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How do the first two acts prepare an audience for the deaths at the end of the play? (Othello)

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Introduction

How do the first two acts prepare an audience for the deaths at the end of the play? The play opens with Iago telling Roderigo how much he hates Othello, the Moor, and his first line foreshadows the bloodshed that is to come although it is only at the end of the first act that we see the extent of Iago's hatred. His blasphemy gives an audience some insight into his character, and shows underlying tensions and corruptions in the society's religiousness, which also mirrors the way in which human nature is flawed. He tells Roderigo that he hates Othello because he promoted Cassio instead of himself, but his last soliloquy also shows us that he suspects Othello to have slept with his wife, Emilia, and that he will act on his suspicion "as if for surety". He tells the audience what he plans to do, and reveals his thoughts about Othello's nature. The way in which he uses Roderigo shows us his ruthlessness and cunning, and he manipulates Roderigo into giving him money for his 'advice', which the audience knows to be false. ...read more.

Middle

In the second act, Cassio shows great respect in the way he greets Desdemona, and Iago, seeing this, decides to use the relationship between them to further his own plot for revenge on both Othello and Cassio. When Othello arrives, he greets his wife lovingly, but Iago's aside reminds the audience of his hatred and desire for vengeance, which Othello still doesn't know about. He tells Roderigo to provoke Cassio, and fight with him in the hope that Cassio will be demoted. He continues to manipulate Roderigo for his own gain, and shows no sign of stopping any further on in the play. His soliloquy shows the audience that he knows Othello's strengths and weaknesses, and his ruthlessness is shown to us again when he says that he loves Desdemona but because he believes Othello has slept with Emilia, he will be "evened with [Othello], wife for wife". He is, at this point, one of the most rational characters in the play, Othello being the other, but although Othello changes and becomes driven by his jealousy, Iago stays constant the whole way through. ...read more.

Conclusion

the end, as he intends for Roderigo to murder Cassio, but Cassio is not killed by Roderigo, having presumably been a better swordsman. This is the first of Iago's careful preparations that goes wrong, and although he does take revenge on Othello, he does not benefit in any way from any of the deaths at the end of the play. Iago is presented throughout the play as being calm and in control of every situation, but he does not seem to have given enough thought to Cassio's character and the way in which Cassio is not as easily manipulated as Othello, which is not in keeping with the way Othello is presented at the start of the play as being a calm, measured soldier, well respected for his good decisions in matters of war, and Cassio being socially lower than Othello in terms of him being Othello's lieutenant who later gets demoted. Iago's intentions towards Othello and Cassio are shown in the opening acts of the play, and are followed through during the course of the play, right until the deaths at the end of the play. ...read more.

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