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Othello - Consider the significance of Act 3 Scene 3 to the play as a whole. What impressions does this episode make on the audience and by what means? How does Shakespeare prepare the audience to find this episode believable?

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Introduction

Amy Gilmour 11SC Consider the significance of Act 3 Scene 3 to the play as a whole. What impressions does this episode make on the audience and by what means? How does Shakespeare prepare the audience to find this episode believable? Othello was written by Shakespeare around 1602 and was set 35 years previously to that time (around 1571) during the Elizabethan era. Shakespeare got the idea for the play from the Italian Novella 'Gli Hecatommithi' and only changed minor details slightly. He kept the same plot but some of the characters and themes in the play were very different. The play itself is a tragedy and includes the things that Aristotle defined as what a tragedy should include. Firstly, a protagonist, this is Othello. He is the protagonist as the play shows the story of his fall from a place of eminence as is required in all tragedies according to Aristotle. Othello is a tragic hero in that he portrays a man with much greatness. Othello also has many weaknesses. In order to really understand the character of Othello, we have to understand him as a tragic hero with greatness and weakness. At the beginning of the play his life is in order, as he was married to the beautiful Desdemona, the younger daughter of a well-respected Senator, Brabantio. ...read more.

Middle

He becomes very nearly unable to make full sentences "Noses, ears, lips. Is't possible? Confess! Handkerchief! O devil!" showing his upset and extreme anger. Othello himself hates chaos and disorder but in this scene we begin to see language becoming much more chaotic and losing its order. This shows the previous scene to be ironic as it shows Othello checking the battlements, which is his public life, though it is his private life that is actually in danger. Also in Act 3 Scene 2 it shows Iago helping to check the battlements, which again is ironic as Iago is the one trying to break down his defences in his private life. His language continues in this chaotic and fragmented structure until he kills Desdemona and realises his error. After this, both his character and his language are restored to their former selves. Iago also uses interesting language in the play, however throughout his language is of a manipulative manner and does not change much throughout the play, one of his main types of manipulative language is imagery, for example "it is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on". The green eyed monster symbolising jealousy and helping to implant ideas in Othello's mind about Desdemona having an affair, it is also ironic in that Iago is inferring that Othello is being deceived by Desdemona when it is actually Iago that is deceiving him. ...read more.

Conclusion

Iago also has very strong persuasive techniques and is very skilled with them, allowing him to use skills language such as imagery to his advantage. Along with this, in true tragedy style, Othello has flaws, as does any protagonist in a tragedy. He is flawed in that he takes people at face value and is extremely trusting. This flaw allows Iago to manipulate and persuade him round to whatever Iago wants him to think. In this scene it is easy to see that Iago has a huge hold over Othello already. This is because Othello takes Iago at face value and believes him to be an honest man, also because the problems Iago is inferring are all part of his insecurities. He was already insecure as he was an outsider as a moor but in Venice he was needed so had some security as this was also where his and Desdemona's love developed. This meant he had a sense of security in both his public and private life. However the move to Cyprus and into the unknown made him even less secure making him believe anything without asking about it and even the slightest evidence seems like solid proof to him. This is believable because the language change has showed us that he is insecure. This brings the play to a tragic close filled with death and realisation and shows the scene to be believable. ...read more.

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