendous sense of anxiety fills the atmosphere. To conclude, Othello is a man who needs to be in control. He needs to know everything what is going on around him otherwise he changes, as the story demonstrates. Although he is a witty character, Iago is one step ahead of him, and uses Othello constantly throughout the play. Jack Conway English 'Othello' Coursework 10XY Mr. Oliver ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

This response shows some good level analysis; however the essay is lacking cohesion and structure. To ensure focus on the question make sure that a clear plan is used to direct your response to link points to each other and to the question. There is a clear understanding of the character here - there just needs to be more of a contextual understanding of how the way he changes reflects the tragedy of the play.

4 Stars

Marked by teacher Laura Gater 24/06/2013

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