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Othello - How does William Shakespeare use the opening scene to introduce characters and provide impetus to the plot?

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Othello "How does William Shakespeare use the opening scene to introduce characters and provide impetus to the plot?" In the opening scene of Othello by William Shakespeare, we are introduced to the characters and the events that brought them to this point in their lives. It is set at nighttime, on the streets of Venice. Iago, the trusted but not trustworthy ensign of Othello, is having a heated discussion with Roderigo, his gullible and besotted friend (not a good combination to be). Iago is only interested in Roderigo because he is being paid great sums of money to try to win Desdemona's affections for him. He is in need of money because he wasted it on paying people to persuade Othello to promote him. He is bleeding Roderigo dry and not trying very hard because he knows how deeply in love Desdemona is with Othello. Roderigo had already asked Desdemona's father, Brabantio, for her hand in marriage and was turned down. The nature of Iago's friendship with Roderigo is purely one way, despite Roderigo's belief in Iago. Roderigo does have some suspicions, however; "Tush, never tell me, I take it much unkindly That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse As if the strings were thine shouldst know of this" As their conversation goes on, we gather that Iago is the dominant character in the friendship. ...read more.


This is very much the case in scene One, with Iago pulling his strings and giving him orders for waking Brabantio. Othello is introduced by means of the comments of the other three. Although they are mostly derogatory, we discover that he is a very successful, and blatantly controversial, military general who has been in many a conflict, with Iago at his side. "And I, of who his eyes had seen the proof At Rhodes, at Cyprus and on other grounds Christian and heathen". Most of Iago's anger comes from Cassio being chosen over himself as Othello's Lieutenant, and although he is obviously jealous of Cassio, he has a very low opinion of him as a soldier. He says of him: "A fellow almost damned in a fair wife That never set a squadron in the field Nor the devision of a battle knows, More than a spinster, unless the bookish theoric" He also says that Cassio is "meer prattle without practice", that he may be a good strategist and thinker but doesn't know what battles are really like because he's never fought in one. Iago, on the other hand, has been in many battles and thought that he deserved the position of Lieutenant. He has a very high opinion of himself which is why he can always put others down. ...read more.


because he is proud and can't stand anyone disputing that, least of all Roderigo who he has already forbidden to marry Desdemona. So he denies being robbed, stating "This is Venice, my house is not a grange". By now the audience will be hearing of Othello as 'evil' and linked to the Devil, but we know it's not true because Iago has already said why he hates Othello (for a petty reason) and that he himself is two-faced. By the end of Act One scene One, we know how far Iago is prepared to go to get what he wants, which gives us the idea that this play will contain quite a lot of bloodshed. We know that Othello trusts Iago so he is very capable of ruining things and manipulating the situation. The very first drop of doubt is entered into Othello's mind after Brabantio realises that Desdemona has married him, as he says: "Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see; She has deceived her father, and may thee" This means that if Desdemona could betray her own father, she may well do the same to her husband. These are just the inklings of the main parts that fuel the story. From then on, Othello's suspicion is to be made worse to the bitter end, and Iago's revenge is to continue, to the same bitter end. ...read more.

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