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How effective is Act 1 as an introduction into the play? Consider characters, dramatic devices, language and setting - Othello

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How effective is Act 1 as an introduction into the play? Consider characters, dramatic devices, language and setting. Shakespeare begins Othello with Iago, the main character of the play conversing with Rogerigo, Iago's pawn in the plot against Othello. Here Shakespeare has immediately brought in the two characters that will bring about Othello's downfall. The next character on stage is Brabantio. The audience sees Brabantio's hatred for the "The Moor" which is a representation of Venice's hatred since Brabantio is a representative of powerful Venetian. Iago mentions the wedding of Othello and Desdemona in the first three lines as well as the war, the fact that they are soldiers and "The great arithmetician" Cassio. Shakespeare uses this remark to portray Iago's sarcasm and his bitterness toward Cassio for being awarded a higher post. The first mention of Othello's race is in line 33 highlighting its importance to the play. The use of "his Moorship" is mocking Othello but indicates his position in society, that of power. ...read more.


Shakespeare achieves this by using Iago's plot to turn Othello against Roderigo to state the great things about Othello. These are his "royal siege", his "demerits", fortunes and most importantly his "unhous�d" love for Desdemona of which he is not ashamed. In this simple Paragraph all that is good and virtuous about Othello is highlighted and the audience also gets an insight into Desdemona's character; it is Othello that calls her "Gentle Desdemona". By doing this Shakespeare is creating a bond between the couple that the audience can clearly see whilst her father shows no affection but a great deal of anger. Iago also profanely likens Desdemona to a "White ewe" 1.1.90, discrediting her as well as Othello. Though the play is performed in a theatre most certainly in the day Shakespeare uses the night as a symbol of deception, lies and dishonesty. We know it is night because Iago and Roderigo wake Brabantio up. ...read more.


Iago and Roderigo open the Act and they close it also. When all others have left the stage Iago reverts to prose showing his base character and the fact that Roderigo is not intelligent, as we know. The first act introduces all the characters who are key to the story and who build up a picture of life in Venice at the time. Othello is portrayed as a good man who is well liked but still an outsider and the audience are introduced to Iago's plot. This allows them to think about the reverse of good and evil in the play. Since the evil one in this case it the Venetian whilst the good one is the outsider. The hierarchy in the society is clearly laid out with Iago's wife waiting on Desdemona and Brabantio being a well-respected member of Venetian society. Finally the Audience is presented with Iago's soliloquy highlighting him isolation and corruptness as well as promising dire things to come in the future. ...read more.

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