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How Shakespeare creates chaos in Othello's mind

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Introduction

How does Shakespeare present the chaos in Othello's mind in Act 3.3, when he first believes Desdemona is unfaithful and in Act 5.2 where he commits murder and suicide? Shakespeare's 'Othello' tells the tragic story of a man manipulated into believing his wife is being unfaithful, where throughout the play chaos is fed into Othello's mind like poison. This is done to such an extent that he ends up killing his wife and then committing suicide, hence making the play tragic. Throughout the play Shakespeare gradually builds on this chaos level through the character Iago, Othello's supposed 'friend', who uses many devious methods to make the lies seem true and eventually drive Othello crazy. I will explore these methods and techniques in different parts of the play and whether they are effective, as well as their impacts on Othello. In the opening of the play Othello proves to be a very rational soldier with a calm state of mind a sense of pride for his rank. He says, "My parts, my title, and my perfect soul shall manifest me rightly," through which he clearly illustrates how he has a high opinion of himself, and despite his race he still feels worthy of praise. ...read more.

Middle

In the opening speech where Othello is justifying the murder of Desdemona, he uses repetition, for example he says, "It is the cause, it is the cause." In this quote the first 'cause' he speaks of is referring to the offence, therefore adultery, and by saying this he is to himself justifying the murder he is about to commit and in a way reminding himself why it must be done. The second 'cause', however, is of different implication meaning the charge, and therefore the thing Desdemona has to answer to based on her actions. By saying this, Othello is conveying that Desdemona's act of infidelity is the cause of the charge she would now have to face, and by saying this Othello is rationalizing with himself that what he is about to do is only right. This repetition shows that Othello is still unsure about what to do and is still in need of assurance. Again in the opening speech, Othello uses images of opposition where he brings together two contradicting terms, for example, "This sorrow's heavenly." This quote shows how he has described sorrow as 'heavenly', a positive adjective. ...read more.

Conclusion

By doing this Othello then realises what he had done was wrong and that he must now face the consequences. From this point his mind ascends out of chaos and into a more rational state of mind, which can be seen where he says, "Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate," making his mind appear calm in his decision for he knows what is going to happen. By saying this Othello is showing how he has accepted that what he has done was wrong, and is telling the people present to 'speak of him as he is', which is a man manipulated to his limit, which is where he commits suicide. This calm state of mind Othello has as he dies makes him a protagonist, meaning the tragic hero. This makes the audience feel sorry for him, for whether they agreed with his decisions or not, they are made to feel that in the end he made a rational decision, and he is heroic in the sense that he could accept what he did was wrong, and so accept his punishment, hence making him a tragic hero. Dana Sammut ...read more.

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