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Othello - Discuss the significance of Act 3 Scene 3 in terms of the development of characters and theme

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Discuss the significance of Act 3 Scene 3 in terms of the development of characters and theme Act 3 Scene 3 is often called "the temptation scene" as Othello's trust in Desdemona is seduced away by Iago. It is a pivotal scene which builds on previous events and foreshadows future events. The audience can clearly see the development in the character of Othello from a calm character to one who's jealousy is so strong he pledges to kill his wife. There is also a clear development in the themes that were hinted previously in the play such as jealousy and revenge. The scene represents a clear development in character of Othello who in previous scenes could be seen as a calm non-aggressive character but his jealousy and suspicion of his wife Desdemona being unfaithful to him turns him into an aggressive character who is determined for revenge. In Act 1 Scene 2 Othello calmly reacts to a proposed fight by saying "Keep up your bright swords" this is a complete contrast to how he reacts in Act 3 Scene 3 when he threatens to murder Desdemona due to his jealousy he aggressively threatens "I'll tear her all to pieces" The language used here is very threatening and is the most vicious threat Othello has made and does show a complete character change in comparison to previous scenes. ...read more.


Many critics believe that in Act 3 Scene 3 Othello develops the most as a character but I disagree, I believe that without Iago's influence the end result would be totally different. In previous scenes Iago was constructing his plan and making minor actions to achieve his goal. In act 3 scene 3 Iago develops much more as a character by using clever techniques to persuade Othello that Desdemona has been unfaithful to him. Iago initially places doubt in Othello by making Cassio's exit seem suspicious, "Ha! I like not that...Cassio, my lord? No, sure, I cannot think it." Iago does this to arouse Othello's distrust and this is the beginning of Iago placing thoughts into Othello's mind. Iago also holds back his thoughts and repeats his faith in Cassio's honesty, Iago also appears loyal to whom he maintains is his friend, "For Michael Cassio, /I dare be sworn I think that he is honest." This gives Othello no reason to believe Iago is lying about Cassio, as he has no motive to accuse him of seducing Desdemona. By confirming his loyalty and love for Othello, "My lord, you know I love you.", Iago encourages him to trust his suspicions and evidence of adultery. Another technique used by Iago is reverse psychology in which at one point in the scene he advises Othello against exactly what he wants him to do, overreact and become obsessed with suspicion. ...read more.


As jealousy is always growing, and Shakespeare could be showing the developing jealousy as the play gradually moves on. Revenge could also be seen as having a significant effect in Act 3 Scene 3. The development of the theme revenge has mainly been through the character of Iago up until Act 3 Scene 3, Iago was first motivated by revenge over Othello for not giving him the lieutenancy position. In Act 3 Scene 3 Iago is able to plot a false sense of jealousy and thereby destroying Othello's relationship with Desdemona and making Othello want revenge over Desdemona and Cassio. Othello ponders his decision to kill Desdemona and this is partially motivated by revenge. An example of Othello's passion for revenge on Cassio can emphasised when he says " O that the slave had forty thousand lives! One is too poor, too weak, for my revenge" Here we understand just how passionate Othello is to gain revenge on Cassio by emphasising how much he would like to kill him over and over, this is represented by the exclamatory that he wished Cassio had "forty thousand lives" The development of revenge is important in this scene because this is where Othello makes his decision to kill Desdemona and Cassio, which in turn will prove a catastrophic decision as it was Iago's desire for revenge in the first place that had lead to Othello needing revenge and making the end results a tragedy. It could be seen that Othello wants revenge because he believes himself to be cuckolded by Desdemona and he feels he needs to defend his honour. ...read more.

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