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Othello essay: soliloquies

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Othello essay Many people will argue that soliloquies are outmoded, embarrassing and a thing of the past. They hold this idea because they believe audiences want to see more action rather than talk. However, I disagree and believe that soliloquies are important dramatic devices which are important in making any kind of drama successful. In this essay I will discuss both arguments with reference to the play Othello. Modern day children are brought up into seeing lots of visual drama and action and are used to responding to entertainment rather than thought. Contrasted with soliloquies in the past, modern day audiences are use to seeing close up images and a change of music to show the thoughts and mood of the characters. However, in the past the characters would express their views and thoughts directly to the audience via soliloquies. This one reason why many people argue, that soliloquies are outmoded. ...read more.


Iago tells the audience that because of Othello's trusting personality and his "free and open nature"; he will easily deceive him like an "ass" into thinking Cassio slept with his wife and thus bring about his destruction. Iago's soliloquy is successful in that that audience are engaged with his plans and this builds up dramatic tension as the audience will be anticipating whether or not Iago's plans succeed. In Iago's second soliloquy at the end of act two scene one, he once again explains quite clearly what he intends to do. He says that he will setup Desdemona with Cassio and thus put Othello "into a jealousy so strong, judgment cannot cure". In this soliloquy Iago outlines again the reasons for his motives. He says that he fears "Cassio with his night cap too" and he also has lust for Desdemona, "now I do love her too". ...read more.


Iago's soliloquies also reveal a lot about his character. He admits that he is villainous when he says "when devils will the blackest sins put on, they do suggest at first with heavenly shows, as I do now". He also admits to being false "I am not what I am". Iago shows his power and control in his soliloquy in act two scene one. He goes through everything that happens later on in the play. He says he will frame Cassio with Desdemona, "put the moor into jealousy", and make him "thank me, love and reward me". The rhyming couplet at the end of the scene again shows Iago's control. It is very clear that soliloquies are important dramatic devices as they keep the audience thoroughly engaged with the play. As well as making the audience more knowledgeable about the plot and being informative, it also makes the audience think and reflect on the themes and issues addressed in the play. ?? ?? ?? ?? Mubashar Ishfaq 1 ...read more.

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Response to the question

There isn't a specific question here, so I can only speculate it is along the lines of "Discuss the significance of soliloquies in Othello." This essay shows potential in the way it looks at soliloquies beyond the texts, looking at ...

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Response to the question

There isn't a specific question here, so I can only speculate it is along the lines of "Discuss the significance of soliloquies in Othello." This essay shows potential in the way it looks at soliloquies beyond the texts, looking at their significance in literature and plays. However, I feel there isn't enough of the essay spent analysing the text, which should provide the foundations for the argument. In my opinion, the comments about soliloquies should come after the close textual analysis, as these would then be backed up by evidence. The essay comes to a sound conclusion arguing that soliloquies are useful dramatic devices, however.

Level of analysis

The analysis in this essay is average. When there is focus on Othello, rather than comments on the relevance of soliloquies and the upbringing of children, the analysis isn't too bad. There are plenty of quotes included, showing a good knowledge of the play, but that isn't good enough at GCSE level. There needs to be analysis of the language and imagery Shakespeare chooses to use, and why it has particular effects. Yes, this essay has an overall understanding of why soliloquies are used in the context of the play, but just asserting that this builds dramatic tension without analysing the techniques will not gain credit. When looking at plays at GCSE level it is key to talk about audience response, showing awareness of the context through stage directions and presence. This essay picks up on this with the overview of the significance of soliloquies, but unfortunately this isn't looked at when analysing the play. I would be looking at how Iago's sole presence on stage would be frightening, seeing him having power over Othello whilst the audience are helpless.

Quality of writing

As mentioned above, I feel the structure of this essay is the wrong way round. I would always begin with the close analysis of the text, and then make the bigger comments about the significance of soliloquies in drama. If you want to be even more sophisticated, these comments can be weaved in with the analysis rather than being lumped together in a paragraph. The style is questionable here. I would advise not to use the first person at GCSE level, as it suggests your views are unfounded and not backed with evidence. For example "I disagree and believe that soliloquies are important dramatic devices" proves this point as the personal opinion is not backed up with evidence. Similarly stating "In this essay I will discuss" is not very sophisticated for GCSE level.

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Reviewed by groat 03/04/2012

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