• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How does Othello's Character Develop throughout the course of the play and how would 16th century and modern day audiences respond to this?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Abdulbasit Asif 11SBe How does Othello's Character Develop throughout the course of the play and how would 16th century and modern day audiences respond to this? Othello was first performed by the King's Men at the court of King James I on November 1, 1604. Written during Shakespeare's great tragic period, which also included the composition of Hamlet (1600), King Lear (1604-5), and Macbeth (1606), Othello is set against the backdrop of the wars between Venice and Turkey that raged in the latter part of the sixteenth century. Cyprus, which is the setting for most of the action, was a Venetian outpost attacked by the Turks in 1570 and conquered the following year. The story of Othello is derived from another source, an Italian prose tale written in 1565 by Giovanni Battista Giraldi Cinzio (usually referred to as Cinthio). The original story contains the bare bones of Shakespeare's plot: a Moorish general is deceived by his ensign into believing his wife is unfaithful. To Cinthio's story Shakespeare added supporting characters such as the rich young dupe Roderigo and the outraged and grief-stricken Brabantio, Desdemona's father. Shakespeare compressed the action into the space of a few days and set it against the backdrop of military conflict. ...read more.

Middle

I don't think this opinion would differ depending on the whether the audience was 16th century or modern, rather than how the audience feel about Othello's character at this point in the play. In act 3 scene 3 Othello finds himself being persuaded to reinstate Cassio by Desdemona. She insists that she is only begging him to reinstate Cassio for his own good, but her insistence irritates Othello. He however, assures her that he will 'deny her nothing' and then politely asks her to leave him alone for the time being. We learn in this scene that Othello's mind is full of military matters, and he does not have time for his wife's pleadings. He grows impatient with continued, na�ve insistence and sends her away, but not until after he says he will do whatever she wants. Desdemona therefore succeeds in obliging Cassio's request, but in the process she innocently falls into the trap being set by Iago. At this point, Othello is very confused, he feels that's his wife may be cheating on him with Cassio and this reveals his second and most important flaw, his sexual jealousy. He is jealous of the fictitious love affair between Desdemona and Cassio that has been created in his mind by Iago. ...read more.

Conclusion

As he continues, though, he addresses an important problem: will his crime be remembered as the fall from grace of a Venetian Christian, or an assault on Venice by an ethnic and cultural outsider? He stresses his outsider status in a way that he does not do earlier in the play, comparing himself to a "base Indian" who cast away a pearl worth more than all of his tribe. Finally, he recalls a time in which he defended Venice by smiting an enemy Turk, and then stabs himself in a re-enactment of his earlier act, thereby casting himself as both insider and outsider, enemy of the state and defender of the state. Throughout the play, Shakespeare cultivates Othello's undecided status as insider and outsider. Othello identifies himself strongly with Christian culture, yet his belief in fate and the charmed handkerchief suggest ties to a pagan heritage. Despite the fact that his Christianity seems slightly hazy, Shakespeare repeatedly casts Othello as Christ and Iago as Judas. These echoes of the Gospel suggest that Othello and his tragedy are somehow central to the Christian world of Venice. Furthermore, while most up to date editions of the play include the words "base Indian", the First Folio edition actually says "base Iudean" (i.e. Judean); possibly implying that Othello compares himself to Judas. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Othello section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Othello essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    How does Shakespeare use language and stagecraft to show Othello's changing feelings towards Dedemona ...

    4 star(s)

    A hawk that was "let down the wind" rarely returned to the hunter's fist. Othello hates the idea that she is unfaithful, and refuses to share her with another man. "I had rather be a toad and live upon the vapour of a dungeon, than keep a corner in the

  2. Marked by a teacher

    How and why does Othello's character change during the course of the play? How ...

    4 star(s)

    When Desdemona proves that Othello's love is genuine, the senators take into account that he spoke the truth and he shows his honesty and may well believe him again. The Moor is the sort of person who sets a good example and never falters in front of respected people.

  1. At the start of Act III, Scene III, Othello declares his love for Desdemona, ...

    However when Brabantio discovers that they are both already married, he feels he has had no choice in the matter anyway! Brabantio listens to Othello affectionately declare his love for Desdemona, and he can do nothing else but agree, and give up on any silly accusations he had against Othello,

  2. Is Othello a 'noble hero' brought down by 'a devil of motiveless malignity' or ...

    Iago tells Roderigo that the only way to win Desdemona's love is to make money to procure gifts for her. Put money in thy purse...(act I scene 3 line 339). However Iago is just taking those gifts intended for Desdemona and keeping them for himself, and making a profit.

  1. How and why does Othello's language change over the course of the Play?

    The rest of the speech is used to show that Desdemona was indeed spellbound but from the story of Othello's life rather than any magic. He ends triumphantly by rejecting Brabantio's charge with the two lines "This only is the witchcraft I have used: Here comes the lady; let her witness it."

  2. "Othello suffers acutely and engages our full sympathy." Is Othello a tragic hero?

    He commands respect from noble men like Montano and the Duke, suggesting that Othello is a noble man. Shakespeare then continues to build Othello up. We are shown how many people care for and respect the moor, for example when Othello is sailing to Cyprus Montano, Cassio and Desdemona are all concerned for his safety during the storm.

  1. Othello for 16th and 21st century audiences

    by telling him that "But I pray, sir, are you fast married? For be assured of this, that the Magnifico is much beloved, and hath in his effect a voice potential as double as the Duke's. He will divorce you," there is no doubt in Othello's mind that Iago is

  2. Venetian Society in the 16th Century.

    He refers to him as a 'Florentine', clearly meant as an insult, implying that even within Italy as a country, there is prejudice between separate counterparts. I believe that part of the reason for Brabantio's anger when he finds out about his daughter's disappearance is because of Othello's race.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work