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How Does Shakespeare Make The Change In Othello In Act III Scene iii Dramatically Credible?

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Peter Verrechia English Coursework How Does Shakespeare Make The Change In Othello In Act III Scene iii Dramatically Credible? Act III scene iii is the pivotal point in the play of Othello. It is the scene in which we see Iago corrupt Othello's mind to such an extent that at the end of the scene we see Othello uttering fearful threats against his wife, Desdemona's life. Iago's plan is to use his cunning and manipulative skills to trick Othello into believing that his wife is having an affair with Michael Cassio. The reason for him doing this is to seek revenge on Cassio for getting a promotion he thought he was going to get. My essay will focus on how believable the change is in the character of Othello. I will be exploring a number of different aspects of the play, all of which contribute to the credibility of the change in Othello's actions and state of mind. I will at times be referring to Trevor Nunn's RSC production of the play from 1990. At the beginning of the scene we see Desdemona walk straight into Iago's trap, which he has revealed in Act III Scene i. She asks Othello to give Cassio's job back. ...read more.


Throughout this scene Iago has been assuring Othello that he is only telling him his suspicions out of love and honesty. We know that Othello has taken this at face value from a line in his soliloquy that reads, "This fellow's of exceeding honesty and knows all qualities". It is quite plausible for Othello to trust Iago to this extent because Shakespeare has provided us with enough evidence to suggest that Iago has a very good reputation for being honest and loving. Shakespeare has done this by having a number of other characters refer to Iago as "honest Iago". Although Othello is taking what Iago is saying at face value he still, understandably, demands some evidence. Iago decides to introduce Othello's gift to Desdemona, the handkerchief, into the equation. He plans to inform Othello of it being used to wipe Cassio's beard, hoping that Othello will then assume Desdemona freely let Cassio use it. At the time of the play, another man wiping his beard on the handkerchief would have been taken as a huge insult. This is especially the case due to the fact that this particular handkerchief is very special to Othello and has been in his family for generations. Iago plans to produce the handkerchief to Othello as the actual proof of the alleged affair, so he has to come up with a plan of how to entice it into his possession. ...read more.


At the end of the scene, the audience is in some way left feeling shocked and frustrated at how quickly the character of Othello has changed. The events in the scene moved at an amazing pace. This works to Iago's advantage because there is less time for people to become suspicious or for things to go wrong. It is almost as if we have been tricked our selves and can't believe what has happerned. Another advantage to the scene is that there is no sub plot to distract us from the evil work of Iago. All the characters behave and react in credible ways to what Iago is doing. One could say that the handkerchief was an easy way of convincing Othello of his wife's alleged affair and that it was too coincidental. However in almost every horror film there is always something that a poor helpless victim does that endangers their life that the audience are willing him not to do. The dropping of the handkerchief is just a simple but effective plot device. On balance, I personally feel that Shakespeare has made the change in the character of Othello credible. He has made good use of Iago's soliloquies to inform the audience of the plot and also built up extremely good character complexities, which add to the credibility of the change in the character of Othello. ...read more.

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